Locking cells in a spreadsheet

Excel 365 2013 2010 2007 2003
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 unlock.

   2.   Do one of the following:

  • Right-click on the selection and select Format Cells... on the popup menu:
    Format cells in popup menu Excel 2016
  • On the Home tab, in the Cells group, click Format, and then click Format Cells...:
    Cells group in Excel 2016
  • Click Ctrl+Shift+F.

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

Unlocked cells in Excel 2016

   4.   To protect the entire spreadsheet to have the lock feature protect the cells, on the Review tab, in the Changes group, click Protect Sheet:

Protect Sheet in Excel 2016

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

Protect Sheet in Excel 2016

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.

See also this tip in French: Comment verrouiller des cellules dans une feuille de calcul.

Please, disable AdBlock and reload the page to continue

Today, 30% of our visitors use Ad-Block to block ads.We understand your pain with ads, but without ads, we won't be able to provide you with free content soon. If you need our content for work or study, please support our efforts and disable AdBlock for our site. As you will see, we have a lot of helpful information to share.

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information you’ve provided to them or they’ve collected from your use of their services.

Learn more