How to Lock Cells and Rows in Google Spreadsheets on the Web

Collaborating on a Google Spreadsheet document is convenient and inviting others is easy. However, you may want to restrict others from editing or overwriting selected areas. A smart way to do this is to lock cells, rows or columns in Google Sheets. This will prevent all those accidental edits or overwrites while you’re working on pages with someone or letting someone else work on your document.

Note that locking rows and columns is not the same as freezing them. They are very different features. In this post we will discuss how to lock cells in Google Sheets on the web.

Let’s start.

Lock Cells and Rows in Google Sheets Web

You can lock cells one by one or use a keyboard/mouse to select multiple cells. This is your wish.

Stage 1: After selecting the cells in a row and/or column, right-click to keep the Range.

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Step 2: A pop-up window opens on the right side of the screen. You can enter a description and also select or deselect cells. If you have multiple sheets open, select the Sheets tab. Once you’re sure which cells you need to lock, click Set permissions.

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Stage 3: Select ‘Only you’ if you don’t want anyone to edit the range. Select Custom if you want to enter the names of users who are allowed to edit the range.

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If you have another locked cell range and want to apply the same changes (name, description, etc.) to that range, click ‘Copy permissions from another range’.

Step 4: You will enter the names of the editors or the people who will be allowed to edit the selected cells. There is also an option to set an alert message if someone tries to edit the selected range. Click the Done button when you are satisfied.

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You can use the same settings to lock rows or even columns. Instead of selecting individual cells, click and drag the row or column header to select multiple rows or columns. The protected range is highlighted to distinguish it from the unprotected range.

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However, if anyone tries to edit any cell in the protected range, they will get the message shown below.

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Can You Lock Cells and Rows in the Google Sheets Mobile App?

There is no way to lock cells, rows or columns in Google Sheets in mobile apps. This applies to Android and iOS. There are no rumors that Google will add it anytime soon. But we are hopeful that one day that will happen. Until then, you can use the web app on your computer or even your smartphone.

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Note that locked cells will still look and work the same way. You will notice that the locked cells are highlighted in the mobile app screenshot above.

Lock a Sheet in Google Sheets

You can lock an entire sheet or document in Google Sheets. Select the page you want to lock first using the arrow icon next to the page name. Next, you will right-click on the sheet name to select the Protect sheet option.

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Not only can you lock the sheet now, but you can also choose to remove certain cells that you want to remain editable for others. Click Exclude specific cells to select them.

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The rest of the process will remain the same; here you will set permissions to determine who can edit the page and add an appropriate description explaining what happened or the purpose of locking the page.

View All Protected Cells and Pages

The right-click menu shortcut is good for quickly setting lock permissions, but makes it difficult to manage large pages with hundreds of cells.

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Click Protected sheets and ranges under the Data menu. You will find a list of all cells and pages that the page owner or editor has locked.

Who Can Lock Cells

Cells or whole sheet can be locked like this:

  • Owner or creator of the page.
  • Anyone who can edit the page but can’t get permission from the owner.

You can view or comment on the page, but not edit it or lock/protect it.

Hide Locked Rows, Columns and Pages

You lock them so that anyone accessing the document can’t make any unwanted changes. Hiding locked cells will remove clutter from the page. This comes in handy when these cells no longer require any updates or when everyone has already viewed the data in them.

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You cannot lock a contact or a range of cells. You will need to hide all rows, columns or pages. Hover your mouse over the name and click on the arrow icon to reveal the menu where you will find the hide option.

lock and key

Its key feature in Google Sheets is useful if you work in a collaborative environment. You can control who can edit what in a given document and maintain data integrity. The setting is easy to implement but sorely lacking on mobile platforms. One way to fix this is to use Google Sheets in desktop mode on a mobile browser. This should work.

Next: Are you running a business? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best business templates for business users of Google Sheets. Click the link below to learn more.

Moyens Staff
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