Secure a workbook with a password

Important notice for users of Office 2003    To continue receiving security updates for Office, make sure you're running Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3). The support for Office 2003 ends April 8, 2014. If you’re running Office 2003 after support ends, to receive all important security updates for Office, you need to upgrade to a later version such as Office 365 or Office 2013. For more information, see Support is ending for Office 2003.

To allow only authorized users to view or modify your data, you can help secure your entire workbook file with a password (password: A way to restrict access to a workbook, worksheet, or part of a worksheet. Excel passwords can be up to 255 letters, numbers, spaces, and symbols. You must type uppercase and lowercase letters correctly when you set and enter passwords.).

  1. On the File menu, click Save As.
  2. On the Tools menu, click General Options.
  3. Do either or both of the following:

 Note   Unlike passwords you specify in the Password to open box, passwords you specify in the Password to modify box are not encrypted. These passwords are only meant to give specific users permission to modify workbook data. For optimal password security, it's best to assign both passwords. An encrypted password to access the workbook, and one to provide specific users with permission to modify its content.

 Important   Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Use a strong password that you can remember so that you don't have to write it down.

  1. If you want to use a different encryption type, click Advanced, click the type you want in the Choose an encryption type list, and then click OK.
  2. If needed, specify the number of characters you want in the Choose a key length box.

 Note   Document property encryption is enabled by default for most encryption types and providers. It prevents unauthorized users from viewing summary and custom file properties (such as the author or any custom file information) in the Properties dialog box. When users right-click the password-protected file, and then click Properties, information won't be available on the Summary tab and Custom tab. Authorized users, however, can open the file and view all file properties (File menu, Properties command). To disable document property encryption, clear the Encrypt document properties check box.

  1. Click OK.
  2. When prompted, retype your passwords to confirm them.
  3. Click Save.
  4. If prompted, click Yes to replace the existing workbook.

 Note   You can also secure a workbook with a password on the Security tab of the Options dialog box (Tools menu, Options command).

Applies to:
Excel 2003