Password Protect Office 2010 file with read only

I recently had to throw together an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of people’s attendance to a meeting. It was necessary for the file to be password protected so no one could edit it, but at the same time I needed everyone to be able to view the file.

I remember having done it in Office 2003 without hassle, but in recent years haven’t had the need. And when trying to get it done in Office 2007/2010, I just couldn’t get it right. Google searches were also proving rather futile as most of them referred to the obvious protection options which couldn’t accomplish what I wanted.

If you go to protect in Office, you can choose to make a file Read-Only, you can save it as a Final copy. But then I can’t edit it. You can also password protect sheets, so I did that at first, but then if you want to edit a sheet, you have to un-protect the sheet, make your changes, and then re-protect the sheet. This would work, but I knew at some stage, me or someone else would forget to re-protect the sheet before closing the file.

After much searching, I eventually found this page which gave instructions on how to do it. And it’s fairly easy.


  • Go to ‘Save as’
  • Click ‘Tools’ at the bottom of the window, and then ‘General Options’
  • Type in a password in the ‘Password to Modify’ block and click ‘OK’.
  • Save the file as what ever you want it to be.

Fairly simple, but very difficult to find if you don’t know where to look.

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