Excel 2016: Inspecting and Protecting Workbooks

Lesson 26: Inspecting and Protecting Workbooks



Before sharing a workbook, you'll want to make sure it doesn't include any spelling errors or information you want to keep private. Fortunately, Excel includes several tools to help finalize and protect your workbook, including Document Inspector and the Protect Workbook feature.

Optional: Download our practice workbook.

Watch the video below to learn more about inspecting and protecting workbooks.

Document Inspector

Whenever you create or edit a workbook, certain personal information may be added to the file automatically. You can use Document Inspector to remove this information before sharing a workbook with others.

Because some changes may be permanent, it's a good idea to save an additional copy of your workbook before using the Document Inspector to remove information.

To use Document Inspector:

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
  2. From the Info pane, click Check for Issues, then select Inspect Document from the drop-down menu.
    Clicking Inspect Document
  3. You may be prompted to save your file before running Document Inspector.
  4. Document Inspector will appear. Check or uncheck boxes, depending on the content you want to review, then click Inspect. In our example, we'll leave everything selected.
    Inspecting the workbook
  5. The inspection results will appear. In our example, we can see that our workbook contains comments and some personal information, so we'll click Remove All on both items to remove this information from the workbook.
    Removing personal information from the workbook
  6. When you're done, click Close.
    Closing the Document Inspector

Protecting your workbook

By default, anyone with access to your workbook will be able to open, copy, and edit its content unless you protect it. There are many different ways to protect a workbook, depending on your needs.

To protect your workbook:

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
  2. From the Info pane, click the Protect Workbook command.
  3. In the drop-down menu, choose the option that best suits your needs. In our example, we'll select Mark as Final. Marking your workbook as final is a good way to discourage others from editing the workbook, while the other options give you even more control if needed.
    Selecting Mark as Final
  4. A dialog box will appear, prompting you to save. Click OK.
    Clicking OK to save the workbook
  5. Another dialog box will appear. Click OK.
    Clicking OK
  6. The workbook will be marked as final.
    A workbook marked as final

Marking a workbook as final will not prevent others from editing it. If you want to prevent people from editing it, you can use the Restrict Access option instead.


  1. Open our practice workbook.
  2. Use Document Inspector to check the workbook and remove anything it finds.
  3. Protect the workbook by Marking As Final.
  4. When you're finished, your workbook should look something like this:

    Inspecting and Protecting