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Protecting Excel Files from Word

One of the hallmarks of the Office suite is that its applications all work together, and sometimes very seamlessly. For instance, you can easily open Excel files from within Word. Doing so, however, can wreak havoc on your original workbook when you later save the Excel workbook from within Word. (Word assumes that you will want to work on the file in Word in the future, and so makes changes to the document format. This then makes the workbook of little value in Excel.)

Of course, routinely trashing original workbook files by opening then in Word and then saving them again is a great way to ruin a day. It is also a great way to waste a lot of time and money. If you are in an organization, one way to protect your Excel files is to only makes copies of the workbook available to others. That way your original is intact, but the copies are free to be messed up.

If it is imperative that others get to the original workbook (perhaps to make changes in the data), the only way to protect an Excel file so it is not "openable" in Word is to disable the Excel file converter for Word. You do this by starting the Office Setup program, choosing to add/remove features, and then turning off the converter. (The exact way in which you do this depends on the version of Office you are using.) Generally the converter is in an area of Setup called Text Converters; look for a converter called "Microsoft Excel Converter."

Once the converter is removed from Word, you can again start the program, but you won't be able to load an Excel workbook into Word.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2624) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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