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How to Lock Cells in Excel

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Have you encountered a scenario where you do not want to lock the whole sheet, but just a couple of cells in your Excel worksheet?

Locking an entire sheet is straightforward, but locking separate cells is a different story.

Let us say, we have this single cell that we want to lock in our Excel worksheet:

Here is the game plan:

  • All of the cells are locked by default, however locked cells have no effect until you have protected the worksheet
  • So we will unlock all of the cells
  • Then select the single target cell and lock it
  • After that, we will protect the worksheet and our target cell will now be locked!


I explain how How to Lock Cells in Excel below:


STEP 1: Select all of the cells by clicking the upper left corner:


STEP 2: Right click any cell and select Format Cells:


STEP 3: Ensure Locked is unticked.  This will unlock our entire sheet.  Click OK.


STEP 4: Right click on our target cell and select Format Cells:


STEP 5: Ensure Locked is ticked this time. This will lock our target cell. Click OK.


STEP 6: Now it is time to protect our Excel sheet and see the locking in action!

Right-click on the Worksheet Name and select Protect Sheet (or go to the ribbon menu and select Review > Protect Sheet)


STEP 7: Type in a password and Click OK.  In our example, I typed in excel as the password.


STEP 8: Retype the password and Click OK.  


STEP 9: If you try editing your target cell now, Excel will not allow you to…And you are able to edit the other cells just fine!


How to Lock Cells in Excel


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  • Juan July 28, 2017, 2:08 PM

    Thank you very much John for this fantastic tutorial, your explanation is very clear and straightforward!

    • John Michaloudis John Michaloudis July 29, 2017, 4:15 PM

      Thanks for your feedback Juan and Im sure that you will get better at Excel very quickly!