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All Straightforward Ways to Protect Cells in Excel

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You have put a lot of effort into your spreadsheet, and maybe you want to help ensure nobody who sees it changes the cells unintentionally, so you'll need to learn how to protect cells in an Excel spreadsheet by locking them.

Fortunately, Microsoft Excel 2016 and previous versions allow you to lock or safeguard cells on Windows 10 to prevent data from being changed. You may lock everything or particular cells in a worksheet, disabling some sections of the spreadsheet to be altered. And here is how to protect cells in Excel.

How To Protect Certain Cells In Excel

There may be instances when you wish to prevent specific cells from just being altered while still allowing customers to edit changes to certain other cells in a worksheet. In this scenario, you may enable updating of unit pricing and stocks amounts in an item list but not item IDs, titles, or specifications. 

As previously stated, when you safeguard the sheet, all cells are locked by default. Nevertheless, in the layout characteristics of a cell, you may indicate whether it should be locked or accessible.

Follow the steps given below to protect certain cells in excel from getting altered: 

Step 1:  First, you need to select all the cells that you don’t wish to protect and those cells will be the only cells that can be altered even after enabling protection on the entire spreadsheet. 

Step 2: After selecting specific cells right click on the entire selection and then click on format cells after that click on the enables protection tab. 

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Step 3: Next, you need to uncheck the “locked” option that by default is always checked and then tap OK. 

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Step 4: After that go directly to the review option and enable the protect sheet option and then tap on OK to enable protection for your spreadsheet. In case you didn’t unlock specific cells under that format option ( under the above-mentioned step ) then it will surely be protected, and other unlocked or unprotected cells will be easy to alter or change. 

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Note: You need to keep one thing in mind that locking and unlocking specific cells won’t be enabled if you don’t complete step 4 of protecting your sheet that is mentioned above. In case if you want to instantly lock or unlock cells that are not right next to each other then you can use the keyboard shortcut key. Here you need to select the specific cells or group of cells and use the format cells option to lock or unlock it. After that, you just need to click the F4 button on your keyboard and the rest will be repeated. 

Also read: How to Merge Cells in Excel Effortlessly

How To Protect Cells In Excel Without Protecting Sheet 

Now that’s very easy to do because here you just need to lock the cells and that can be done without locking the entire spreadsheet. Just follow the steps given below to know more about how to protect cells in excel without protecting sheets

Step 1: First, you need to select all the cells that you wish to lock. 

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Step 2: Next tap on the home tab of your excel sheet and find the format button. 

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Step 3: Now tap on the ‘format’ button and then tap on “lock cell”. Now all your selected cells are locked and the spreadsheet can still be edited but excluding the selected cells. 

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How To Protect Specific Cells In Excel

Now that’s also pretty simple and easy to go as to how to protect cells in excel if you follow all the steps carefully. Given below are the steps that will explain to you in detail how to protect specific cells in excel along with all the shortcut keys to lock them. 

Step 1: First, you need to select all the cells that you want to lock and then tap on the shortcut Ctrl+shift+F (Windows users only) Ctrl+1 (Mac users only) if you want to directly open the format cells box. After that just tap on the “Protection” tab. 

Step 2: Next, just tap on the locked box and tap on the OK button and then just tap on the finish to get it all done. It’s that simple! 

Note: Now, these shortcuts help you lock cells in bulk as well as allow you to enable protection for specific cells in excel.

Also read: How to Email Large Files

Can you lock cells in Excel? 

Certainly, by implementing a few easy procedures, you can lock cells in Excel. Whenever you lock a cell in Excel, you prevent other people from making modifications to your spreadsheets. It's very useful while carrying out a task with a large number of team members.

Assume you're the marketing director and you've requested each channel leader (email, website, social) to provide quarterly figures for a meeting scheduled. You don't want anyone removing pertinent data, altering formulae, or altering conditional statements without first speaking with relevant parties. This procedure guarantees that only users approved before may modify the cell, saving you time in the future.


For its powerful computational capabilities, Excel is generally used to create financial documents. Accounting offices and teams frequently utilise the programme since it allows accountants to view sums, averages, and totals instantly. They can quickly make sense of their company's data using Excel. 

It eliminates the need to invest days calculating cells or duplicating and rewriting performance figures. Excel usually provides a shortcut or fast fix that expedites the procedure.

You should refer to the different tips and steps that are mentioned in the above article if you want to know how to protect cells in excel or even if some specific cells remain safe then you can go through it. This will not only guide you to lock cells but will also teach you some shortcuts to do it in the easiest and fastest way at any time. 

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