Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Protecting an Entire Folder of Workbooks.

Protecting an Entire Folder of Workbooks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 9, 2013)

Mahesh has a number of Excel workbooks, all stored in the same folder. He wonders if it is possible to assign a password to the entire folder so that all the workbooks are protected.

The short answer is no, you can't do that in Excel. There are a number of different techniques you can apply that will provide the desired result, however. The first method is to use a program such as WinZip to combine all the workbooks into a single zip file. This file can be password protected (in WinZip) so that not everyone can open it. You could then open the zip file (using your password) and double-click on any workbook in it in order to modify it with Excel. The result, for all intents and purposes, is that you have a "folder" (the zip file) that is protected, while the individual files it contains are not.

Another approach is to place the workbook folder on a network drive and then have the network admin protect the folder. Most network operating systems allow administrators to control who can have access to specific folders and their contents.

A third approach is to use a third-party program to protect the folder. A quick search of the Web will no doubt turn up several candidates, such as the following:

http://www.folder-password-expert.com

You can also use an Excel macro to protect the workbooks. While it does not offer true folder-level protection, it does allow you to protect all the workbooks in the folder in as easy a manner as possible.

Sub ProtectAll()
    Dim wBk As Workbook
    Dim sFileSpec As String
    Dim sPathSpec As String
    Dim sFoundFile As String

    sPathSpec = "C:\MyPath\"
    sFileSpec = "*.xls"

    sFoundFile = Dir(sPathSpec & sFileSpec)
    Do While sFoundFile <> ""
        Set wBk = Workbooks.Open(sPathSpec & sFoundFile)
        With wBk
            Application.DisplayAlerts = False
            wBk.SaveAs FileName:=.FullName, _
              Password:="swordfish"
            Application.DisplayAlerts = True
        End With
        Set wBk = Nothing
        Workbooks(sFoundFile).Close False
        sFoundFile = Dir
    Loop
End Sub

Make sure you change the sPathSpec and sFileSpec variables, near the beginning of the code, to reflect the folder containing the workbooks and the pattern for the names of the workbooks you want protected. The macro assumes that all the workbooks are unprotected; if any are not, the macro will prompt for the workbook's password.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2878) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Protecting an Entire Folder of Workbooks.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Tab Key Won't Move from Cell to Cell in Locked Worksheet

Normally the Tab key can be used to move from one cell to another in Excel. If this cell movement doesn't work for you, it ...

Discover More

Simple Relative References in External Links

Linked data can be essential in pulling information from one workbook to another. One downside of links, however, is that ...

Discover More

Get Rid of Web Stuff

When you copy information from a Web page and paste it into a worksheet, you can end up with more than you bargained for. ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Using Macros in Protected Workbooks

Having problems with using macros in a protected workbook? There could be any number of causes (and solutions) as described ...

Discover More

Protecting an Entire Workbook

Want to stop other people from making unauthorized changes to your workbook? Excel provides a way that you can protect the ...

Discover More

Automatically Protecting After Input

Do you want user-entered data to be immediately protected so that it cannot be changed? This can be done relatively easily ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share