Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Keep it Safe!

You may have never done this.  In fact, the chances are very good that you haven’t.  Protecting your Excel work. Really, you say? How boring can a topic be!
You’ve never had a problem and, frankly, you can’t be bothered. Well, that may be just fine if you are the only one using your Excel masterworks, but if are sharing your work (and most of us probably are) with others there will come a time when the Others (note the ominous tone) will want to “Experiment” with your formulas and format. The construction of your workbook may have taken many hours to create, and there is the potential for substantial ruin. This does not need to be the case!

Excel has built-in Protection Tools to help assure that your Excel work is safe.

Let’s take a look at Excel 2016 for a How-To Example (other versions are similar): 

Protecting and Unprotecting a Worksheet with a Password

1. If there are specific cells that you wish to enable users to modify (such as a Data Entry Range in a dynamic report), go to the Review tab and select the Allow Users to Edit Ranges in the Changes group and select the range you wish to keep accessible. In the example below, cells B5:B14

2. Next, click the Protect Sheet button in the same dialogue box. Excel in turn opens a Protect Sheet dialog box (see below), where you can Assign a Password, and select the Permissions you wish to be available to the users.

3. Click OK

You can easily Unprotect the worksheet with the password anytime you wish to make changes. And, of course, as this can cause a business disaster (people have been fired for losing this), Be Sure to Keep Track of the Password. This barely warrants mentioning, but it does happen.

One Last Important Note: Protecting your worksheets is Not a way of making them Absolutely Secure.  It is not ample protection to prevent users from accessing confidential or sensitive data, and any backyard hacker can break it.  It is for casual protection, which is for most workplaces, good enough…

Protecting Your Worksheets.  This is a Best Practice for any Excel practitioner, and one worth your time. There will be a time when you will be glad you did this.

Merry Christmas, All!

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