Lock cells to protect them

Your boss wanted you to protect a workbook, but she also wanted to be able to change a few cells after you were done. So, before you password protected the workbook (or a worksheet), you unlocked some cells. Now your boss is done, so you can lock the cells. Here's how.

  1. Select the cells you want to lock.

  2. Click Home, then click the Format Cell dialog box launcher (the arrow to the right of Alignment in the ribbon).

The Format Cells dialog box launcher

  1. Click the Protection tab, select the Locked checkbox, and then click OK.

  2. Click Review > Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook and reapply protection.


    • If you try these steps on a workbook or worksheet you haven't protected, you'll see the cells are already locked. That may not make sense at first, but what it means is the cells are ready to be locked when you protect the workbook or worksheet.

    • It's a best practice to unlock any cells that you may want to change before you protect a worksheet or a workbook, but you can also unlock them after you apply protection. To do that, you remove protection by removing the password.

    • In addition to protecting workbooks and worksheets, you can also and protect formulas.

Applies To: Excel 2013

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