Password protection query (I don't need to break one myself)

AndrewRossington

Board Regular
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Messages
114
I have an excel document that has password protection.

Tools > Protection > Protect Sheet.

This goes out to over 300 people soon, and I just wondered how secure it is right now. I've done a quick search on the internet and found software available for purchase that can remove passwords.

My question: Does anyone know of software that is free for download, how easy it is to find, and if it's good enough for me to worry that my spreadsheet security could be compromised by a relatively inexperienced computer user. (I don't need to know what it is)

Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can add additional security to block editing?

Thanks
 

Excel Facts

What is =ROMAN(40) in Excel?
The Roman numeral for 40 is XL. Bill "MrExcel" Jelen's 40th book was called MrExcel XL.

DominicB

Well-known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
1,569
Good morning AndrewRossington

Software to remove this type of protection is certainly available free of charge and very easy to find (there are even macros available to do it!) Perhaps that should tell you just how flimsy it is. Excel is not secure, and any type of protection offered can be bypassed.

That said, there is a third party app available (that has been advertised on the MrExcel pages recently) that claims to make excel more secure, but I can't say how secure this is. I just can't remember the name right now...

HTH

DominicB
 

SydneyGeek

MrExcel MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
12,251
I have been working for a few years with workbooks that I distribute to numerous users. All worksheets are password-protected.

I do occasionally let users know the password if they *really* get stuck -- happened earlier on, very infrequently now. If that's the case, next reporting cycle there is a new password on it. Over 7 reporting cycles and a fair bit of hammering, I haven't seen any compromised (ie stuffed) workbooks.

Yes, there is password-cracking software out there. Yes, someone may download it. But if you have thoroughly tested the workbook and caught all the possible glitches, they won't have a reason to.

Denis
 

AndrewRossington

Board Regular
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Messages
114

ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you, sir.

It also depends on much you trust the people you're sending it to. I guess I'm trying to be overly cautious just in case someone tries to screw us.
 

SydneyGeek

MrExcel MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
12,251
Just a question:

Will the users be doing any data entry, or will they just be viewing the files?

If they are just viewing the data, why not send out PDFs? Even if they do convert the PDFs to spreadsheets they will only get the data, not the formulas.

Denis
 

AndrewRossington

Board Regular
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Messages
114

ADVERTISEMENT

Just a question:

Will the users be doing any data entry, or will they just be viewing the files?

If they are just viewing the data, why not send out PDFs? Even if they do convert the PDFs to spreadsheets they will only get the data, not the formulas.

Denis

They'll be entering data. This spreadsheet calculates payments due, and as such I don't want them to be able to change the formulas in their favour.
 

Doug.T

Board Regular
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Messages
80
Is this an internal company spreadsheet? I don't worry too much about employees breaking sheet protection. Such hacking behaviour should be covered by their employment contract or their employer's Code of Conduct.... with resulting CLM consequences. If someone hacks a spreadsheet in thier favour (I've had this happen on IRR & Budget submissions) take it up the ladder.
 

SydneyGeek

MrExcel MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
12,251
One thing I have done for peace of mind, is record a macro that harvests all the formulas. With a bit of editing you can create a routine that
(a) unprotects the sheet
(b) resets all the formulas
(c) protects the sheet

If you reckon something's been tampered with, reset it. Works fine it you have a set structure, and it sounds like you may well do.

Denis
 

DominicB

Well-known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
1,569
Hi AndrewRossington

Just found the link for the software I mentioned in my post above :

http://www.excelshield.com/

...but like I said, never used it so can't comment on how good it is. Purely for your information.

HTH

DominicB
 

Forum statistics

Threads
1,136,272
Messages
5,674,748
Members
419,525
Latest member
helensesc

We've detected that you are using an adblocker.

We have a great community of people providing Excel help here, but the hosting costs are enormous. You can help keep this site running by allowing ads on MrExcel.com.
Allow Ads at MrExcel

Which adblocker are you using?

Disable AdBlock

Follow these easy steps to disable AdBlock

1)Click on the icon in the browser’s toolbar.
2)Click on the icon in the browser’s toolbar.
2)Click on the "Pause on this site" option.
Go back

Disable AdBlock Plus

Follow these easy steps to disable AdBlock Plus

1)Click on the icon in the browser’s toolbar.
2)Click on the toggle to disable it for "mrexcel.com".
Go back

Disable uBlock Origin

Follow these easy steps to disable uBlock Origin

1)Click on the icon in the browser’s toolbar.
2)Click on the "Power" button.
3)Click on the "Refresh" button.
Go back

Disable uBlock

Follow these easy steps to disable uBlock

1)Click on the icon in the browser’s toolbar.
2)Click on the "Power" button.
3)Click on the "Refresh" button.
Go back
Top