Much like how Microsoft Excel can be used for accounting or payroll purposes, the same can be done with Google Sheets. As such, sometimes the information contained in our Google Sheet files can contain sensitive and private information, things that you’d rather not have anyone see or access.
If you use Google Sheets and would like to protect the contents of your files, there are several methods that you can employ if you’d like to secure them.
Protecting Your Google Sheets (Official Method)
At the moment, Google does not have the feature that allows users to protect files using passwords. Instead, the next best thing that you can do is “hide” the file from view or change the permissions on the file that limits what people can do with it.
To Hide Sheets From View
- At the bottom of your Google Sheets file, select the sheet you want to hide
- Click the downward facing arrow key icon on the sheet tab
- Select Hide sheet
- The sheet in question should no longer be displayed at the bottom of the page
- Repeat the process above to hide additional sheets
We want to point out that this only hides sheets from non-editors of the file. This means that if you have given other users permission to edit the Sheets document, they can actually uncover the hidden Sheet in question through the method mentioned below, which you can also use to unhide it.
To Unhide Sheets From View
- Go to View > Hidden Sheets
- Click on the sheets you want to unhide
- Repeat the process above to unhide additional sheets
Altering User Permissions
Say you’ve been collaborating with some of your colleagues on a Google Sheets document, and that person decided to quit the team or leave your company and you don’t want to continue granting them access to the document, here’s how you can either limit their access or revoke it completely.
- Click the Share button at the top right corner of the screen
- Click Advanced at the bottom right corner of the popup window
- This will pull up a list of people that you’ve shared the document with
- Click the dropdown menu to the right of the user’s name to alter their permissions
- Can edit – This will give users the ability to edit the entire document, including unhiding/hiding sheets from view
- Can comment – This permission will let users comment on the entire document, but they cannot make changes to it
- Can view – This is the most basic permission that lets users view the document, but they cannot make changes or leave comments
- If you want to revoke access completely, click the X button to the right side of the user’s name.
We would like to point out that this level of protection is not as secure as password-protecting a file. If someone somehow managed to gain access to your Google account, then all these methods mentioned above would be meaningless. In which case, you might be better of learning how to pick a strong and secure password for your Google account.
However, if you do collaborate often with others, then the methods described above should offer up some degree of protection.