Hide And Protect Formulas

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. When I circulate my statistical Excel worksheet to users outside my company, I need to protect the underlying confidential formulas but also keep the worksheet easy for users to enter their data. Any ideas?

A. Try using Excel’s Protection ; it can hide underlying formulas and protect them from any attempted change.

Here’s how it works: Before you enable Protection be sure to format the affected cells (right-clicking opens the menu that includes Format Cells ) so they display their results—not the underlying formula—in the format of your choosing. Then, while still in Format Cells , click on the Protection tab, check Locked and Hidden , and click on OK (see screenshot below).

Now go to the Excel toolbar and click on Tools , Protection , Protect Sheet (see screenshot below). Make sure to place a check next to Protect worksheet and contents of locked cells . The defaults in the menu under Allow all users of this worksheet to: are Select locked cells and Select unlocked cells . Check any other options you want and enter a password, which appears as dots.

Be aware that if you fail to enter a password and click on OK , the cell is still hidden but anyone can reverse the protection by going through the above routine and clicking on Unprotect Sheet .

SPONSORED REPORT

Keeping client information safe in an age of scams and security threats

A look at the Dirty Dozen tax scams and ways to protect taxpayer information.

TECHNOLOGY Q&A

How to create maps in Excel 2016

Microsoft Excel 2016 has two new mapping capabilities. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, demonstrates how to make masterful 2D and 3D maps in Excel 2016.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS enforcement, a hot job, and audit value

The IRS’s 2016 Data Book, a “hot job” of particular interest at this time of year, and insight into how executive and audit committees view the insights from financial statement audits received attention recently. See how much you know with this short quiz.