Protect a Worksheet from Editing

You can protect individual worksheets from editing. When you protect a worksheet, Excel locks all of the cells from editing. Protecting your worksheet means that no one can edit, reformat, or delete the content.

Click on the “Review” tab on the main Excel ribbon.

switch to the review tab

Click “Protect Sheet.”

click protect sheet button

Enter the password you would like to use to unlock the sheet in the future.

type your password

Select the permissions you would like users to have for the worksheet after it is locked. For example, you might want to allow people to format, but not delete, rows and columns.

choose permissions

Click “OK” when you’re done selecting permissions.

click OK

Re-enter the password you made to confirm that you remember it and then click “OK.”

confirm your password

If you need to remove that protection, head to the “Review” tab and click the “Unprotect Sheet” button.

on review tab, click unprotect sheet

Type your password and then click “OK.”

type your password

Your sheet is now unprotected. Note that the protection is entirely removed and that you’ll need to protect the sheet again if you want.

Protect Specific Cells From Editing

Sometimes, you may only want to protect specific cells from editing in Microsoft Excel. For example, you might have an important formula or instructions that you want to keep safe. Whatever the reason, you can easily lock only certain cells in Microsoft Excel.

Start by selecting the cells you do not want to be locked. It might seem counterintuitive, but hey, that’s Office for you.

select cells you want unlocked

Now, right-click on the selected cells and choose the “Format Cells” command.

right-click selected cells and choose format cells

In the Format Cells window, switch to the “Protection” tab.

switch to the protection tab

Untick the “Locked” checkbox.

Untick the Locked checkbox.

And then click “OK.”

click ok

Now that you’ve selected the cells for which you want to allow editing, you can lock the rest of the worksheet by following the instructions in the previous section.

Note that you can lock a worksheet first and then select the cells you want to unlock, but Excel can be a little flaky about that. This method of selecting the cells you want to stay unlocked and then locking the sheet works better.