How to encrypt an Excel file in Office 2003


By default Excel 2003 encrypts password protected excel files using trivial security.
In order to use RSA or AES encryption, you must have Office 2003 service pack 1 or better and even then, only 128 bit encryption is supported. We need to expressly set the encryption type of the file before we save it.


  1. Open the      Excel file to be encrypted
  2. From the      tools menu select ‘.’Options’
  1. In the resulting window, select the ‘Security’ tab
  1. Enter a password in the ‘Password to Open:’ box
  2. Click the ‘Advanced…’ button
  1. In the resulting window select the Microsoft      Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider
  2. Verify that the key length is 128 and click OK
  1. Click OK
  1. You will be prompted to rekey the password for the file
  1. Enter the password and click OK
  1. Save the file

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