It is often necessary to protect either the sensitive information in one’s actual worksheet or the workbook structure, from being edited. Excel provides different options for protecting and securing one’s data and we are going to look at the two most commonly used ones, namely protecting one’s worksheet and protecting one’s workbook. So let’s get started to know the difference between protect sheet and protect workbook in MS Excel.
What Are Protect Sheet and Protect Workbook in Excel?
In Microsoft Excel, the feature that prevents other users from accidentally or deliberately editing, moving, or deleting data in a worksheet is named Protect Sheet. You can lock the cells on your Excel worksheet with password protection.
On the other hand, the Protect Workbook feature isolates other users from viewing hidden worksheets and editing them in the entire workbook. It also benefits with password protection.
Difference Between Protect Sheet and Protect Workbook in MS Excel
For example, a company has decided to hire consultants, to test the skill levels and competencies of its employees, using assessments.
Each employee is given seven assessments to complete in a set time, for each assessment and the score is recorded by the assessor on an Excel spreadsheet. There is a section for employee feedback on the EmloyeeEvaluation worksheet.
In the same workbook, the AssessorsCommments sheet allows for the assessor to give feedback. The assessor inputs the scores and feedback. Then sends the spreadsheet to the manager for input.
Lastly in the ManagersComments sheet, the manager puts input and sends it back to the assessor, and then finally the assessor sends the spreadsheet to the employee for feedback.
So needless to say there are certain sections that the assessor and manager would not want the employee to edit. This is where we will work to apply Protect Sheet and Protect Workbook commands in MS Excel.
Protect Sheet in MS Excel
First, we will learn about protecting individual worksheets in Excel. Let’s follow the steps below.
- First, go to the first worksheet, EmployeeEvaluation.
- Here, select cell C17 as we want the employee only to be able to edit this cell, which is the designated employee feedback cell.
- Next, right-click on it and choose Format Cells.
- In the Format Cells dialogue box, go to the Protection Tab and uncheck the Locked option.
- Afterward, press OK.
- Now, go to the Review tab and select Protect Sheet under the Protect group.
- In the Protect Sheet dialog box, choose what you want the users of the worksheet to be able to do.
- In this case, we are going to uncheck Select locked cells, so employees will only be able to select the unlocked cell C17.
- Along with it, mark check the Select unlocked cells box to operate the free cells.
- Then, set up a password for this worksheet and press OK.
- Following, again type the password in the Confirm Password dialogue box.
- Lastly, press OK.
- That’s it, you will see that cell C17 is locked now.
- Follow the similar procedure for cell C7 of the other two worksheets as well.
- Simply go to the Review tab again and select Unprotect Sheet.
- Then, enter the password and press OK to unlock it.
Read More: How to Protect Excel File with Password
Protect Workbook in MS Excel
Protecting a workbook means that users cannot view hidden sheets, add, move, delete, hide, or rename worksheets. Let’s see how it works.
- In order to protect the total workbook at hand, go to the Review tab and choose Protect Workbook from the Protect group.
- Then, set a password in the Protect Structure and Windows dialog box.
- Following, click OK.
- Now, confirm the password in the Confirm Password dialog box.
- Further, click OK.
- In this condition, if you right-click one of the sheets, you’ll see that you will no longer be able to insert, hide, rename, move, or delete a sheet.
- Go to the Review tab again and click on Protect Workbook.
- Following, insert the password in the Unprotect Workbook dialogue box.
- Click OK.
- Finally, you will notice that the workbook is not protected anymore and you can thus insert, rename, move, copy or rename sheets.
Read More: Protect and Share Excel Workbook
Things to Remember
- Though inserting a password is optional, without setting a password, protecting the sheet then basically becomes a toggle on/toggle off button and any user can just unprotect the sheet anytime.
- It is advisable to always set strong passwords that contain letters, numbers, and special characters for protecting one’s worksheets or workbooks.
Download Practice Workbook
Get the sample file and try it yourself.
Henceforth, we learned the difference between a protected sheet and a protected workbook in MS Excel. Please feel free to comment and tell us your feedback on this article.