How to Secure your Excel Files on Windows and OneDrive

If you’re planning to share sensitive data or confidential information using an Excel file, it’s crucial to protect it from unauthorized access. One effective way to safeguard your files is by adding password protection. In this article, we will explore how you can easily password protect an Excel file on Windows and OneDrive.

Password Protect an Excel File on Windows

There are two methods to password protect an Excel file on Windows: using the default Excel desktop app or utilizing OneDrive to add password protection before sharing the file. Let’s start with the desktop app method.

Use Microsoft Excel App

After making the necessary changes to your Excel file, you have the option to add password protection before saving a copy on your computer. Follow these steps to password protect your Excel file:

  1. Open the Microsoft Excel software on your Windows computer.
  2. Open the file you want to password protect.
  3. Make any necessary changes and click on “File” at the top.
  4. Select “Info” from the sidebar.
  5. Click on “Protect Workbook.”
  6. Choose “Encrypt with Password.”

Add a password to encrypt the contents of the file and click “OK.” It’s important to note that if you forget or lose the password, it cannot be recovered or reset. Re-enter the password and click “OK.” From now on, whenever someone tries to access the Excel file, they will be prompted to enter the password.

Office 2016-2019 uses secure AES-256 encryption, making it virtually unbreakable within a reasonable time frame. To ensure you don’t forget your passwords, it’s recommended to use a dedicated password manager like 1Password, Dashlane, or LastPass.

Use OneDrive Web to Password Protect an Excel File

If you’re already using Excel on Windows 10 or Windows 11, chances are you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, which includes 1TB of OneDrive storage. OneDrive offers the ability to password protect a shared link to your files. Instead of sending the file via email, you can store it on OneDrive and share a password-protected link.

Here’s how you can password protect an Excel file using OneDrive:

  1. Visit OneDrive on the web and sign in with your Microsoft account.
  2. Find the Excel file in your OneDrive and select it.
  3. Click on the “Share” button at the top.
  4. From the Share link menu, click on “Edit.”
  5. Select “Link settings.”
  6. Set a password from the menu.

You also have the option to set an expiration date for the link. Once the expiration date has passed, the OneDrive link will become inactive. Anyone with access to the link will need a password to access the data. This method can be used to password protect any file on OneDrive that you plan to share.

Wrapping Up: Secure your Excel Files

Despite the availability of alternatives like Google Sheets, Apple Numbers, Airtable, and Coda, Microsoft Excel remains the go-to choice for businesses and enterprises. When dealing with confidential data, it’s crucial to protect your Excel files from unauthorized access.

By following the methods mentioned above, you can easily password protect your Excel files on Windows and OneDrive. Take control of your data security and prevent unauthorized access to your sensitive information.

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