Lock Cells in Excel

Microsoft Excel gives you an option to lock cells to guard them against any unwanted or unplanned editing. When you choose to protect a worksheet in Excel, all cells go locked by default, which means it can’t be edited by any one now.

In addition to this, if you need to lock only specific cells in a worksheet, you can do so using this amazing function. For this, you will have to unlock all the cells first, then lock only particular cells and ranges before protecting the worksheet.

 Along with this, the function also gives you an option to enable specific users to edit your protected worksheet.

Let’s understand this function by the example given below.

Here are steps to protect cells in the Excel 2010

Step 1

To enable Protect Sheet, first go to Review Menu of your spread sheet, then click on Protect Sheet Command.

How To Excel Lock Cells 1

As soon as we click on Protect Sheet Command, Excel pop ups a dialog box called Protect Sheet dialog box. In this box, you can choose various options that you want to be available when the worksheet protection is enabled. Even if you do not choose any of these options, Excel itself chooses the Protect Worksheet and Contents of Locked Cells check box by default.

Step 2

Choose any of the check boxes listed in the Allow All Users of This Worksheet To list box that you wish to be functional when the worksheet protection is operational. These options can be any of the options given in the list such as Format Cells or Insert Columns

 The first two check boxes i.e. ‘Locked Cells’ and ‘ Unlocked Cells’ are by default selected. However, you can deselect either or both of the check boxes as per your requirement.

Step 3

Protect your sheet by entering a password in Password to Unprotected Sheet column.

Step 4

Now you need to confirm your password that can be easily done by entering the exact same password in Confirm Password Dialog Box. After entering your password, click on ‘Ok’ button.

 When you want to remove worksheet protection, click on Unprotect Sheet button available in the Changes group on the Review tab

Unlocking of Cells

As in the beginning, we said you can protect your worksheet’s cell partially, which means you can protect changes in specific areas of the worksheet as per your requirement and let other cells open for editing.

 You always do not need to protect all cells of the worksheet. For instance, in a budget worksheet, you may need to make changes in cells where you enter the amount, but the rest of file you may want to be protected so that you do not remove a title or formula accidentally you implemented in the worksheet.

To unlock protected cells in a worksheet, follow the steps given below.

  • To unlock protected sheet first, click on the Unprotected Sheet button located on the Review tab. Type your password, if prompted.
  • Select the cells you want to open for edit in the protected worksheet.
  •  Now press Ctrl+1. It will open format cells dialog box. Here you have to click on the protection tab. See the following image:
  • Now click on Locked check box given on Protection tab and remove its check mark.
  • Now your specific cells are unlocked and rest of the worksheet is still protected.
  • In short, Lock Cell in Excel helps you to lock all cells and specific cells in a worksheet as per your need.