Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 8: Security
Protecting the Workbook Content
Some workbooks may contain sensitive information or intellectual property that you do not want to
disclose to various users. Excel, SharePoint, and Excel Services have a number of features designed to
protect the content of a workbook. Unfortunately, not all of the features work seamlessly across Excel client
and Excel Services.
In this section, you learn about the various ways that you can protect the workbook content with Excel
Services, and also about the features that are not supported by Excel Services.
View Only Permission
SharePoint distinguishes between Open permissions and View Only permissions to a workbook. When
you have the right to open a workbook, you can download it from the document library and view it in
the client. When you have only the right to view a workbook, you can view it in Excel Services, but you
can’t download it to Excel.
The View Only permission is designed to protect the workbook model while allowing you to view the
calculated result of the workbook. You don’t see the formulas or the data sources to which the workbook
connects, but you do see the calculated data. When a workbook is protected with View Only
permission, you cannot open the workbook in Excel from the Excel Web Access (EWA) Web Part or perform a
GetWorkbook call with Excel web services. You can, however, open Snapshot because they save only the
data, not the model.
Excel Services provides the Viewers group out-of-the box. You can use this group to give only View
permission to the relevant users. When it is important to protect the content of the workbook, you can give
the Open permission to a few trusted authors, and the View Only permission to all the users that you
want to see the workbook data.
You can also use the View Only permission when you want to ensure that there is only one version of
the workbook (the one published to the document library). This way, users cannot download it and have
their own versions of the workbook.
View Only permission works only with workbooks in SharePoint document libraries. Workbooks in
UNC or HTTP locations have only the Open permission, because this is a feature specific to SharePoint.
It is one of the reasons that SharePoint document libraries are the preferred storage location for Excel
You can limit which workbook items can be published to the server. You can choose between publishing
the whole workbook, a set of worksheets, or specific objects in the workbook. These objects can be
named ranges, PivotTables, and/or charts. Excel Services displays only those published objects, hiding
all other areas of the workbook.
Even though Excel Services displays only the published items, the workbook still contains all the other
parts of the workbook. A user who has permissions to open the workbook sees the parts that were not