Password protecting an Excel file achieves two main objectives (1) prevents unauthorized access to the Excel file (2) prevents unauthorized modification of the Excel file.
File-level protection is not the same as worksheet protection or workbook protection. Worksheet protection controls what a user can or cannot do on a worksheet, such as inserting rows or typing into cells. Workbook protection prevents users from adding, deleting, moving, hiding or unhiding worksheets.
File-level protection allows for two passwords: (1) to open the file (2) to modify the file.
Save an Excel file with protection
'Save file with password required to open ThisWorkbook.SaveAs Password:="fileOpenPassword" 'Save file to allow access, but requires password to modify ThisWorkbook.SaveAs writeResPassword:="modifyFilePassword" 'Save file with password required to open and modify the file ThisWorkbook.SaveAs Password:="fileOpenPassword", _ writeResPassword:="modifyFilePassword"
If the file already exists a confirmation message will be displayed. For the VBA code to operate seamlessly, you will want to turn Display Alerts off before executing the code, then turning it back on after the file has been saved.
'Save file and suppress the save as warning message Application.DisplayAlerts = False ThisWorkbook.SaveAs Password:="fileOpenPassword", _ writeResPassword:="modifyFilePassword" Application.DisplayAlerts = True
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Opening a password protected Excel file
When opening a password protected Excel file manually, the password prompts are displayed:
File Open Password
File Modify Password
Using VBA it is possible to open these files and provide the password so that the prompt does not appear.
'Open password protected file Workbooks.Open Filename:="C:\Users\marks\Documents\PasswordProtectedFile.xlsm", _ Password:="fileOpenPassword", writeResPassword:="fileModifyPassword"
The Password and writeResPassword statements should be included or excluded depending on the file being opened.
If an incorrect password is provided the following error message will show.
The code below will catch the error and provide a custom message.
'Catch an incorrect password On Error Resume Next Workbooks.Open Filename:="C:\Users\marks\Documents\PasswordProtecedFile.xlsm", _ Password:="fileOpenPassword", writeResPassword:="fileModifyPassword" If Err.Number <> 0 Then MsgBox "The Password Provided is incorrect" Exit Sub End If On Error GoTo 0
Other related VBA code snippets
The following VBA Code Snippets will be useful for applying this post in a wider context.
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If you’ve found this post useful, or if you have a better approach, then please leave a comment below.
Do you need help adapting this to your needs?
I’m guessing the examples in this post didn’t exactly meet your situation. We all use Excel differently, so it’s impossible to write a post that will meet everybody’s needs. By taking the time to understand the techniques and principles in this post (and elsewhere on this site) you should be able to adapt it to your needs.
But, if you’re still struggling you should:
- Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic. You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
- Ask the ‘Excel Ninja’ in your office. It’s amazing what things other people know.
- Ask a question in a forum like Mr Excel, or the Microsoft Answers Community. Remember, the people on these forums are generally giving their time for free. So take care to craft your question, make sure it’s clear and concise. List all the things you’ve tried, and provide screenshots, code segments and example workbooks.
- Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner. They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.
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