Locking cells lets you prevent unwanted changes inside a spreadsheet. It only takes a few clicks. Let’s learn how to lock cells in Microsoft Excel.
How to Lock Cells in Excel
In Excel, cells default to locked status. This only becomes noticeable when you’re working inside a protected worksheet or workbook. Protected files prevent changes from being made, and enable password protection.
If you plan to lock cells in a certain range, it’s best to first unlock the full worksheet. To do this, click on the Select All button, which is the arrow between column label A and row label 1. Right-click in the selected area, and click Format Cells.
On the Protection tab, uncheck the Locked toggle and press OK. All cells are now unlocked.
To lock cells, select only the cells that you wish to lock. Then, repeat a similar process. Right-click, choose Format Cells again, and go to the Protection tab on the menu. This time, click Locked, then OK. You’ve now locked the selected cells.
Remember, locking cells in an unprotected worksheet won’t have any effect. Any user with access to the spreadsheet can make unauthorized changes.
Luckily, protecting the worksheet is quite easy. To do it, find the Review tab on Excel’s ribbon. Over on the right side, you’ll see two options: Protect Sheet and Protect Workbook. If you want to protect only the worksheet you have open, choose the first option. To protect the full workbook, choose the second option. Here, we’ll click Protect Sheet.
A popup menu will appear with a variety of options. You can control user permissions, allowing only specific changes to be made. There’s also an option to add an optional password that users will input prior to accessing the file.
As you can see, locking cells helps you control changes inside an Excel spreadsheet.