How to protect a spreadsheet in Excel

There are times when you don’t want other people to be able to modify your Excel spreadsheets.

Either because it’s vital that its content doesn’t change, or because you’re afraid that someone will alter it out of carelessness. Maybe it’s an invoice, a budget, or a project in which you have to make sure that nobody changes anything until it reaches its destination, or fulfils its function.

Excel offers numerous options for protecting the contents of spreadsheets. We can lock specific cells, part or all of the spreadsheet.

It is important to understand that we are referring to spreadsheets and not to the files themselves, as that is another procedure. In this case, we protect them so that they are not modified, but anyone can read or copy them.

Let’s see how to protect a spreadsheet in Excel.

Launch Excel and open an already created spreadsheet. But you can also do the test with a blank spreadsheet.

The process of allowing only certain cells in a document to be modified has a peculiar function. First, you have to choose the modifiable cells, unlock them, and then protect the whole document.

Therefore, press the CTRL key and, without releasing it, click on the cells that are going to be modifiable, to select them. They will turn blue:

Remember, these are the modifiable cells. The rest will be blocked.

On one of these selected cells click with the right mouse button and choose the order Format Cells. Touch the Protect tab, and uncheck the Locked option:

This way you will have unlocked the modifiable cells.

Now we go to the Review tab of the Excel ribbon of options (in some versions of Excel it is called Tools) and we choose to Protect and Protect Sheet:

A window will open. Here we can select a lot of options that can be protected (or not). The main action is to uncheck the Select locked cells box. This way they will not be able to modify the locked cells, which are all but the ones we unlocked at the beginning:

If you wish, you can add a password to protect the Spreadsheet. If you don’t, anyone can enter this menu and protect or unprotect what they want.

Check the rest of the options because you will find others very useful. For example, you can prevent rows and columns from being deleted, or more rows from being inserted.

Click on OK and check that everything has been activated correctly. You’ve already learned how to protect a spreadsheet in Excel.

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