Excel – How to avoid hidden Excel rows/columns being read

microsoft excelpassword-protection

I have an Excel file with a big worksheet, frequently updated and submitted.

Quite a number of rows and columns are hidden in order to make the calculation details and raw data invisible to people receiving the file, and the sheet is password-protected.

However, a user still might read the hidden part by copying and pasting the content to another sheet, or by using a formula such as


where J9 is the hidden cell.

I know every wall has a way to break through, yet still, is there a way to protect the content of a hidden Excel cell from being (easily) read out by a "normal" user?

Best Answer

Farm out the calculation helper cells to a totally different sheet. Then hide that sheet, or use VBA to make it "very hidden" , which means that it cannot be unhidden via the user interface.

This is a quote form John Walkenbach's article http://j-walk.com/ss/excel/usertips/tip036.htm

  • Press Alt-F11 to display the Visual Basic Editor
  • in the Project window, double-click Microsoft Excel Objects and select the sheet to hide.
  • Press F4 to display the Property box
  • Set the sheet's Visible property to xlSheetVeryHidden.

To unhide the sheet, repeat these step, but set the Visible property to xlSheetVisible.

Protect the VBA project with a password, so even a user with a few VBA skills cannot easily get to it.

Be aware that no Excel password protection is ever totally safe. Worksheet passwords take 2 seconds to disarm. Depending on the Excel version, workbook passwords and VBA passwords can be circumvented with a bit more effort if enough malicious energy is thrown at them.

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