How to Lock Cells in Excel

You may want certain cells in your Microsoft Excel worksheet to be protected from editing. You can easily lock these cells to prevent them from being overwritten, and you can lock all cells or specific cells. Let’s see how to lock cells in Excel using both methods.

Lock all cells

If you go this route, Excel locks all cells in your spreadsheet. However, locking cells has no effect until you protect the worksheet as well. Here’s how to do both.

Step 1: Select all the cells in your worksheet by pressing CTRL + A on your keyboard.

2nd step: Right-click on one of the cells, then click Format cells. You can also press CTRL + 1 on your keyboard to perform this step.

Right-click one of the selected cells and select Format Cells.

Step 3: In the window that appears, look under the protection to verify that all cells are locked by ensuring that the Locked option box is checked. Click on Okay.

Make sure the Locked option box is checked and press OK.

Step 4: With all cells selected, go to Review toolbar tab at the top. Then click on protective sheet.

Go to the Review tab on the toolbar at the top and click Protect Sheet.

Step 5: In the window that appears, enter a password to protect your spreadsheet in the blank space provided. All selected cells are now locked and protected.

Lock specific cells

You may want only certain cells to be locked on some of your projects. Here’s how to lock specific cells in your spreadsheet.

Step 1: If you have locked cells from previous lock attempts, you must unlock all cells first. Start by selecting all the cells by pressing CTRL + A on your keyboard.

2nd step: Right-click on one of the cells and click Format cellsor just press CTRL + 1 on your keyboard.

Step 3: In the window that appears, uncheck the box under the protection tab that says Locked. Click on Okay once you’ve done that.

Step 4: Select the cells you want to lock on your spreadsheet.

Select the cells you want to lock.

Step 5: Right-click on one of the cells and click Format cellsor just press CTRL + 1 on your keyboard.

Step 6: In the window that appears, check the box that says Locked under the protection tongue.

Step 7: The cells you selected are now locked but unprotected. Go to the Review tab in the toolbar at the top and select Protective sheet.

Step 8: In the window that appears, enter a password in the empty field provided. Now you have successfully locked and protected the cells you selected.

For more Excel tips, see our articles on password protecting an Excel file or converting a PDF to an Excel document.

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