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how can I secure a spreadsheet?

asked 2018-09-04 19:06:04 +0200

jayllbird gravatar image

Following requirements of GDPR I would like to set a password on a spreadsheet. Is it possible to do this?

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Please be aware that passwords don't work very well if you are saving to Excel file types. You can set them up, but others are able to access the files without them. They do work correctly if you are saving to the native .ods format.

Liberty Belle gravatar imageLiberty Belle ( 2018-09-04 19:41:50 +0200 )edit

That entirely depends on what is password protected, not the file format saved in. See my answer.

erAck gravatar imageerAck ( 2018-09-05 20:58:21 +0200 )edit

No, it very much doesdepend on the file format saved in. I have filed two bug reports detailing this behavior, and I don't believe I checked all possible file formats. These were just the ones I tested and found did not work: and

Liberty Belle gravatar imageLiberty Belle ( 2018-11-10 19:34:16 +0200 )edit

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answered 2018-09-05 20:57:59 +0200

erAck gravatar image

Any sheet protection or document protection can be removed in any file format unless the file is saved with a password and thus encrypted. For this to happen check the Save with password box in the Save-As file dialog.

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answered 2018-09-04 19:19:29 +0200

ve3oat gravatar image

updated 2018-09-05 03:15:42 +0200

Yes. Menu File -> Properties -> Security -> Protect -> Enter Password.

@Liberty Belle makes an important point. If this answers your question, please click the check mark at left so that others will know.

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That only sets a flag to prevent users from changing content when loaded in an application. It can be removed by anyone knowing how to edit a file format. It does by no means guard against unauthorized access of the data.

erAck gravatar imageerAck ( 2018-09-05 21:04:29 +0200 )edit

Wow. Thanks, @erAck, I didn't realize that at all. I wonder why the option is even offered, as it is unsafe and misleading. Thanks.

ve3oat gravatar imageve3oat ( 2018-09-05 22:57:21 +0200 )edit

The options there that can be activated and guarded with a password are Open file read-only and Record changes. I don't see anything misleading about that. It does not say the file would be encrypted or otherwise not readable.

erAck gravatar imageerAck ( 2018-09-06 12:58:23 +0200 )edit

Yes, I see now. You are right of course. My expectations of the Protection option were, shall we say, overly optimistic, and I just assumed too much. Thanks, @erAck, for setting this straight.

ve3oat gravatar imageve3oat ( 2018-09-06 15:19:05 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2018-09-04 19:06:04 +0200

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Last updated: Sep 05 '18