How to Make Excel Workbook Read Only with Password (With Easy Steps)

While working with Microsoft Excel, often we have to make the workbook read only with a password for the sake of data integrity. We protect workbooks with passwords to prevent unwanted changes made by unauthorized persons. For example, while working with financial data, our utmost concern is to protect data from unauthorized access. In this article. I will discuss step-by-step guidelines to create workbooks read-only with suitable passwords.

How to Make Excel Workbook Read Only with Password: Step-by-Step Guideline

Step 1: Use File Tab from Excel Ribbon

For instance, we have a dataset containing some products’ month-wise sales data. These data are very much confidential. So, now I will make the Excel file read-only and will apply a password to restrict unwanted access and modification of data. Let’s go through the process.

  • First go to the corresponding datasheet, where we have the data.
  • Next, from the Excel Ribbon, go to the File tab.

Use File Tab from Excel Ribbon

  • Then go to Save As > Browse.

Step 2: Choose General Options

  • After browsing, the Save As dialog appears.
  • Now, give a name to the Excel file and go to the bottom section of the window to choose General Options from the Tools.

Choose General Options

Step 3: Set Password to Read Only

  • Upon clicking on the General Options, the below dialog box shows up. From the box, put a checkmark on the Read-only recommended and type a suitable password in the Password to modify field. Press OK after that.

Set Password to Read Only

  • Again enter the password when the Confirm Password prompt box appears and press OK.

Set Password to Read Only

  • Consequently, excel will get back to the General Options dialog, and press Save. Excel now saves the Excel workbook as a read-only file with a password.

Step 4: Open Password Protected Excel File to Check

Suppose, you want to open the read-only file that we just have created. Now let’s check whether our file protection works or not.

  • First, double-click the Excel file which we made read-only, and enter the password. Next press Read Only.

Open Password Protected Excel Files to Check

  • As a result, the file will be opened as usual as in the below screenshot. After opening the file, let’s consider that I want to modify any sales value. Excel will allow me to change the value.

  • Here, you may think Excel is allowing me to update the value even though the workbook is in a read-only file. But it is not true.

Open Password Protected Excel Files to Check

  • After editing the data, if you click on the Save option, excel will show the below warning box. The message in the box ensures that our file is fully protected now. No one can change the original Excel file that we have protected with a password.

Read More: How to Make a Cell Read Only in Excel

Disable Excel ‘Read-only-recommended’ Option

You can make an Excel file editable again by following the below steps.


  • Initially, open the read-only Excel file.
  • Next, go to File > Save As > Browse.
  • Then choose the General Options from the Save As dialog and press OK.
  • Afterward, from the General Options dialog, uncheck the Read-only recommended and click OK.

Disable Excel ‘Read-only-recommended’ Option

  • Click Save. As a consequence, the Excel file will be saved as a new name in an editable and accessible format.

Read More: How to Remove Read Only from Excel

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook that we have used to prepare this article.


In the above article, I have discussed how to make an Excel workbook read only with a password elaborately. Hopefully, these methods and explanations will be enough to solve your problems. Please let me know if you have any queries.

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Hosne Ara
Hosne Ara

Hosne Ara is a materials and metallurgical engineer who loves exploring Excel and VBA programming. To her, programming is like a time-saving superhero for dealing with data, files, and the internet. She's skilled in Rhino3D, Maxsurf C++, MS Office, AutoCAD, and Excel & VBA, going beyond the basics. With a B. Sc. in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, she's shifted gears and now works as a content developer. In this role, she... Read Full Bio

  1. Hello! While this is an excellent option to protect a workbook and we have been using it for a long time, what we have found is that only the person that initially set the password to protect the workbook is the only one that can undo this. We have many files that one person has protected in this manor, and they have left our organization. Is there an easy way to get around this?

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