How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets to Protect Your Data


By Janice

Update on

how to lock cells in google sheets

In this article, we intend to explain how to lock cells in google sheets.

If you are a novice Google Sheet user, the tips mentioned in this article would be really handy. So, read this article through to the end.


As a Google Sheets user, you know how important it is to maintain proper security measures. The data on the spreadsheets you are using can be really sensitive. A single change of data can result in a devastating outcome.

Some of the data changes are accidental, and some are on purpose. Since Google Sheets are meant to be shared with multiple people, data deletion can occur either way.

Regardless of that, you must ensure the protection of your data. Luckily, Google Spreadsheets has a feature to lock the data so no one can edit it.

In other words, you can lock cells in Google Sheets. If you are interested in learning how to lock cells in google sheets, read on.

Also, learn the easy ways to save images from Google Docs.

Why Should You Learn How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets?

If you need to control the overall access to Google Spreadsheets, you can consider using the permissions.

By granting permission or not, you can decide who can edit or view the spreadsheet. Your Google Sheets cannot be viewed unless you share them with the intended person. Those who can view them cannot edit them unless you grant permission.

This tutorial intends to teach you how to control the spreadsheet’s editing. Before we learn how to lock cells in google sheets, however, let’s see the requirement of doing so.

In general, many Google Sheets come with input cells. In this case, you set variables and other formulas on cells. The spreadsheet’s output depends solely on the calculations placed on those cells.

So, single deletion of data on a cell can change the whole output of the spreadsheet. Therefore, it is understandable the importance of protecting the cells.

You should be careful if you intend to share the Google Sheet with many users. You can take the necessary precautions to lock the key cells of the sheet and keep the formulas unharmed.

Such an approach will ensure that cells aren’t intentionally or unintentionally modified. Considering this fact, you should understand that it is inevitable to lock the cells before sharing the spreadsheet.

Here are fixes on how to delete a header in Google Docs, or freeze a row in Google sheets.

How to Protect Your Google Sheets

In this article section, let’s get an idea about the essential techniques used to protect cells. There are two main methods to protect the cells.

Depending on your requirement, you can either protect the cells or ranges. This can be useful when you need to let someone use your spreadsheet but don’t want modifications.

If not, you can even protect the entire spreadsheet as well. Such an approach would let other users just see the spreadsheet. Also, you can let them edit only the specific cells.

Besides, we will unlock the power of Google Sheets by learning how to highlight duplicates in Google Sheets. Improve your productivity with our comprehensive guide.

Now Let’s Take a Look at How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets

Sometimes, you will only have to look for a way to lock some of the cells. Instead of locking the entire spreadsheet, this can be handy to protect the cells with key information. Mentioned below is how to do it.

As the first step, you should identify and highlight the cell or cells you need to protect. You should go to the “Data” option on the menu bar. Select the option “Protected Sheets and Ranges” from the appearing drop-down menu.

protected cell range

As a smart spreadsheet user, it is better to name the protected ranges in the sidebar. In the sidebar, you can set a name easily, and it will give you an idea about the cells. Click on the option called “Set Permissions.”

Set Permissions on Google Sheets

Then, you should choose the restriction options. You should go to “Restrict who can edit this range” to do this. Then, select the option “Only you” so no one can edit them. However, if you need to let someone else edit the cells, just go to the custom option. You can then define who can edit the cells.

Restrict who can edit this range -> Only you
How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets

Warning Signs Before Editing Cells

You can add a warning sign if you don’t want to edit some of the cells. The warning sign will appear before someone edit the cells.

So, the editing option will remain unchanged, but a warning will appear beforehand. As a result, the user will edit the cells with better responsibility.

To add a warning sign to edit the cells, you should follow the previous process up to editing permissions. When you reach the editing permissions, select the option “Show a warning.” Then, press the option “Done.”

show warning

As a result, when the cells are edited, the respective person will notice a warning. However, you can edit the cells even if you see the warning. This approach is called soft restriction because it doesn’t prevent you from editing the cells.

It is a warning that says you should edit it only when necessary. You can use this option to make only the experts edit the cells with responsibility.

warning for editing

Protecting Google Sheets

Now you have a good idea about protecting the individual cells in your Google Sheets. Well, it is better to look at how to protect the whole sheet.

With this approach, you can protect the entire spreadsheet and leave some cells to be edited. This is exactly the opposite of what we explained in the previous part.

To protect the entire Google Sheet, you should go to the Data menu on the menu bar. Then, you should go to the “Protected sheets and ranges” menu.

In this process, you don’t need to select any cells before setting restrictions. To do this, you should click Sheet and select the sheet you intend to protect.

Protected sheets and ranges

Then, you applied the permissions to protect the entire sheet. No one can change the data unless you allow them to do so. If someone tries to edit the protected cells, they will be notified with an error message.

There was a problem

Adding Exceptions

Now that the entire sheet is protected, you can let users edit some of the cells if needed. To do this, you should first protect the entire sheet and then define the cells that can be edited.

To do that, you should go to the “Data” menu and select “Protected Sheets & Ranges.” Then, from the available options, you should select “Except Certain Cells.”

You can add several ranges simply by selecting the “Add another range” option. Once you are done, you can click on “Set Permissions.”


FAQ 1: Can I lock specific cells and allow editing in others? Yes, Google Sheets provides the flexibility to lock specific cells or ranges while allowing editing in other areas. You can define different protection settings for various cells based on your needs.

FAQ 2: Will locked cells affect formulas and functions? Locked cells do not inherently affect formulas and functions. However, ensure that you choose the appropriate protection settings to prevent unwanted changes to formula cells or referenced ranges.

FAQ 3: Can I protect sheets with a password? Google Sheets does not offer native password protection for sheets. However, you can use other methods like protecting ranges or using Google Drive’s file-level security options to enhance overall sheet security.

FAQ 4: Is it possible to lock cells in Google Sheets on mobile devices? Yes, you can lock cells in Google Sheets using mobile devices. The same cell locking methods mentioned in this article can be applied through the Google Sheets mobile app.

FAQ 5: How can I remove cell protection in Google Sheets? To remove cell protection in Google Sheets, you can use the “Protect Sheets” feature, data validation, conditional formatting, or modify the Apps Script code to remove or adjust the locking rules accordingly.


As you may know, spreadsheets play a vital part in your official work daily. So, learning how to deal with an online tool like Google Sheets is vital for any person.

Essential features like how to lock cells in Google Sheets and protect an online document are handy, for instance. We hope this article helped you in some way or another. Good luck!


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