• Hi All

    Please note that at the Chandoo.org Forums there is Zero Tolerance to Spam

    Post Spam and you Will Be Deleted as a User


  • When starting a new post, to receive a quicker and more targeted answer, Please include a sample file in the initial post.

Cell Protection In Excel

Young Guy 407

New Member
Hello, I am a 27 year old entrepreneur from the United States. I am looking to hire someone from overseas to work on collecting data for my new start up company.

I would like to provide them with my data in excel format, and have them fill in the blank areas that I do not have completed. However I would not like for them to have the data I have already found.

**** Question: What would you recommend to do to keep my data safe from sight? ****

Here is an example of the data:

1st Column: Account Number

2nd Column: Account Name

3rd Column: Account Phone Number

4th Column: Account Website

5th Column: Account Address

I have the Account Number, and Account Name for all accounts. However some are missing a phone number, others an address, and about 75% are missing the website.

I would like to keep the data that I have private, possibly invisible, and if a cell is missing data it is highlighted to make it easier for those working with it to spot an empty cell.


Excel Rōnin
Hi, Young Guy 407!

Once someone opens an Excel workbook, there's no effective protection for what you're asking for. Let's take cell A1 as example: even if you hide column A and row 1, you password protect active worksheet, you protect workbook structure, and whatsoever you could do... nothing stops the user to open a new workbook and type this in cell A1 of sheet Sheet1:

='[Original workbook.xlsx]Sheet1'!A1

... And copying it across and down as wanted.

Even if you apply some kind of cryptography to cell A1, e.g. sustitution method (the most silly is each character by the following in ASCII table) and you have functions to encrypt/decrypt and you protect your VBA project with password from viewing/editing), transposition method or any... there's still a backdoor: lots of programs that crack or retrieve Excel passwords.

So, bad news for you, I guess.



Active Member
Hi Young Guy 407,

More information here



Excel Ninja
Good day

I will most likely be shot down in flames for this post by the excel Ninjas and Experts....but is this a case for a simple Access data base. The fields would be set up as Young Guy 407 requires but by using a form that is set in options to open on start up only the cells that Young Guy 407 whats to be displayed and updated would be shown, also if the Data base is saved and distributed correctly then users would not be able to gain access to the raw data tables......before the Ninjas and Experts start to sharpen their knives its just an idea.


Excel Rōnin
Hi, b(ut)ob(ut)hc!

Nice to read you :)

Nothing farther from the people that write here... (should I exclude myself? :) ...)

BTW, what if I open the Access database holding pressed the shift key? Or if someone writes something like "Select * From TableXXX"?

Good day for you too, even here's nearly ending the afternoon!


PS: wow... old dog yet learned new Excel tricks and now goes by Access tricks? ... chapeau, monsieur!


Excel Ninja
Good day SirJB7

I was thinking more along the lines of saving the data base as a ACCDE file


Excel Rōnin
Hi, Hi, b(ut)ob(ut)hc!

Good first point. B(ut) what if exporting data? The underlying concept is the same as with my Excel new workbook example and the A1 cell referencing: once you have been granted access to the database, even if you can't neither change design, nor create new objects, nor, nor, nor... you can do something to retrieve the data, either in one form or another. Tricky shortcuts from the interface, third party tools to recover, force or grant access to all objects...

Just give a look at this russian guys: http://www.elcomsoft.com/

Among other products, check the compatibility chart for Access in this link: http://www.elcomsoft.com/aopr.html

The idea is just to use only software like this (from Elcomsoft) for forensic, auditing or network security purposes... isn't it? (Oh, oh... if it is, why I'm using in since late 90's -97 or 98, if I don't remember bad-?... Ah, I now remember why... it was for network security, auditing and forensic purposes only... ;))) ... -where's my lawyer's phone?-)