Before we jump into the how to’s of locking cells in Excel, it’s important to understand why you’d want to lock cells in Excel.
Locking cells is a feature in Excel that helps the owner to protect their data. By locking cells and protecting the worksheet, unauthorized users are unable to move, change, delete or manipulate the data in any way.
With this feature you can choose to lock all cells in a worksheet or specific cells, depending on your need.
Say you’re sharing an important document with your coworkers. You’ve entered all of the correct Excel formulas and you’d like them to add data to specific cells, but want to ensure the formulas aren’t manipulated without your knowing.
That’s where locking cells comes in. You can unlock the cells that you want your colleagues to have access to edit, all while making sure your formulas aren’t modified.
That being said, let me start walking you through how to lock cells in Excel so you can protect your data.
How to lock all cells in a worksheet
By default, all cells in a new worksheet are locked and ready to be protected, but I’d recommend double-checking to ensure that all cells are locked and your data is protected.
To do this, navigate to the ‘Home’ tab on the top banner and click ‘Format’ on the righthand side.
Once you’ve clicked ‘Format,’ a drop-down menu will appear and you’ll click ‘Format Cells.’
Click the ‘Protection’ tab. The little box next to ‘Locked’ should be blue with a checkmark. If this is the case, your cells are locked and you’re ready to protect the worksheet. Click ‘OK.’
Next, you’ll navigate to the ‘Review’ tab (on the top banner) and click ‘Protect Sheet.’
Here you’ll be prompted to enter a password that you’ll later use if you’d like to unprotect a worksheet.
Enter a password, verify it, and select any actions that you want to allow users. Click ‘OK.’
Now your worksheet is locked and ALL cells are uneditable. If you’d like to edit cells once again, you’ll need to unprotect your worksheet, which I’ll cover in a bit.
Jordan Wahl is a former content manager at G2. She holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She loves anything that puts her in her creative space. including writing, art, and music.