Technology

Lifehack: Learn How to Keep Your Excel Files Secure and Protected

Spreadsheet serves to record data, and its features enable users to make summaries and reports from the data in the spreadsheets. The different functions of the spreadsheet are why many companies and businesses use spreadsheets in handling data and reports. Microsoft Excel is the most used spreadsheet tool worldwide. To ensure your Excel spreadsheets are secure and protected, here are the life hacks to keep your Excel files safe:

 

Convert your Excel File

Converting an Excel to PDF ensures that others cannot modify your file. Although the use of Excel saves us from much manual labor, spreadsheets have sensitive cells. Changing one cell or character can change the whole file. This makes it vital to ensure that Excel files with formulas are not editable. 

 

Converting your Excel file to PDF makes your files permanent and unmodified. It’s like a photo that people can view but not easily change. Changing your files to PDF reassures the owner that the data in the file will not be modified by anyone who’s given access to it. You can use the converted PDF file as the finalized document for your records.

 

The converted PDF file also keeps the formulas permanent by converting whatever information is there. It will save the file like a Microsoft Word or a digital photo. If you are planning to file or store your file, converting it into PDF is the best option because then it will be organized like a book. 

 

A PDF-converted Excel file keeps its formatting like colors and font. It retains the same quality as the Excel spreadsheet. If you are using graphs and images in your Excel, these figures will keep their quality when converted to PDF.

 

An Excel file may not be compatible with all mobile devices unless a file reader application is downloaded on the device. Another great thing in converting your Excel is that PDF can be compatible with mobile and computer devices. You can access your Excel in a PDF-converted file even without a spreadsheet reader. It’s also compatible with Windows, Linux, and other operating systems and browsers. If you are not planning to modify the data anymore, converting to PDF is a helpful way to handle your files.

 

You can also put a password in the PDF file. You can share the password with whomever you are permitting to access the file. Having a password in your PDF file prevents an unauthorized user from opening and viewing your file. Converting an Excel file to PDF and encrypting it with a password guarantees file protection.

 

Password-protect the Excel File

 

Putting a password in your file is one of the most effective methods to protect the confidentiality and sensitivity of your data from unauthorized use. Encrypting a password allows you to work on your Excel file. You will supply a correct password every time you and another user try to open it. 

 

Here are the steps to encrypt a password in your Excel file:

  1. Click File
  2. Proceed to Info and click Protect Workbook.
  3. Go to Encrypt with Password
  4. Put your preferred password and click OK
  5. Retype your password, then click OK

 

There’s no way to reset or recover your password in Microsoft Excel. That’s why you must save it someplace that you consider safe. Otherwise, there’s no way to open the Excel file when you forget the password you set.

 

There are, however, ways to retrieve the password of older Excel versions. To prevent your passwords from getting decrypted or hacked, make sure that you are using the updated software version of Microsoft Excel.  

 

Workbook and Worksheet-Level Protection

 

There are more specific ways to further secure your Excel file, like protecting your workbook and worksheet. First, let’s define and differentiate the two.

 

Workbook and worksheet are often interchanged and may seem to refer to the same thing. However, these two are entirely different. A worksheet is an individual spreadsheet that has rows and columns. When you open an Excel file, you are welcomed by a worksheet. The default name of your first worksheet is Sheet1. 

A workbook, on the other hand, is the Excel file itself. It has a file type typically ending in .xls or .xlsx. The Excel files you see on your Desktop or any other folder are workbooks. The default workbook or Excel file name is Book1, but this can be changed after renaming the file. 

Now, let’s proceed with how you can protect a workbook and a worksheet.

Workbook Protection

Protecting a workbook means setting a password to protect it from unwanted and unauthorized modification. Workbook-level protection also prevents unauthorized users from renaming, hiding, and accessing hidden sheets.

It’s important to know that file protection is different from workbook protection. File protection prevents others from opening your file by encrypting it with a password, while workbook protection helps avoid unauthorized modification, renaming, unhiding, and hiding sheets of a workbook. 

Here are the steps to protect your workbook:

  1. Go to Review
  2. Proceed to Protect Workbook
  3. Put your preferred password in the box that appears
  4. Confirm your password and click OK

Worksheet Protection

Protecting a worksheet limits how people can use a worksheet. You can customize and set limitations to ensure that confidential and sensitive data are not modified and to ensure that critical information is secure.

Protecting a worksheet is different from preserving a file and a workbook. Worksheet-level protection only sets restrictions on cells to prevent others from modifying these cells.

Conclusion

Microsoft Excel is the commonly used spreadsheet software by students, employees, business people, and professionals because of its features and function. It is a great tool for recording data and creating reports. 

To avoid hackers and unwanted data modification, especially if your file contains confidential information, there are ways to protect your Excel files. You can convert your finalized Excel file to PDF, encrypt your Excel file with a password, or protect your workbook and worksheet. 

Lastly, using a password is one of the most effective ways to protect your files from unauthorized users. The longer and more complicated is the password you use, the more protected your file can be.

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