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How to lock cells in Google Sheets?

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  • 5 min read

Keeping your spreadsheets safe from accidental edits is crucial, especially when collaborating with others. Google Sheets offers a handy feature called Protect Sheets and Ranges that lets you lock specific cells or entire sheets to prevent unwanted modifications.

This article discusses the benefits of locking cells and the steps just to show a warning and give editing permissions to yourself or select users. You can watch the video below or continue reading the article.

Also read: How to remove duplicates in Google Sheets?


Why lock cells?

Before starting the process, it’s important to understand why you might want to lock cells in your Google Sheets:

  • Prevent accidental edits: Protect important data from being accidentally modified.
  • Maintain data integrity: Ensure that only specific users can modify certain cells, keeping data accurate and reliable.
  • Simplify collaboration: Allow multiple users to work on the same sheet without risking key data being altered.

Show a warning but allow editing for Locked Cells

If you’re collaborating on a document with your team and want to prevent your cells from being changed, you can set it up so that users get a warning before they make any edits. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Select a single or range of cells and click on the Data tab.

Step 2: In the dropdown menu, click on the Protect sheets and ranges option.

Alternate step: To reach the Protected sheets and range menu you can select the cell or range of cells and right-click on it, in the dropdown menu, hover over the View more cell actions option and then in the submenu click on the Protect range option.

Step 3: Enter a description for the locked cells, we chose ‘Widgets’. After that click on the Set permissions button.

Step 4: Choose the Show a warning when editing this range option and then click on the Done button.

Step 5: On the right side, you can see the Locked Cells in the Protected sheets and ranges along with their editing permissions.

Step 6: If any user tries to edit these cells they will get a warning as shown in the picture below.


Lock cells and give editing permission to only yourself or select users

If you and your team are working in a Google Sheet, giving editing permissions to specific users is a good idea. This will help you assign tasks, manage your project more effectively, and prevent others from accidentally deleting important work. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Select a single or range of cells and click on the Data tab.

Step 2: In the dropdown menu, click on the Protect sheets and ranges option.

Alternate step: To reach the Protected sheets and range menu you can select the cell or range of cells and right-click on it, in the dropdown menu, hover over the View more cell actions option and then in the submenu click on the Protect range option.

Step 3: Enter a description for the locked cells, we chose ‘Widgets’. After that click on the Set permissions button.

Step 4: Choose Restrict who can edit this range which is usually selected by default. The Only you option is selected by default, so if you want to give editing permissions to yourself only then click on the Done button and the cells will be locked for everybody except you.

If you want to select the users for editing permissions then click on the dropdown menu and follow the steps below.

Step 5: In the menu, click on the Custom option.

Step 6: In the Add editors box, enter the name of the users you want to give the editing permission and then click on the Done button.

Step 7: In the pop-up box, it will show you the names of users you have allowed, to confirm your action tap on the Share button.

Locking cells in Google Sheets is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your data management and collaboration experience. By following these steps, you can ensure that important formulas and data in your Google Sheets remain secure from accidental edits, promoting better collaboration and data integrity.

Also read: How to use Vlookup in Google Sheets?

Akash Singh

Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here: singhakash95@pm.me

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