In an age when passwords are required to be complex in order to be unbreakable by hackers, having credentials stored in a place where they can be accessed easily is a must. Most people still trust sticky notes, while others simply put their login information into different files without paying attention to proper organization. And you might expect, the result of this is nothing short of pure chaos.
That’s why many people decide to create a password spreadsheet or, better yet, download a password template from the internet, and organizing passwords all of a sudden becomes easier and smarter.
Password Spreadsheets 101
Although downloading a spreadsheet from the internet is the most convenient way, nobody can stop you from creating your own password worksheet. All you really need is a few columns to enter in the most important data – such as website, username, password, and any additional information.
However, in the case of a custom password spreadsheet it’s important to include some sort of differentiation between columns, rows and credential types for legibility but, thankfully, changing the color of the cell, using a different font or leaving empty spaces between columns or rows does that job perfectly.
Still, it’s highly recommended to use a downloaded template since the tedious job of creating all those columns and the formatting of the document is already done for you. To make things better most online templates are free of charge, not to mention that they can always be edited and printed.
Free Password Spreadsheet Templates
A simple Google search for “free password spreadsheets” will have virtually endless results, so we narrowed the list down to two truly remarkable free templates we found after thorough research.
This first one from Vertex42 is pretty basic, since only websites, usernames, passwords, email addresses, and notes are included. However, if you’re not in need of anything else, the Vertex42 template is a perfect choice, especially since it is available in a convenient PDF format for printing purposes as well.
Andrea Dekker’s work, on the other hand, is the Rolls Royce of password spreadsheet templates: not only is it perfectly organized in almost the same manner as a true password manager – separating credit card, website and utility accounts – but it is also very visually appealing too.
Paid Password Spreadsheet Templates
Free password worksheet templates are more than enough to satisfy the majority of your needs for storing credentials effectively, but it’s easy to give in to temptation and pay for a spreadsheet that provides certain extras.
Take TheSpreadsheetGuru’s $15 template, for example, which looks like a regular password spreadsheet but adds in customizable account icons, a password generator and the option to toggle the sheet’s protection on and off. Although there is a free version of this worksheet, this is limited to only 20 accounts.
Smartsheet’s Password Tracker template contains exactly what you’d expect from the company’s professional spreadsheets: aside from the obligatory information regarding credentials, the password’s reset date can be recorded, each password can be defined as active or inactive, and there are a number of the collaborative features to use as well. This includes attaching files, getting alerts and reminders, and sharing the entire file with colleagues within Smartsheet’s secure environment.
Convenience vs Security
Despite the fact that using spreadsheets is convenient and doesn’t require any major understanding of IT software, this form of password management is far from being the most secure method of storing sensitive data. Granted, Excel spreadsheets can be secured via password protection, but the passwords for such a file will also need to be stored somewhere as well.
Google Docs might seem like another good solution for having your passwords to hand across your different devices. It’s only too bad, then, that everything could end up in the hands of wrongdoers should your Google account information get leaked or you are tricked into sharing access to your documents that hold this sensitive password data.
However, security is never an issue with a password manager. These solutions have plenty of added benefits, but the convenient desktop or mobile vaults store all kinds of data in an encrypted format, allowing for safe storage of everything from passwords and credit card info to software licenses and receipts.
The option to share this data within a safe environment, the addition of browser extensions to instantly import necessary information are also useful extras. And to top it all off, you don’t have to wave goodbye to your spreadsheets either: they can be imported into the password manager by simply saving them as .CSV files.
Best Password Managers of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|