Lock cells to protect them in Excel 2016 for Mac

To prevent a user from accidentally or deliberately changing, moving, or deleting important data, you can lock cells and protect them. Locking cells takes two steps: adding the Lock formatting to the cells, and then turning on protection of the sheet.

To lock cells

  1. Select the cells that you want to lock.

  2. On the Format menu, click Cells, or press COMMAND + 1.

  3. Click the Protection tab, and then make sure that the Locked check box is selected.

    Note: By default, all cells have the Locked formatting unless you previously turned it off.

  4. If any cells should be unlocked, select them. Press COMMAND + 1. Then click to clear the Locked check box so that it isn't selected.

  5. On the Review tab, click Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook. Type a password for the sheet or workbook, and then retype the password under Verify.

    Note: The password is optional. If you do not supply a password, any user can unprotect the sheet and change what was protected. If you do enter a password, make sure that you choose a password that is easy to remember, or write it down and keep it in a safe place. If you lose the password, you can't access the protected parts on the sheet.

  6. If you don't want people to select locked cells, click to clear the Select locked cells check box.

  7. If you want people to be able to select and fill out unlocked cells, click to select Select unlocked cells.

  8. Before you click OK to finish, you might want people to do other things to the locked cells, like select them or format them. If so, under Allow users of this sheet to, choose the elements that you want people to be able to select or change.

  9. Click OK.

To unlock cells

  1. You may need to temporarily turn off protection so that you can unlock cells. On the Review tab, click Unprotect Sheet or Unprotect Workbook. Then type the password.

  2. Select the cells that you want to unlock.

  3. Press COMMAND + 1. Then click to clear the Locked check box so that it is not selected.

  4. If there are other cells that still need to be locked, on the Review tab, click Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook. Then type a password for the sheet, and verify it by typing it again.

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