How to Lock Cells in Excel: The Ultimate Guide


Hello Challenger, welcome to the ultimate guide on how to lock cells in excel. Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool used by millions of people worldwide to manage and analyze data. Excel offers a range of features that enable users to customize and format their data according to their preferences. Locking cells in Excel is one of the most beneficial features available.

In this article, we will walk you through how to lock cells in Excel, step by step. We will also highlight the benefits of locking cells and how you can use this feature to streamline your data analysis processes. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of Locking Cells in Excel

Before we dive into learning how to lock cells in Excel, let us first examine the benefits of this feature. When you lock cells in Excel, you protect your data from being accidentally deleted, edited or modified by unauthorized persons. Locking cells also prevents users from altering the format of the sheet or even copying data from the locked part of the sheet.

Excel allows you to lock specific cells in a sheet while leaving the rest unlocked for editing. These locked cells can also be unlocked at any time by password or by removing the lock manually. By using this feature, you can ensure that your data remains protected, accurate and easily accessible.

So let’s explore how you can easily lock specific cells in Excel, and benefit from this powerful feature.

How to Lock Cells in Excel

Step 1: Select the Cells To Be Locked

The first step to locking cells in Excel is selecting the cells you want to lock. This can be done by clicking and dragging the cursor over the target cells. If you want to select multiple cells in different parts of the sheet, hold down the CTRL key while selecting each cell.

Step 2: Right Click & Choose Format Cells

Next, right-click on the selected cells and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the dropdown menu. A new window will appear. In the ‘Protection’ tab of the window, locate the checkbox labeled ‘Locked’ and tick it.

Step 3: Protect The Sheet

After ticking the ‘Locked’ checkbox, click ‘OK’ to save your settings. Now, you need to protect the sheet. This will prevent unauthorized users from making any changes to the locked cells. To do this, go to the ‘Review’ tab and click the ‘Protect Sheet’ button.

Step 4: Assign A Password

Another way to ensure the safety of your locked cells is by assigning a password to your sheet. To do this, click on the ‘Protect Sheet’ button and enter a password. Make sure to choose a strong password that only authorized users can remember. You can also specify what actions the user can and cannot do on the sheet.

Step 5: Unlocking Cells

If you need to unlock the cells at any time, simply select the cells and uncheck the ‘Locked’ checkbox in the ‘Format Cells’ menu as explained in Step 2 above. You can also unprotect the sheet by clicking the ‘Unprotect Sheet’ button in the ‘Review’ tab and entering the password if necessary.

Table: A Summary of How to Lock Cells in Excel

Step Procedure
Step 1 Select the cells to be locked.
Step 2 Right-click and choose ‘Format Cells’. Tick the ‘Locked’ checkbox.
Step 3 Protect the sheet by clicking on the ‘Review’ tab and selecting ‘Protect Sheet’.
Step 4 Assign a password if necessary.
Step 5 To unlock cells, uncheck the ‘Locked’ checkbox or unprotect the sheet.

Frequently Asked Questions About Locking Cells in Excel

1. Can I lock individual cells in a sheet?

Yes. You can select the individual cells you want to lock and follow the steps outlined above.

2. How do I unlock cells in a password-protected sheet?

Go to the ‘Review’ tab and click on the ‘Unprotect Sheet’ button. Enter the password when prompted.

3. How can I ensure that nobody copies data from a locked cell?

Locking cells prevents data editing or copying. To ensure nobody creates duplicates of your data, use the ‘Protect Sheet’ feature and assign a password. You can also use the ‘Protect Workbook’ feature to protect the entire workbook.

4. Can I lock cells in a shared workbook?

Yes. Follow the same steps as explained above.

5. Can I still edit a locked cell if I am the owner of the sheet?

Yes. As the owner, you can unlock the cells at any time by following the steps outlined above.

6. How do I allow other users to edit the unlocked cells in a shared workbook?

Go to the ‘Review’ tab, click on the ‘Share Workbook’ button, and select the ‘Allow changes by more than one user’ checkbox. This will enable other users to make changes to the unlocked cells while retaining integrity of the locked cells.

7. Can I lock cells based on a specific entry or formula?

Yes. You can use conditional formatting to lock cells that meet specific conditions. For example, you can lock cells containing negative values or those that contain certain keywords. Follow the formatting cells steps as outlined in Step 2, but choose the ‘Formula Is’ option instead of the ‘Locked’ checkbox.

8. Can I lock cells in an excel function?

No. You cannot lock cells within a function. However, you can use conditional formatting to ensure that only certain values are entered in the function.

9. How do I remove the password from the protected sheet?

Go to the ‘Review’ tab, click on the ‘Unprotect Sheet’ button, and enter the password. After that, go to ‘File’ > ‘Info’ > ‘Protect Workbook’ > ‘Encrypt with Password’. This will remove the password from your sheet.

10. Can I lock the entire sheet except for one cell?

Yes. Select the cells you want to lock, follow the steps outlined above to lock them, and then select the cells you want to leave unlocked. Go to the ‘Format Cells’ menu and untick the ‘Locked’ checkbox for the cells you want to leave unlocked.

11. How do I protect cells containing sensitive data?

You can protect cells containing sensitive data by locking them and assigning a password. Use a strong password that only authorized users can remember. You can also limit what actions the user can and cannot do on the sheet.

12. How do I unlock cells in a range or a column?

Select the range or column of cells you want to unlock, go to the ‘Format Cells’ menu, and untick the ‘Locked’ checkbox.

13. Can I use this feature in Google Sheets or other spreadsheet software?

Yes, other spreadsheet software offers similar features to lock cells. However, the methods may differ slightly. Check the documentation of your preferred spreadsheet software for instructions on how to lock cells.


Locking cells in Excel is a simple and effective method of protecting your data from unauthorized access, modifications, or deletions. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can quickly and easily lock cells in Excel, ensuring that your data remains secure and protected. Remember to assign a strong password and consider what actions you want users to be able to complete on the sheet. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering Excel and enhancing your data accuracy and security.

Thank you for reading this guide on how to lock cells in Excel. We hope you found it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below.

Closing Statement with Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the article or the information contained on this site for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be held liable for any loss or damage arising from loss of data, loss of profits or any other loss or damage of any kind, arising out of or in connection with, the use of this article.

Lastly, we do not offer any legal or professional advice. If you need legal or professional advice, please consult a qualified professional in your area. Thank you for understanding.