Microsoft Excel security, protect, encrypt, restrict access to spreadsheets, VBA code

Microsoft Excel security, protect, encrypt, restrict access to spreadsheets, VBA code

Microsoft Excel Compilers


Introduction

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Excel compilers are applications that convert your Microsoft Excel spreadsheets into executable (.exe) files with the main aim of providing formulae encryption and spreadsheet security.

There are a small number of independent third party vendors offering their own Excel compilers with different proprietary technology.

DataSafeXL has undertaken a thorough review/ comparison of all Microsoft Excel compilers distributed on the internet and you can purchase the full report with our findings by emailing us.


Findings

In summary we have arrived at the following findings in our report:

  • 1. All Excel compilers did not perform as expected with regards to large models containing thousands of formulae and extensive use of VBA code. In particular crashes when opening/closing and saving the compilers and even permanent loss of information were quite common.

  • 2. All Excel compilers have faced compatibility issues with different Microsoft Excel application versions, Windows operating systems, language environments and processor architectures (32-bit/64-bit).

  • 3. Use of VBA code within the compiled spreadsheets was disappointing complex operations resulted in the compiled file to hang up or cause the Microsoft Excel application to crash.

Most of the Excel compilers had their own inherent limitations such as:

  • - Users not being able to enter new formulae in cells of the compiled spreadsheets.

  • - Inserting/deleting rows and new sheets as well as sorting data and using array formulae were prohibited.

  • - Runtime files were needed to be installed on client's machine to run and calculate the compiled spreadsheets.

  • - Complex spreadsheets containing thousands of formulae didn't calculate properly as compiled (.exe) files.

Conclusion

DataSafeXL's view is that the use of Excel compilers to distribute Microsoft Excel files to external clients is prohibiting as their demerits (outlined aboved) outweigh their merits.

In addition, a determined user will always be able to reverse engineer the compiled file and obtain access to the spreadsheet data.

You can contact DataSafeXL for a free consultation regarding your project's security needs.