You can safeguard any data in Excel from a single cell to an entire workbook. Here’s how.
You’ve created a spreadsheet in Excel that you plan to share with other people. But you may not want everyone to be able to view, edit, or reformat all the data. No problem. Here’s a list of what you can do:
- You can protect anything from a lone cell to a full workbook.
- You can hide a cell, a row, or a column so no one can see it.
- You can lock a cell so no one can edit it.
- You can protect the entire worksheet to put your security into effect.
- You can hide a specific worksheet.
- And you can protect an entire workbook by marking it as final, encrypting it with a password, or adding a digital signature.
As usual, I’m using Excel 2016 via my Office 365 subscription. But the options for protecting your data should apply equally to the prior couple of versions of Excel.
To start, open or create a spreadsheet with enough data to stretch several columns and rows. Make a copy of that worksheet so you have more than one sheet. Change some of the data in the second sheet. On my end, I created a workbook with different tax information stored in multiple worksheets.
Let’s say some of the cells contain data that you don’t want other people to see. Excel by itself doesn’t offer a way to completely hide a cell, but you can at least cloak its view.
- Click on a cell that contains data you want to hide.
- Click on the Format button on the Home Ribbon and select Format Cells.
- In the Number section of the Format Cells window, click on the Custom category.
- In the Type field, delete the word General and type three semicolons — ;;;. Click OK. The data in the cell is now hidden.