How to Password Protect Google Sheets - A Comprehensive Guide

January 16, 2024 1.3K views

Let's make your Google Sheets more secure with our easy guide. We want to help you keep your info safe without any fuss. Follow along with simple steps and clear examples that anyone can understand. We're here to make it easy for you, focusing on what matters most to keep your data protected.

Part 1: Common Method to Password Protect Google Sheets - Using Google Apps Script

While Google Sheets lacks native password functionality, you can establish password protection for your Google spreadsheet by leveraging a pre-designed template. This template incorporates Apps Script code to introduce password features to the spreadsheet. Simply duplicate the spreadsheet, allowing you to adapt it for your specific needs while retaining the password capability. The following steps outline how to achieve this:

Step 1: Access the Pre-designed Template: Open the provided link to the Google Sheets template: Google Sheets Password Protection Template.

Step 2: Create a Duplicate of the Template: Navigate to the "File" option in the top menu. Choose "Make a copy" to generate your personalized copy of the template.

make a copy

Step 3: Open the Apps Script Interface: Access your duplicated file. Click on the "Extensions" tab in the top menu. Select "Apps Script" to view and edit the script code.

apps script

Step 4: Implement Password Functionality: Copy the Apps Script code from the template. Paste the code into the Apps Script interface of your spreadsheet, whether it's the duplicated template or a new one you've created.

copy code

Step 5: Authorization Process: Return to your spreadsheet. Navigate to the "Protect file" option in the top menu. Choose "Initialize" from the drop-down list. Click "Continue" to authorize the script.


click continue

Step 6: Encrypt Your File: After authorization, go to the "Protect file" option on the menu. Select "Encrypt File." Enter your desired password in the provided field and click "OK."

enter password

Step 7: Password Creation Tips: Ensure that passwords are distinct from your previous or existing passwords. Opt for longer passwords that are still memorable. Avoid incorporating common words or personal information into your passwords. Enhance security by using a combination of alphanumeric characters.

Step 8: Changing Your Password: To modify the password, access the "Protect file" tab. Select "Change password." Input the old password and the new one. Click "Submit."

change password


Part 2: How to Unlock/Decrypt Password Protected Google Sheets

Step 1: Navigate to the "Protect File" option in the menu.

Step 2: Choose the "Decrypt File" option from the available menu.

decrypt file

Step 3: Input the password associated with the encrypted file.

input password

Step 4: Click the "Enter" button to initiate the decryption process.


Part 3: How to Protect Your Google Sheets Using Other Methods?

Method 1: Warning for Editing Cells

Step 1: Navigate to the "Data" tab in the top menu and select "Protect sheets and ranges."

data tab

Step 2: On the Protected sheets and ranges sidebar, choose "+Add a sheet or range."

add a sheet or range

Step 3: Define the range or sheet to protect (e.g., the "deals" sheet) and specify excluded cells if necessary.

define sheet

Step 4: Click the "Set permissions" button to open the Range editing permissions popup. Opt for "Show a warning when editing this range" and click "Done."

set permission

Step 5: To protect a specific range instead of the entire sheet, go to the "Range" tab in the Protected sheets & ranges sidebar. Specify the range and set permissions accordingly, including restrictions on users who can edit the specified range.

range tab

Step 6: Remove protection by returning to the Protected sheets & ranges sidebar, selecting the protected sheet or range, and clicking the trash icon.

editing permissions

This method is useful for controlling who can edit specific sections of your spreadsheet, offering a balance between collaboration and data protection.

Method 2: Hide a Sheet

Secure sensitive data by hiding specific sheets within your spreadsheet:

Step 1: Right-click on the sheet to hide at the bottom of the Google Sheets screen.

Step 2: Select "Hide Sheet."

hide sheet

Step 3: Adjust sharing settings to allow selected users to read and comment on the sheet without editing capabilities.

Note: Other users can't unhide the hidden sheet, and you must unhide it to edit, making the data visible to all users.

Hiding sheets is an effective way to conceal sensitive information. Just remember to manage sharing settings for controlled access.

Method 3: Convert Google Sheets to Excel Files

For additional security, convert your Google sheet to an Excel workbook:

Step 1: Download your Google sheet in XLSX format: Click "File," hover over "Download," and select "Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)."


Step 2: Open the downloaded file in Microsoft Excel.

Step 3: Navigate to "File," then click "Info" > "Protect Workbook." Choose "Encrypt with Password" from the drop-down list.

info tab

Step 4: Enter your desired password and click "OK." Remember the password, as recovery or reset is not possible.

enter password

Converting to Excel provides an additional layer of security, leveraging Excel's built-in encryption.

Method 4: Data Validation

Google Sheets offers data validation to restrict changes that don't meet specific criteria:

Step 1: Select the cell or range to validate.

Step 2: Click the "Data" tab on the top menu and choose "Data validation."

data tab

Step 3: Choose whether to show a warning or reject input when criteria are not met. Optionally, select the "Show validation help text" option.

adjust option

Data validation helps maintain data integrity by setting criteria for allowable changes. A useful feature for ensuring accurate inputs.

Part 4: Best Free Alternative to Google Sheets - WPS Spreadsheet

WPS Office

WPS Spreadsheet stands out as a robust and free alternative to Google Sheets. It offers full compatibility with popular office suites, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, LibreOffice Calc, and OpenOffice Calc. Whether you're working on mobile devices, computers, or web pages, WPS Spreadsheet allows seamless editing of Excel files. Additionally, it supports common file formats such as .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlt, and .csv, ensuring flexibility in document handling.

Features of WPS Spreadsheet:

WPS Spreadsheet comes packed with features designed to enhance your spreadsheet experience. Some noteworthy features include:

  1. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Edit Excel files effortlessly across various platforms, including mobile devices, desktop computers, and web browsers.

  2. File Format Compatibility: WPS Spreadsheet supports a wide range of file formats, ensuring compatibility with different spreadsheet software, including Microsoft Excel.

  3. User-Friendly Interface: The user interface of WPS Spreadsheet is intuitive, making it easy for users to navigate and utilize its functionalities.

  4. Collaboration Tools: WPS Spreadsheet facilitates collaboration by allowing users to work on online documents, fostering real-time collaboration among team members.

  5. Lightweight: The software is lightweight, ensuring swift performance even on less powerful devices.

  6. Security and Stability: WPS Spreadsheet prioritizes the safety and stability of your documents, providing a secure environment for your data.

In summary, WPS Spreadsheet is a versatile, user-friendly, and free alternative to Google Sheets, catering to a broad range of users and offering a set of features that prioritize efficiency and collaboration.

How to Download WPS Office

Step 1: Visit WPS Office Website:

Navigate to the official WPS Office website.

Step 2: Download WPS Office:

Click the "Free Download" button to retrieve the WPS Office setup file.

Click Free Download

Step 3: Install WPS Office: Launch the downloaded setup file and adhere to the on-screen instructions to complete the installation of WPS Office.


How to Password Protect Your Excel Files with WPS Spreadsheet?

Step 1: Begin by opening the WPS Excel file that you wish to secure with a password. Once the file is open, select the specific cells you want to protect, and navigate to the "Review" option.

review option

Step 2: With the desired cells selected, click on "Lock Cell" within the "Review" menu.

select lock cell

Step 3: After locking the cells, proceed to protect the entire sheet. Click on "Protect Sheet," and a pop-up window will appear. Enter the password you wish to use for sheet protection, ensuring that you remember this password for future access.

enter password

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1. Can I use special characters in my Google Sheet password?

Yes, definitely! Adding special characters like symbols and numbers makes your password stronger, boosting overall security.

2. How often should I update my Google Sheet password?

It's a good practice to update your Google Sheet password regularly, aiming for every three to six months. This helps keep your security measures robust and effective.


In conclusion, safeguarding your Google Sheets is simple and crucial. From using Google Apps Script to decrypting passwords and exploring alternative protective methods, our guide ensures your data's security. Don't forget the user-friendly WPS Spreadsheet as a reliable alternative. Regularly updating your passwords adds an extra layer of protection. With these straightforward tips, keep your Google Sheets secure and your information in safe hands.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.