Protecting spreadsheet elements

Excel 2016 2013 2010 2003
Working with large and complex Excel workbooks, especially when entering large amounts of data, no one is protected from accidental changes in formulas, formats and other spreadsheet elements. But you can protect yourself from too much work on finding and eliminating such errors by protecting the individual spreadsheet elements.

To protect an Excel spreadsheet elements, follow these steps:

   1.   To unlock any cells or ranges that you want other users to be able to change, see Locking Cells in a Spreadsheet.

   2.   To hide any formulas that you don't want to be visible, do the following:

   2.1.   In the spreadsheet, select the cells that contain the formulas that you want to hide.

   2.2.   On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click Format, and then click Format Cells...:

Cells in Excel 2007

   2.3.   On the Protection tab, select the Hidden check box, and then click OK:

Protection in Excel 2007

   3.   To unlock any graphic objects (such as pictures, clip art, shapes, or Smart Art graphics) that you want users to be able to change, do the following:

   3.1.   Hold down Ctrl and click each graphic object that you want to unlock.

This displays the Picture Tools or Drawing Tools, adding the Format tab:

Picture Tools in Excel 2007

You can also use the Go To command to quickly select all of the graphic objects in a spreadsheet. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find & Select, and then click Go To.

Go To in Excel 2007

Click Special, and then click Objects.

Objects in Excel 2007

   3.2.   On the Format tab, in the Size group, click the Dialog Box Launcher next to Size.

Size in Excel 2007

   3.3.   On the Properties tab, clear the Locked check box, and if present, clear the Lock text check box.

Properties in Excel 2007

Note: You don't need to unlock buttons or controls for users to be able to click and use them. You can unlock embedded charts, text boxes, and other objects created with the drawing tools that you want users to be able to modify.

   4.   On the Review tab, in the Changes group, click Protect Sheet.

Protect Sheet button in Excel 2007

   5.   In the Allow all users of this worksheet to list, select the elements that you want users to be able to change (see Protect Excel spreadsheet options).

Protect Sheet in Excel 2007

   6.   In the Password to unprotect sheet box, type a password for the sheet, click OK, and then retype the password to confirm it.

Note: Password is optional. If you don't supply a password, then any user can unprotect the sheet and change the protected elements. Make sure that you choose a password that is easy to remember, because if you lose the password, you cannot gain access to the protected elements on the spreadsheet.

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