How To Lock Cells In Google Sheets

As an Amazon Associate and affiliate of other programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you ever worked on a shared spreadsheet, then you may know how important it is to lock/ protect cells in it. When you share a spreadsheet with others without locking cells/ sheets, then they can mess up the data in the sheets knowingly or unknowingly. To prevent your spreadsheets from manipulation it is necessary to protect it before sharing it with others.

In this article, we will share with you the tutorial on how you can lock cells in Google Sheets. Along with that, you will also get to know about some other methods that you can implement to completely protect your Sheet from editing in the Google Sheets.

Recommended: How To Add Drop Down List In Google Sheets

Why Bother To Lock Cells In Google Sheets?

As long as you are working on a private spreadsheet on Google Sheets, the need to lock cells in it is insignificant. If anyone has to view your spreadsheet, they need to know your Gmail id and password unless you share it with them. Since your Google Sheets account is linked to your Gmail account.

However, when you have to share a spreadsheet with others, you cannot take the risk of sharing it without locking the cells. Locking cells in Google Sheets allow you to prevent others from editing data in those specific cells. Moreover, in Google Sheets, you get the option to choose who else can edit the locked cell in the Sheet other than you. So overall, if you work on a shared spreadsheet, locking cells is a necessity in order to save things from getting messed up.

Lock Cells From Editing In Google Sheets

1. Open the desired spreadsheet and go to the desired sheet in Google Sheets. Now select/highlight all the cells that you want to lock and right-click on it. You can also select the complete row or an entire column if required. To do so, just click on the row number(1, 2, 3 and so on) or column name (A, B, C, D, etc.)

2. As soon as you do that, an options menu will appear. On the menu select Protect Range.

Protect cells from editing in Google Sheets

3. Now enter a description for selected cells if you want and click on Set Permissions. The range of the cells will be automatically selected based on the cells, rows or columns you selected in step 1.

set permission for editing

4. Next, provide the input for “Restrict who can edit this range“. Here you can select Only you if you want to lock the cells for everyone except yourself. Next click on Done to save the changes.

lock cells in Google Sheets

In case you want to allow certain users to edit the cells while locking it for others then choose Custom and check the box while keeping it unchecked for others in front of their email address. Then click on Done. With this, the cells will be locked for everyone except you and the selected users.

Range editing permissions in Google Sheets

5. Now when you share this protected spreadsheet with others, they will get the following message when they try to edit the protected cells.

locked cells can't be edited

Note: You can also lock cells by going to Data > Protected sheets and ranges from the toolbar menu at the top.

With this, you have protected cells in Google Spreadsheet. But, what if one would want to protect an entire sheet instead of few cells in a Sheet? You may ask. Well, for that you need to continue to read this article.

Lock Sheet In Google Sheets

A shared spreadsheet may have more than one sheet. In that case, you may require to restrict others from editing certain sheets in a spreadsheet. For that, you can follow the steps shown in the method below.

Protect The Entire Sheet

When you lock an entire sheet on the spreadsheet, others will not be able to open it unless you give them permission.

1. Open the Spreadsheet with multiple sheets as this method is not available for a spreadsheet with a single sheet.

2. On the bottom of the spreadsheet, right-click on the sheet which you want to protect. Now select Protect sheet. 

Protect entire sheet

3. Next, tap on Set Permissions. 

set permission for sheets

Now just like the previous method, give the required editing permissions like, if you want to edit the locked cells only by yourself then choose Only you. Or you want to give permission to someone else to edit the protected cells then choose the Custom option. Once you have given the editing permission click on Done. 

With this, you will see a lock icon on the sheet at the bottom, which means that your sheet is protected.

Lock Sheet Except For Certain Cells

With the above method, you can lock the entire sheet. However, if you want to lock a sheet except for certain cells, then you can follow the steps as shown here.

1. Follow steps 1 and 2 of the previous method. Now, on the Protected sheets & ranges tab, check the box saying Except certain cells.

2. Enter the range of the cells you do not want to lock. For that, you can manually enter the cell range or click on the data range box to select the cell range.

prevent sheet from editing except certain cells

3.  Once the cell range is selected, click on OK.

lock sheet in Google Sheets

After that, select Set Permissions and follow the similar editing permission steps to lock the sheet as shown in the previous two methods.

How To See And Unlock Protected Cells/Sheets

To save yourself from locking the same cells or sheets, again and again, or in order to unlock the locked ranges, you need to find out the protected cells/sheets first. To do that you can follow the steps as below.

1. Select an empty cell and right-click on it and select Protect range. Here, all the locked cells of that particular sheet will appear on the right side of the screen. You can also click on Show all protected ranges to see all the locked sheets and cells from the spreadsheet.

see Locked cells in Google Sheets

2. To unlock a locked range or sheet, select the desired cells or sheet and click on the bin icon next to the description box. A confirmation pop up will appear, select Remove to unlock the cells/sheet.

unlock locked cells and sheets in Google Sheets

With this, you can find about the protected range and sheets and also unlock them if you want.

Hide Sheet In Google Sheets

Apart from locking sheets, you can also hide them. However, this method does not protect your Sheets as anyone can still discover them from the View option at the toolbar in the Google sheets. To hide sheets you can follow the steps as below.

Note: If you hide a locked Sheet then others won’t be able to unhide it without your permission.

1. Open the spreadsheet, now select a sheet that you wish to hide. Click on the drop-down arrow of that sheet and select Hide sheet.

hide sheets in Google Sheets

2. As soon as you do that, the sheet will be hidden from the spreadsheet.

To unhide the sheet go to View > Hidden Sheets > [sheet name] (which was hidden)

Recommended: How To Change Case To Lower Or Upper In Google Sheets


With this tutorial, you can protect all your important data in a shared spreadsheet by locking cells in it. Other than that, you can also lock the entire sheet or sheet except for certain cells. Now, share all your spreadsheets without the concerns of them getting manipulated by someone.

Leave a Comment