How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Locking cells in Google Sheets can be crucial when you’re sharing your spreadsheet with others and want to prevent any accidental edits to specific data. The process is simple and can be done in a few clicks. After reading this paragraph, you should have a basic understanding of how to lock cells in your Google Sheets document.

Step by Step Tutorial on Locking Cells in Google Sheets

Before we jump into the steps, know that locking cells is a feature that protects your data. You can lock cells that contain formulas, important data, or any information you don’t want to be changed. Let’s go through the process.

Step 1: Open your Google Sheet

Open the Google Sheets document you want to edit.

This step is pretty straightforward. Make sure you’re logged into your Google account and have the relevant document open.

Step 2: Highlight the Cells to Lock

Click and drag to highlight the cells you want to protect.

Remember, you can select multiple cells by holding down the shift key while clicking on the cells you wish to lock.

Step 3: Right Click and Select ‘Protect Range’

Right-click on the highlighted cells and choose ‘Protect range’ from the drop-down menu.

If you’re using a device that doesn’t support right-clicking, you can find the ‘Protect range’ option in the ‘Data’ menu at the top of your screen.

Step 4: Set Permissions

In the ‘Protected sheets and ranges’ sidebar, set permissions for who can edit the selected range.

You can choose to restrict editing to only yourself or to specific people. This step ensures that only authorized users can make changes to the locked cells.

Step 5: Save the Protected Range

Click on ‘Done’ to save the protected range.

After this step, the cells you’ve selected will be locked, and a lock icon will appear on them to indicate they are protected.

After completing these steps, the selected cells will be locked, and only people who have been granted permission can edit them. This feature prevents tampering and maintains the integrity of your data.

Tips for Locking Cells in Google Sheets

  • To quickly lock an entire sheet, you can right-click on the sheet tab and select ‘Protect sheet.’
  • If you need to edit a protected cell, you can always go back to the ‘Protected sheets and ranges’ sidebar and adjust the permissions or remove the lock.
  • Remember that locking cells does not prevent viewers from seeing the data; it only prevents editing. If you want to hide data, consider using other features like ‘Hide sheet.’
  • When working with collaborators, communicate which cells or ranges you’re locking to avoid confusion.
  • Use descriptive names for your protected ranges in the ‘Protected sheets and ranges’ sidebar for easy management.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I unlock a cell in Google Sheets?

To unlock a cell, go back to the ‘Protected sheets and ranges’ sidebar, click on the range you want to unlock, and then click ‘Delete.’

Can I lock cells in Google Sheets on mobile?

Yes, you can lock cells in the Google Sheets app on your mobile device by accessing the ‘Protect range’ option in the sheet menu.

Is it possible to lock cells for specific users?

Yes, when setting permissions, you can specify which users can edit the protected cells.

Can I lock cells that are already populated with data?

Absolutely, locking cells can be done regardless of whether they already contain data or not.

Will locking cells affect the performance of my Google Sheets document?

No, locking cells will not impact the performance of your document. It only changes the editing permissions.


  1. Open your Google Sheet
  2. Highlight the Cells to Lock
  3. Right Click and Select ‘Protect Range’
  4. Set Permissions
  5. Save the Protected Range


Locking cells in Google Sheets is a powerful feature that’s vital for maintaining data integrity, especially when collaborating with others. It ensures that your important data remains untampered with and only editable by authorized individuals. While it may seem like a small feature, it can make a significant difference in the way you manage your data and share your spreadsheets. Remember, the power of Google Sheets lies not just in its ability to crunch numbers but also in its collaborative features and the control it offers over your data. So, go ahead and protect your cells; your data will thank you for it!

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