How To Protect Sheet And Lock Cells In Ms Excel

Protect Sheet in


Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications

 It is a software program created by Microsoft that uses spreadsheets to organize numbers and data with formulas and functions. Excel analysis is ubiquitous around the world and used by businesses of all sizes to perform financial analysis


Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program. That means it’s used to create grids of text, numbers and formulas specifying calculations. That’s extremely valuable for many businesses, which use it to record expenditures and income, plan budgets, chart data and succinctly present fiscal results.

 It is a spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. With Office 365, you are able to download the application to your hard drive and will also have access to the online version. The online version gives you the capability to share and collaborate with others on your files in real-time.

Spreadsheets present tables of values arranged in rows and columns that can be manipulated mathematically using both basic and complex arithmetic operations and functions. The program can work on multiple platforms, like Windows, macOS, smartphones, and tablets.

What can you do with Microsoft Excel?

  • Import, export, and convert Excel, .csv, .txt and .ods formatted data.
  • Use editing formula to perform calculations on your data, and use formatting to create your own style.
  • Chat in real time with others who are editing your spreadsheet while using the online version.
  • Create charts with your data.
  • Embed a spreadsheet — or individual sheets of your spreadsheet — on your blog or website

Features of MS Excel

Various editing and formatting can be done on an Excel spreadsheet. Discussed below are the various features of MS Excel. 

The image below shows the composition of features in MS Excel:

Features of MS Excel
  • Home
    • Comprises options like font size, font styles, font colour, background colour, alignment, formatting options and styles, insertion and deletion of cells and editing options
  • Insert
    • Comprises options like table format and style, inserting images and figures, adding graphs, charts and sparklines, header and footer option, equation and symbols
  • Page Layout
    • Themes, orientation and page setup options are available under the page layout option
  • Formulas
    • Since tables with a large amount of data can be created in MS excel, under this feature, you can add formulas to your table and get quicker solutions 
  • Data
    • Adding external data (from the web), filtering options and data tools are available under this category
  • Review
    • Proofreading can be done for an excel sheet (like spell check) in the review category and a reader can add comments in this part 
  • View
    • Different views in which we want the spreadsheet to be displayed can be edited here. Options to zoom in and out and pane arrangement are available under this category

How To Protect Sheet And Lock Cells In Ms Excel

Suppose that your boss wants you to protect an entire workbook, but also wants to be able to change a few cells after you enable protection on the workbook. Before you enabled password protection, you had unlocked some cells in the workbook. Now that your boss is done with the workbook, you can lock these cells.

Follow these steps to lock cells in a worksheet:

  1. Select the cells you want to lock.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Alignment group, click the small arrow to open the Format Cells popup window.
  3. On the Protection tab, select the Locked check box, and then click OK to close the popup.Note: If you try these steps on a workbook or worksheet you haven’t protected, you’ll see the cells are already locked. This means that the cells are ready to be locked when you protect the workbook or worksheet.
  4. On the Review tab in the ribbon, in the Changes group, select either Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook, and then reapply protection. See Protect a worksheet or Protect a workbook.Tip: It’s a best practice to unlock any cells that you may want to change before you protect a worksheet or a workbook, but you can also unlock them after you apply protection. To remove protection, simply remove the password.

How do I protect a sheet in Excel?How to lock all the cells in an Excel worksheet

  1. Navigate to the Review tab.
  2. Click Protect Sheet. In the Protect Sheet window, enter a password that’s required to unprotect the sheet (optional) and any of the actions you want to allow users.
  3. Click OK to protect the sheet.

Enable worksheet protection

Worksheet protection is a two-step process: the first step is to unlock cells that others can edit, and then you can protect the worksheet with or without a password.

Step 1: Unlock any cells that needs to be editable

  1. In your Excel file, select the worksheet tab that you want to protect.
  2. Select the cells that others can edit.Tip: You can select multiple, non-contiguous cells by pressing Ctrl+Left-Click.
  3. Right-click anywhere in the sheet and select Format Cells (or use Ctrl+1, or Command+1 on the Mac), and then go to the Protection tab and clear Locked.Protection tab in the Format Cells dialog box

Step 2: Protect the worksheet

Next, select the actions that users should be allowed to take on the sheet, such as insert or delete columns or rows, edit objects, sort, or use AutoFilter, to name a few. Additionally, you can also specify a password to lock your worksheet. A password prevents other people from removing the worksheet protection—it needs to be entered to unprotect the sheet.

Given below are the steps to protect your sheet.

  1. On the Review tab, click Protect Sheet.The Changes group on the Review tab
  2. In the Allow all users of this worksheet to list, select the elements you want people to be able to change.The Protect Sheet dialog boxOptionAllows users toSelect locked cellsMove the pointer to cells for which the Locked box is checked on the Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box. By default, users are allowed to select locked cells.Select unlocked cellsMove the pointer to cells for which the Locked box is unchecked on the Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box. By default, users can select unlocked cells, and they can press the TAB key to move between the unlocked cells on a protected worksheet.Format cellsChange any of the options in the Format Cells or Conditional Formatting dialog boxes. If you applied conditional formatting before you protected the worksheet, the formatting continues to change when a user enters a value that satisfies a different condition.Format columnsUse any of the column formatting commands, including changing column width or hiding columns (Home tab, Cells group, Format button).Format rowsUse any of the row formatting commands, including changing row height or hiding rows (Home tab, Cells group, Format button).Insert columnsInsert columns.Insert rowsInsert rows.Insert hyperlinksInsert new hyperlinks, even in unlocked cells.Delete columnsDelete columns.Note: If Delete columns is protected and Insert columns is not protected, a user can insert columns but cannot delete them.Delete rowsDelete rows.Note: If Delete rows is protected and Insert rows is not protected, a user can insert rows but cannot delete them.SortUse any commands to sort data (Data tab, Sort & Filter group).Note: Users can’t sort ranges that contain locked cells on a protected worksheet, regardless of this setting.Use AutoFilterUse the drop-down arrows to change the filter on ranges when AutoFilters are applied.Note: Users cannot apply or remove AutoFilter on a protected worksheet, regardless of this setting.Use PivotTable reportsFormat, change the layout, refresh, or otherwise modify PivotTable reports, or create new reports.Edit objectsDoing any of the following:
    • Make changes to graphic objects including maps, embedded charts, shapes, text boxes, and controls that you did not unlock before you protected the worksheet. For example, if a worksheet has a button that runs a macro, you can click the button to run the macro, but you cannot delete the button.
    • Make any changes, such as formatting, to an embedded chart. The chart continues to be updated when you change its source data.
    • Add or edit notes.Edit scenariosView scenarios that you have hidden, making changes to scenarios that you have prevented changes to, and deleting these scenarios. Users can change the values in the changing cells, if the cells are not protected, and add new scenarios.
  3. Optionally, enter a password in the Password to unprotect sheet box and click OK. Reenter the password in the Confirm Password dialog box and click OK.Important: 
    • Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don’t mix these elements. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A passphrase that uses 14 or more characters is better.
    • It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it.

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