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. ...

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