How to Protect Cells From Editing in Google Sheets

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to protect cells from editing in Google Sheets.

How to Protect Cells From Editing in Google Sheets

Protecting cells from editing is a great way to ensure the integrity of your data.

You can prevent other users from changing the content of a cell, or even prevent them from selecting it.

This can be helpful if you are working with sensitive data, or if you want to prevent users from inadvertently damaging the formatting of a spreadsheet.

You may also want to protect cells because they contain formulas that might break other parts of the sheet when modified.

In this guide, we will show you how to protect cells from editing in Google Sheets.

We will explain how to use the protection settings to keep your data safe.

How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets

Here’s how to lock cells in Google Sheets.

Step 1

First, identify what cell or cell range you want to protect and which cells should remain editable.

In this example, we have a spreadsheet containing employee data.

We want to keep the email_address and phone_number fields editable while having rows A to D only editable by the spreadsheet owner.

Step 2

In the Data menu, click on the option Protect sheets and ranges.

Step 3

In the Protected sheets & ranges panel on the right-hand side, click on Add a sheet or range.

Step 4

Type the range you want to add protection to and click on Set permissions.

You may also choose to add a label or description of the current protected range.

In this example, we want to protect the first four columns of our dataset.

Step 5

Google Sheets will ask if you want to show a warning or fully restrict who gets to edit the range.

If we choose the latter, we can further specify who gets to be able to edit the protected range.

You can choose the Only you option which will give the current user sole edit access to the selected range.

If you select the Custom option, you will be able to add a list of editors who have permission to edit the protected cells.

Step 6

Users without permission will see an error dialog box when they try to edit a protected cell.

Step 7

Alternatively, users can protect an entire sheet rather than just a range within the sheet.

In the Protected sheets & ranges panel, click on the Sheet tab.

Use the dropdown menu to select which sheet to protect. Click on Set permissions to proceed.Step 8

Users may also protect an entire sheet while still allowing certain ranges to be editable.

Make sure that the Except certain cells checkbox is selected.

Type the range that you want to allow edits for. Click on Set permissions to apply these rules.


This guide should be everything you need to protect cells from editing in Google Sheets.

You may make a copy of this example spreadsheet to test it out on your own.

More ways to protect cells in Google Sheets: