How To Unprotect Google Sheets

In this tutorial, you will learn how to unprotect Google Sheets.

Protecting sheets and ranges in Google Sheets is a great way to prevent users from inadvertently making edits to those portions of the spreadsheet, but sometimes you may find that these protections stop users from making necessary changes to the spreadsheet. A spreadsheet with too many protections can become impossible to use, so often it’s necessary to remove some or all protections to continue working

Fortunately, removing protections in Google Sheets is quick and easy. The only potential challenge is that you must be logged into an account which can edit that protected range in order to remove it. If you aren’t sure what accounts have this access, you can always contact the spreadsheet owner and ask them to remove the protection. Spreadsheet owners are able to edit and remove all protected ranges

Adding Editors to a Protected Range

Before jumping directly to removing protection in Google sheets, it’s important to consider if adding editors to that range might be a better option. This gives certain users access to edit the protected range without deleting the protection and can be useful if there are still certain users who should not be able to edit that range.

Here’s how to add a user to a protected range

Step 1

Open the spreadsheet using an account that can edit the protected range, such as the spreadsheet owner’s account

Step 2

Open the Data menu and click on Protected Sheets and Ranges

Step 3

From the Protected Sheets & Ranges sidebar that appears, click on the protected range you want to edit

Step 4

Click on the Change Permissions button

Step 5

In the Range Editing Permissions dialog, under Restrict Who Can Edit this Range, choose the Custom option if it is not already selected

Step 6

A list of spreadsheet editors will appear with checkboxes beside each to grant that user edit permissions to that range. Click the checkbox beside the user you want to add

Step 7

Click Done to close the dialog when you’ve added all desired editors. The added users will now be able to edit the protected range

Removing Protected Ranges

If adding editors to a protected range is not enough to allow the required edits, or if you find that you’ve granted all users edit access so the protected range no longer provides any protection, you can fully unprotect that range

Here’s how:

Step 1

Open the Protected Sheets and Ranges sidebar following instructions above

Step 2

Click on the range you want to delete

Step 3

Beside the name of the range, a trash can icon will appear. Click on it

Step 4

In the popup that appears, click Remove to proceed with unprotecting the range

Step 5

The range is now unprotected and anyone who can edit the spreadsheet can edit this range


Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to unprotect Google Sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.