Protecting Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 15, 2016)

1

Sometimes you may have a need to prevent changes to information in a particular worksheet in your workbook. For instance, you may want to send a worksheet to others for their review, but you don't want them changing the information or formulas in the worksheet.

Excel makes it very easy to protect one or more worksheets in any of your workbooks. You can do this by first specifying which cells in the worksheet should be protected, and then locking the worksheet.

Protection of your formulas or data is done on a cell-by-cell basis. This may seem odd, but it can be very handy. What it means is that you can protect all the cells in a worksheet, but leave the user input cells unprotected. When a user loads the worksheet, they can make changes to the user input values, see the calculations based on them, and get the information they need. The benefit to you is that you don't need to worry about users deleting information or changing formulas by mistake.

By default, cells are locked, pending your application of protection to the entire worksheet. What this means is that even though cells are locked, users can still change the cells unless you protect the worksheet, as described shortly.

If you want to change the condition of a particular cell so that it is not locked, you do so in this manner:

  1. Select the cell (or cells) you want to change.
  2. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Protection tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Protection Tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. Set the Locked check box to reflect how you want the selected cells treated when you protect the worksheet.
  6. Set the Hidden check box to indicate whether the formula in a cell should be hidden from view when the worksheet is protected.
  7. Click on OK.

Once you have specified how you want the individual cells treated, you still need to protect the worksheet as a whole by locking it. This step can be viewed as a way to "turn the key" in the locks you put in place for each cell.

You do this by selecting the Protection option from the Tools menu. This displays a submenu from which you should select the Protect Sheet option. The result is the Protect Sheet dialog box. At the top of the dialog box you specify what should be protected. You have three choices:

  • Contents. Enforces any protection you applied to individual cells, as described earlier.
  • Objects. Ensures the user cannot change placement or attributes of any graphics or other objects used in your worksheet.
  • Scenarios. Protects any scenario definitions you have created, as discussed in previous issues of ExcelTips.

At the bottom of the dialog box you can specify a password to be used for unlocking the worksheet. For maximum protection, you should use a password that is easy for you to remember, but would be difficult for others.

When you click your mouse on the OK button, what happens next depends on whether you specified a password. If you did not, the worksheet is immediately protected. If you did use a password you will see a dialog box asking you to again enter the password. This is a double-check to make sure you did not mistype the password the first time. When you click your mouse on OK in this dialog box, the worksheet is finally protected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1961) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing Limited Pages from a Range of Worksheets

Need to print just a few pages from a group of worksheets? The easiest way to handle the task may be through a macro, as ...

Discover More

Understanding and Using File Attributes

Every file has several attributes associated with it. These attributes can be turned on or off in a couple of ways and govern ...

Discover More

Finding Missing Fonts

When you open documents that were created a long time ago on a system far, far away (sounds almost epic, doesn't it?), you ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Unlocking a Worksheet with an Unknown Password

It is not unusual, in a corporate world, to be handed a worksheet whose source you don't know. If that worksheet is locked ...

Discover More

Hiding and Protecting Columns

Want to hide certain columns within a worksheet so the contents are not visible to others? The answer lies in formatting the ...

Discover More

Protecting a Single Worksheet

Excel allows you to protect your worksheets easily—and that includes if you need to protect only a single worksheet out ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 2?

2015-04-05 13:56:55

nayan vyas

how can i do it : I Want to protect a excel sheet but some cell or collom i dont want to protect. how can i????


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.