Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Using a Protected Worksheet.

Using a Protected Worksheet

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 8, 2020)

When you or another user is working in a protected worksheet, there is nothing that immediately draws attention to the fact that any protection is in place. Instead, you can look through a worksheet and see any information it contains. You can also see the cell contents (including formulas) of any cell whose contents were not explicitly hidden.

Differences start to show up when using the tools that Excel makes available on the various ribbon tabs. If a worksheet is protected, certain tools are no longer available. For instance, the cells, columns, or rows in the worksheet cannot be modified or deleted.

The biggest usage differences are evident when you try to change the contents of any cells which are locked. In this instance, Excel displays a dialog box indicating that the worksheet cannot be changed without first unlocking it. If the user still wants to make changes, he or she has no choice at that point other than unlocking the worksheet, if possible.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10282) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using a Protected Worksheet.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Hiding Macros

Need to hide some macros in your workbook? There are three ways you can do it, as covered in this discussion.

Discover More

Changing Dialog Box Pull-Down List Item Order

When selecting options within menus, Word frequently displays additional options in dialog boxes. While customizing the ...

Discover More

Calculating an ISBN Check Digit

ISBNs are used to uniquely identify books. You may need to know if an ISBN is valid or not, which involves calculating ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Unlocking a Worksheet with an Unknown Password

It is not unusual, in a corporate world, to be handed a worksheet whose source you don't know. If that worksheet is ...

Discover More

Locking a Worksheet Automatically

The protection features built into Excel can help you to make sure that only things are changeable that you want changed. ...

Discover More

Automatically Protecting After Input

Do you want user-entered data to be immediately protected so that it cannot be changed? This can be done relatively ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.