Protecting data from change in Excel is a two step process.
- Step one involves locking/unlocking specific cells in your worksheet.
- 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
- Enter the following data into cells A1 to D1: 123, 135, 147, 130.
- Drag select cells A1 and B1 to highlight them.
- Click on the Home tab.
- Choose the Format option on the ribbon to open the drop down list.
- Click on Lock Cell option at the bottom of the list.
- 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.