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Protect Data in Excel Step 1

How to Lock Cells in Excel


Lock Cells in Excel

Lock Cells in Excel

© Ted French

Protecting data from change in Excel is a two step process.

  1. Step one involves locking/unlocking specific cells in your worksheet.

  2. Step two involves applying the Protect Sheet option. Until step 2 is completed, all data is vulnerable to change.

This tutorial cover step one: How to Lock/Unlock specific cells.

Lock/Unlock Cells in Excel

By default, all cells in an Excel spreadsheet are locked. This makes it very easy to protect all data in a single worksheet or in a workbook simply by applying the Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook option.

Unlocking specific cells permits changes to be made to these cells after the protect sheet/workbook option has been applied.

Often certain areas of a worksheet are unlocked so that new data can be added. Cells containing formulas, functions, or other important data are kept locked so that once the protect sheet/workbook option has been applied, these cells cannot be changed.

Example: Unlock Cells in Excel

  1. Enter the following data into cells A1 to D1: 123, 135, 147, 130.

  2. Drag select cells A1 and B1 to highlight them.

  3. Click on the Home tab.

  4. Choose the Format option on the ribbon to open the drop down list.

  5. Click on Lock Cell option at the bottom of the list.

  6. The Lock Cell option works like an ON/OFF button. Since all cells are initially locked in the worksheet, clicking on the option has the affect of Unlocking the highlighted cells A1 and B1.

Step 1 is complete. To finish the process we next need to apply the Protect Sheet option covered in step 2.

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