Sometimes when doing complex operations in Excel, you don’t need to edit a cell, especially when doing a lot of formulas or processes in your spreadsheet. For that kind of situation, you can protect a cell from being edited by locking them. So, to prevent moving or deleting something you don’t want, here are two basic methods to lock cells in Excel.
Before starting, you must know that Excel locks the whole worksheet when you open a new file. You can verify this by selecting a cell of a group of cells, then right-clicking and picking the “Format cells” option just below “Insert Comment” at the end of the context menu.
Note: You can enable this option by its shortcut hitting Ctrl+1.
Afterward, you’ll get another context window in which you can click the “Protection” tab (which is the last one) and notice that the option “Locked” is already checked by default. So if you want to disable a cell so as not to edit it at all, you first need to unlock all of them to lock a specific range.
Maybe at this point, you’re wondering why you need to unlock everything to lock something again. Well, it’s because locking and blocking cells have no effect until the worksheet is protected. Thus, you can do the following to start:
Warning: you must be sure about your password because there is no system to restore lost or forgotten passwords.
Remember that you can edit only the unlocked cells as you consider better. However, for locked cells, you must enable the specific actions you need in the Protect Sheet dialog box, which is the same you will have to unprotect the cell.
There’s a way in which you can lock all cells containing formulas so that people cannot delete or adjust them in case of sharing your spreadsheet with others:
Note: To be more specific about the formula you need to lock, you must pick “Go to Special” in the context menu of the “Find & Select” command. Then you can choose the Formulas button and select the formulas that contain numbers, text, errors, etc.
Note: You can also check the “Hidden” option if you don’t want someone to see the formula.
Perfect! Now, to adjust or delete the formula cells, you should click the Unprotect sheet command and enter the password if you have one.