Protecting Excel Data

Copper Contributor

I have an Excel file with multiple sheets that I want to protect from any change because I have to post it on our website!  I tried making it a pdf but it does not convert to a readable format and the multiple sheets do not work as a pdf file.


I want people to be able to look at the file but not be able to change it.  What is the best way to accomplish this? 

2 Replies


In Excel for the web, you can protect your Excel file to prevent changes by using the "Protect Workbook" feature, unless absolutely necessary, convert it to PDF.

Here's how you can accomplish this:

1. Open your Excel file in Excel for the web:

  • Log in to your Microsoft account and open your Excel file in Excel for the web.

2. Protect Workbook:

    • Click on the "Review" tab in the ribbon at the top.
    • Select "Protect Workbook" from the toolbar.
    • Choose "Protect Structure and Windows" from the dropdown menu.
    • If prompted, enter a password to protect the workbook.
    • Confirm the password and click "OK".

3. Save the Workbook:

    • After protecting the workbook, make sure to save the changes. Click on "File" in the top left corner, then select "Save" or "Save As" to save the protected workbook.

Once you've protected the workbook, users will be able to view the file on your website but won't be able to make any changes to it. They can navigate between the sheets and view the content, but they won't be able to edit or modify the data.

It's important to remember the password you set for the protected workbook because you'll need it to make any changes to the workbook in the future. Also, be sure to test the protected workbook thoroughly to ensure it behaves as expected before posting it on your website.


If you're encountering issues with converting your Excel file to PDF and maintaining readability, especially when dealing with multiple sheets, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot and improve the conversion:

  1. Check Page Layout: Ensure that the page layout in your Excel file is optimized for printing. You can adjust page margins, page orientation, and page size to ensure that content fits well on the PDF pages.
  2. Adjust Print Area: Set the print area for each worksheet in your Excel file to include only the relevant content that you want to appear in the PDF. This can help avoid unnecessary blank pages or content overflow.
  3. Review Scaling Options: Check the scaling options in Excel's print settings to ensure that the content is scaled appropriately for printing. You can adjust the scaling to fit all columns or rows on a single page if necessary.
  4. Merge Sheets into One: If possible, consider merging the content from multiple sheets into a single sheet before converting to PDF. This can simplify the conversion process and ensure that all content appears seamlessly in the PDF.
  5. Use PDF Printer: Instead of relying on Excel's built-in PDF conversion, consider using a third-party PDF printer driver or virtual printer. These tools typically offer more customization options and may provide better results for complex Excel files.
  6. Convert Each Sheet Separately: If merging sheets into one is not feasible, you can convert each sheet to a separate PDF file and then combine them using PDF editing software or online tools.
  7. Test Different PDF Conversion Methods: Experiment with different methods of converting Excel files to PDF, such as using Excel's built-in PDF export feature, printing to PDF using a PDF printer driver, or using online conversion tools. Some methods may produce better results depending on the complexity of your Excel file.

By following these steps and experimenting with different approaches, you can improve the readability and quality of your PDF conversion from Excel, even when dealing with multiple sheets.


The text was created with the help of AI.


Hope this will help you.


Was the answer useful? Mark as best response and like it!

This will help all forum participants.


In Excel for web we have only one option under Review tab - Manage Protection of the concrete sheet. That means users may add another sheets or delete protected sheet - protecting of structure is not an option.

In general Excel protection is mainly to protect from users negligence. It doesn't secure file, protection removing is not a big deal.