Could you protect your IP within Excel?

Recently a client came to me and wanted to create a spreadsheet which they then wants to send out to a thousand people.

And the obvious question is, how can he or she protect their IP?

The short answer is Excel does not really give you lots of protection.

What do I mean?

Well, there are tools on the Internet to help you to break through any protections you put on your Excel spreadsheet.

I know an additional trick to get into a protected worksheet within minutes!
I’m not sharing this publicly (obviously).

There are ways where people with a little bit more IT knowledge than average can really “hack” into your Excel spreadsheet.

So, you want to protect it for the honest user, but you can’t protect your IP from the dishonest user.

If someone wants to break into your Excel spreadsheet, they can and no protection, no guarding around this will prevent this from happening.

So what to do?

Make it as usable for your honest users.

Put protections in where you think they should only be able to access certain cells and maybe not see the whole workbook. Therefore you can hide sheets and protect the workbook.

For the usual Excel user, this will be enough of a protection.

And for someone with a little bit more knowledge about IT, a little bit more knowledge about Excel, these barriers won’t stop them from finding your calculations, finding your train of thoughts and maybe even copying your IP.

Again, make it easy and usable for the honest user and don’t care about those who want to break in – because eventually they will, if they want to.

I wrote a white paper on this whole topic.

If you want a copy of this, please go to my website or send me an email and I’m more than happy to send my report to you.

“Jürgen brings German precision and design to all of his solutions, and you can have confidence that the solution he develops is accurate and commercially robust. He has excellent communication skills and can work easily with you and your team.”
Ron Wood, Founder and Director of Pricing Insight
Use Your Systems – Trust Your Numbers
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  2. You have an existing Excel – solution that is lacking functionality. This is exactly where I helped hundreds of clients with their Excel spreadsheets and workflow.
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