Microsoft Excel the widely and most commonly used spreadsheet application introduced a very interesting and useful feature in its 2003 version. This feature was protection of cells and the data in it. Earlier there was no such feature available and if you create a file and send it to anybody it could be easily modified by them and file could lose its purpose with incorrect data. In Excel 2003 the new concept of locking the file came into existence with which users can protect the entire worksheet or some specific cells of their choice so that nobody can make the changes in it. In this post I will discuss the steps of doing the same and protecting the cells. Please note that the steps given below are according to the interface of Excel 2007 and later.

Before you could make the cells un-editable you need to lock the cells so that protection works on them. Please note that protection feature of the worksheet works only on the locked cell. So you can protect the worksheet but if the cells are not locked then it is of no use.

Steps to lock the cells

Step1: open the worksheet whose cells you want to lock.

Step2: if you already have some cells locked then first unlock all the cells by following from Step3 else go to step7

Step3: press CTRL+A to select all the cells in the worksheet

Step4: right click anywhere on the selection and then select Format Cells

Step5: click on the Protection tab

Step6: uncheck the checkbox titled Locked and click on OK

Step7: click on any cell to deselect all the cells

Step8: select the cells you want to protect

Step9: right click on the selected cells and click on Format Cells

Step10: click on the Protection Tab and then put a check mark on the Locked check box

Step11: click on OK to close the Format Cells Window

Steps to enable protection on Locked Cells

Step1: click on the Home ribbon

Step2: click on the down arrow on the Format button which is towards the right on the ribbon

Step3: click on Protect Sheet option

Step4: in the small Protect Sheet Windows that pops up you will find that there are number of options available for you to chose from and set the level of protection

Step5: select the level of protection from the list of available check boxes and click on OK

Step6: enter the password which one should have in order to make the protected cells editable

Step7: Re-Enter the password

Step8: close all the Windows including the workbook after saving it

Step9: open the workbook again and try editing the locked cells

You will notice that Excel will not allow you make the changes in the protected cells and if you wish to make the changes then you need to unprotect the worksheet by going to the same Home Ribbon, Format Button, Unprotect Worksheet option and entering the password.