Excel Unprotect Workbook (Table of Contents)
Introduction to Unprotect Excel Workbook
When we unprotect a workbook that means we are allowing access to edit and modify an excel workbook. The workbook is protected before, that is why we are unprotecting it for sharing it with other users or employees of an organization. Excel workbook can be protected for all users or some specific users depending on the requirement. A workbook can be protected at both file and workbook level. The two ways of protecting a workbook and unprotecting a workbook are mentioned below.
Protecting an Excel Workbook
- Protecting a workbook requires a password so that no one can tamper with the data. But if we want to unprotect it for someone, then we can either enter or clear the password.
- While opening, it will ask for the password. If we have the password, we can enter and view the data. But what if we want to share the file with someone who is part of our team and doesn’t need a password as it kills time, then we just can unprotect the workbook.
- Unprotecting a workbook can be done in another way. If we want users can share, delete or hide a sheet from the workbook, then we can just go to Review > Protect Workbook and enter a password to unprotect the workbook structure.
There are some ways to protect a workbook as mentioned below.
1. Encrypting Entire Workbook with Password
We can encrypt it with a password to restrict users to open it. This is the best protection as Excel will always prompt for a password when someone tries to open the workbook. For that, we’ll go to File > Info > Protect Workbook > Encrypt with password as shown below.
Now, it will ask to input a password. Enter a password and then press the Ok key.
Now, every time a user tries to open, it will ask for a password to view the contents of the file.
2. Read-Only Access to a Workbook
We can give only read-only access to the workbook for viewing the contents of the workbook. Then users can’t edit on it. For the same, we can go to File > Info > Protect Workbook > Always open read-only as shown below.
Now, anytime a user tries to open the file, he will get a warning that the author would like to open the file in read-only mode unless any edit is required.
When the user press on Ok, the workbook loads in read-only mode as shown below.
3. Protecting Workbook Structure
We can protect the workbook structure which will allow users to open the file but prevent them from rearranging, renaming, updating, deleting or creating new worksheets without a password. For the same, we’ll go to File > Info > Protect Workbook > Protect workbook structure as shown below.
Now, we have to set a password for protecting it as shown below and press Ok key thereafter.
A user can open the workbook but can’t have structural command access like hide, unhide, delete, rename, etc. These commands appear in light color which shows we can’t click on that.
Unprotecting an Excel Workbook
If we need to unprotect the workbook and allow users to edit and modify the workbook, then are few steps to unprotect from different modes of protection as given below.
1. If a Workbook is Password Protected
When a workbook is encrypted with a password, we have to go to File > Info > Protect Workbook > Encrypt with password then it will ask to enter the password in the dialogue box there. We’ll just have to clear the password and press the OK key as shown below.
Now, our sheet is unprotected and we can edit like before.
2. If a Workbook is in Read-Only Mode
Earlier, we saw how to protect a workbook to read-only mode. If we want to have edit access to the workbook, then we can do the same by going again to File > Info > Protect Workbook > and click on read-only mode again as shown below. Now, we can edit the workbook as before.
3. Removing Workbook Structure Protection
To remove workbook structure protection, the only way is to type in password by switching to Review > Protect Workbook > and enter the password in the dialog box as shown below.
Now, we can have access to delete, insert, hide, unhide, select, move or copy, etc. on the sheet. This action only removes the workbook structure protection from the workbook and allows people to delete, rename insert, hide, etc. at workbook level i.e it works on all the sheets of the workbook as shown below.
The above image shows all the commands are back after doing a right-click on sheet names.
Things to Remember
- A password is required for protecting the workbook.
- The workbook can be fully protected from access or given read-only mode.
- While unprotecting a workbook, a password is not mandatory. We can clear the password and then access the workbook.
- A password is required for opening the workbook if it is fully protected before.
- Protecting a workbook and worksheet are different from each other. A worksheet is a particular sheet of the Excel workbook.
This is a guide to Unprotect Excel Workbook. Here we discuss How to Protect & Unprotect Excel Workbook along with practical examples. You can also go through our other suggested articles –