Protect Specific Cells within an Excel Worksheet

There are a number of reasons why you may wish to protect specific cells within your Excel worksheet. For instance, when sharing example Excel files via this website, I add a small copyright notice to prevent other web developers from being able to redistribute my content without giving credit. This notice is protected in each Excel file I share meaning that it cannot be easily deleted.

So, how do you do protect specific cells within an Excel worksheet?

First, you need to click on the arrow to in the top left corner of your worksheet (i.e. to the left of column A and above row 1) to select all cells.

Next, you need to click the ‘more font settings’ button, located on the ‘Home’ tab, and just below where you normally change font-size.

Once you have clicked here, a new box will pop up, which will default to the ‘number’ tab.  Click the ‘protection’ tab of this new box.  You will notice the option ‘Locked’ with an accompanying tickbox. This option will most likely be ticked. Untick this box and hit okay.

Next, highlight the specific cells that you wish to protect. In this instance, I want to protect cell B5 which I have aptly named ‘Protected cell’. Once you have selected your cells, click the font settings button followed by the protection tab, but then tick the checkbox next to ‘Locked’ and hit okay. Once this is done, you are ready to activate sheet protection. Click the review tab at the top of your screen and then select ‘Protect sheet’.

This will open up various options for your protected sheet. Tick the options you wish to apply to your protected sheet, enter your selected password and then hit okay.  You will need to reenter your password a second time to confirm.

Note: I would recommend unselecting the ‘insert hyperlinks’ option as there is a known bug in Excel whereby the protected sheet will freeze (and potentially crash) if all cells are selected when this option has been chosen.

Voila!  Hit save and your sheet is now protected. To test it out, try to delete the contents of the cells you have protected. You should be met by the following error.

Download Excel File

 Example of specific cell protection within Excel

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