4.11 Using Sealed Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

This section covers the following topics:

4.11.1 About Sealed Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

The Oracle IRM solution for opening, editing, creating, resealing, and searching sealed documents is as applicable to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets as it is to other Microsoft Office documents. What you are able to do with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets is determined by the usual sealed document rights, such as Open, Edit, Seal, and Search. See "About Rights". Additionally, the Formulae right determines whether formulae (formulas) are revealed or concealed in sealed spreadsheets.

The ability to display content from one sealed workbook in the cells of another sealed workbook is supported. This is the facility in Microsoft Excel to set up a link between workbooks by copying data (using the Copy command on the Edit menu) from a cell in one workbook and then pasting it (using the Paste Special command on the Edit menu) into a cell in the other workbook.

Oracle IRM allows such links between workbooks only if both workbooks are sealed to the same context.


If the pasted content is derived from data in cells in the same document (for example, a chart created from nearby data cells), the pasted content will not show in the destination document.

Oracle IRM will prevent unauthorized access to data. This means that if a link is created to a sealed workbook from an unsealed one, or if the user of one sealed workbook is not authorized to see the content of a sealed workbook linked to it, the content of a linked cell will be shown as "#REF".

Just as with other types of document, you can use Oracle IRM fields (see "Working With Oracle IRM Fields and Watermarks") to help reinforce the confidential nature of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

4.11.2 Linking Sealed Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

Linking Microsoft Excel spreadsheets usually involves copying the contents of a cell in one spreadsheet and pasting it (using Paste Special) into the cell of another spreadsheet. This means that any changes made to the cell in the first spreadsheet will be reflected in the second spreadsheet.

However, to protect the cell content of sealed spreadsheets, there are restrictions on the use of Copy and Paste Special between separately opened Microsoft Excel workbooks: if you do not have copy rights (Copy or Copy To), the content will be pasted as fixed text, and not as text that will be updated when the source workbook changes.

4.11.3 Updating Links Between Previously Unsealed Spreadsheets


If you have existing unsealed spreadsheet files with links between them, seal all the files before updating the links between them. If you seal only the destination spreadsheet and then try to update the links to a pre-existing unsealed source, the links will be destroyed and will not be recoverable.


To open a sealed spreadsheet, you need the Open right. To seal a spreadsheet, you need the Seal right. To see formulas on a sealed spreadsheet, you need the Formulae right. See "About Rights".

Use the following procedure to update existing links in spreadsheets that were previously unsealed:

  1. Seal both the source and the destination spreadsheet files.

  2. Open the sealed destination spreadsheet file.

    You will see the Microsoft Excel message telling you that there are links to other data sources.

  3. Only if you have already sealed the source spreadsheet file, accept the option to update the links.

    You will see the Microsoft Excel message telling you that there are links that cannot be updated. (This is because the file extensions have been changed from .xls to .sxls.)

  4. Accept the option to edit the links.

    You will see a list of links with the status "Error: Source not found".

  5. Use the dialog's change source facility to search for the sealed source file (with a .sxls extension).

  6. If prompted to, log in to the sealed source file.

The links between the sealed spreadsheet files are re-established.