How to Lock Cells in Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular software solutions available today because it’s both user-friendly and accessible for casual users while still providing many advanced options for power users. One helpful feature is the ability to lock and protect cells. Whether you want to lock specific cells or protect a whole sheet, this feature safeguards your work from accidental or intentional editing. You can also allow certain portions of the document to remain editable for maximum convenience.
Locking Features Available in Excel
There are several methods available in Excel to help you lock specific cells, ranges, and worksheets for security and convenience.
By default, Excel will lock all of the cells in your worksheet when you add password protection. Choosing to lock specific cells in Excel requires following these steps:
- Select the cells you need to lock
- Go to the Home Tab and select Format
- On the Format Cells pop-up window, click Lock Cell in the drop-down menu
You can also lock formula cells to prevent any changes that might result in breakage. There are several unique steps to completing this process:
- Highlight all of the cells in the worksheet by pressing Control + A on the keyboard
- Right-click on the cells to access the drop-down menu and select Format Cells, or press Control + 1
- In the format cells dialog box, select Protection
- On the Protection Tab, untick the Locked option
- Select all of the cells in the worksheet with Control + A
- Navigate to the Home tab and choose Find and Select
- On the drop-down menu, select Go To Special
- In the Go To Special pop-up window, click Formulas
- Excel will automatically select all of the Formulas present in your worksheet
- Navigate back to the Protection Tab and tick the Locked check box
It’s important to note that locking cells will have no effect until you actually lock the whole worksheet.
You can use these simple steps to protect a worksheet in Excel:
- Right-click on the worksheet tab
- Select the Protect Sheet option from the drop-down menu
- Enter a secure password that you will remember
- Browse and select the user permissions you want to allow for the sheet and select OK
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