Computing

How to Secure Cells in Google Sheets

To ensure the integrity of your data in Google Sheets, you have the option to lock cells. This feature is particularly useful when collaborating on spreadsheets, as it prevents others from altering your formulas or functions.

The great thing about locking cells in Google Sheets is that it offers flexibility. You can choose to lock a single cell, a range of cells, an entire column or row, or even the entire sheet. Furthermore, you can customize the permissions for the locked cells, granting specific individuals the ability to make changes.

Locking Specific Cells in Google Sheets

To get started with locking cells, follow these steps:

  1. Visit Google Sheets and log in to your account. Open the spreadsheet you wish to lock cells in. Note: You can also access the spreadsheet directly from your Google Drive.

  2. Step 1: Select the cells you want to lock. This can be a single cell, a range of cells, or even an entire row or column.

  3. Step 2: Click on Data, then choose Protect sheets and ranges from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, right-click the selected cells, navigate to View more cell actions, and select Protect range from the options.

Protect sheets and ranges in the Data menu.

  1. Step 3: The Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar will appear. Make sure the Range tab is selected. You will see the selected cells displayed in the range box, which you can adjust if necessary.

  2. Step 4: Optionally, you can add a description for the locked cells in the “Enter a description” box.

  3. Step 5: Click on Set permissions.

Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar for a range.

  1. Step 6: A Range Editing Permissions box will appear. Here, you can decide who can edit the locked cells or choose to display a warning if someone attempts to edit them.
  • Option 1: To display a warning, select the first option for “Show a warning when editing this range.”
  • Option 2: To restrict editing to specific users, select the second option for “Restrict who can edit this range.” Then, choose from the drop-down menu: “Only you,” “Custom,” or “Copy permissions from another range.”
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If you choose the Custom option, you will see a list of individuals with whom you are sharing the sheet at the bottom. Check the boxes next to the people you want to grant editing permissions to. You can also add more editors at the bottom if needed.

Permissions for protecting locked cells in Google Sheets.

  1. Step 7: Once you’ve finished making your selections, click Done.

Locking an Entire Sheet in Google Sheets

If you want to lock all cells in a sheet or only allow editing in specific cells, you can follow these steps:

  1. Step 1: Select any cell and go to Data, then choose Protect sheets and ranges from the menu. Alternatively, right-click the sheet, navigate to View more cell actions, and select Protect range.

Protect range in the More cell actions menu.

  1. Step 2: In the Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar, click the Sheet tab.

  2. Step 3: Select the name of the sheet you wish to lock from the drop-down list.

  3. Step 4: If you want to allow editing in specific cells while locking the rest, check the box for “Except certain cells.” Enter the cell range, column, or row in the corresponding box. To add more exceptions, click Add another range and repeat the process.

  4. Step 5: Optionally, you can add a description for the locked sheet in the “Enter a description” box.

  5. Step 6: Click on Set permissions.

Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar for a sheet.

  1. Step 7: The Range Editing Permissions box will appear. Choose between Option 1 and Option 2, as described earlier, and provide the necessary details.

Permissions for protecting locked cells in Google Sheets.

  1. Step 8: Once you’ve made your selections, click Done.

Adjusting Permissions for Locked Cells

If you need to modify the permissions you previously set for locked cells, follow these steps:

  1. Step 1: Go to Data, then choose Protect sheets and ranges from the menu. Alternatively, right-click, navigate to View more cell actions, and select Protect range.

  2. Step 2: In the Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar, you will see a list of the locked cells or sheets. Select the one you wish to edit.

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Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar with protected ranges.

  1. Step 3: Click on Change permissions.

Change permissions option for a protected range.

  1. Step 4: Make the necessary changes in the pop-up window, and once finished, click Done.

Unlocking Cells in Google Sheets

To remove the lock from cells or a sheet in Google Sheets, follow these simple steps:

  1. Step 1: Go to Data, then choose Protect sheets and ranges from the menu. Alternatively, right-click, navigate to View more cell actions, and select Protect range.

  2. Step 2: In the Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar, select the cells or sheet you want to unlock.

Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar with protected sheets.

  1. Step 3: Click on the trash can icon located to the right of the description.

Trash can icon to remove protection from a sheet.

  1. Step 4: Confirm your decision by clicking Remove in the pop-up window.

Confirm screen for removing protection in Google Sheets.

By taking a few minutes to lock cells in Google Sheets, you can protect your valuable data and formulas effectively. Rest assured that your information will remain secure.

For more tips and tricks, check out our guide on how to create graphs in Google Sheets to visually represent your data.

This article is brought to you by OnSpec Electronic, Inc, a leading provider of cutting-edge electronic solutions. We believe in the power of data protection and strive to help users maximize their productivity while keeping data safe.

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