Locking cells in a spreadsheet

Excel 365 2016 2013 2010 2007
Sometimes you might want to lock cells in your Excel spreadsheet that contain formulas and functions or data. Thus, the person doing the data entry will not accidentally overwrite or delete the spreadsheet formulas and functions or your data.

Locking cells in an Excel spreadsheet is a two-step process. By default all cells are locked. You must first select and unlock the cells. Then, you must turn on protection on the entire spreadsheet for the "lock" to go into effect.

Follow these steps to unlock cells on a spreadsheet:

   1.   Select the cells in the spreadsheet that you want to lock.

   2.   Select Format -> Cells. The Format Cells dialog box appears. Click the Protection tab on the dialog box:

format cells Excel 2003

   3.   On the Protection tab, clear the Locked check box, and then click OK.

   4.   Now you must protect the entire spreadsheet to have the lock feature protect the cells that you selected. Select the Tools -> Protection -> Protect Sheet....

protect sheet Excel 2003

   5.   Enter a password if you want to require a password for "unprotecting" the spreadsheet.

password Excel 2003

See also Protect Excel spreadsheet options.

   6.   Click OK.

Note: You can easily move between unprotected cells on a locked sheet by pressing the Tab key.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.

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