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

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

It’s very convenient to collaborate on a Google Sheet document, and it’s easy to invite other people. Having said that, you may want to prevent other people from modifying or overwriting certain areas. A smart way to do this is to lock cells, rows, or columns in Google Sheets. This will prevent all those accidental changes or overwrites while working on sheets with someone or letting someone else work on your document.

How to lock cells and rows in Google Sheets

Note that locking rows and columns is not the same as freezing them. These are very different characteristics. We’ll see how to lock cells in Google Sheets on the web in this article.

Let’s start.

Lock cells and rows on Google Sheets web

You can lock individual cells or use keyboard / mouse to select multiple cells. It is your wish.

Step 1: After selecting cells in a row and / or column, right click to select Protect Range.

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2nd step: A pop-up window opens from the right side of the screen. You can enter a description and select or deselect cells. Select the Sheets tab if you have multiple sheets open. Once you are sure which cells to lock, click Set Permissions.

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Step 3: Select “Only you” if you don’t want anyone else to change the range. Select Custom if you want to enter the names of the users who are allowed to edit the range.

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Click ‘Copy permissions from another range’ if you already have another locked cell range and want to apply the same changes (name, description, etc.) to that range as well.

Step 4: You will enter the names of the editors or of those who will be authorized to modify the selected cells. There is also an option to set a warning message if someone tries to change the selected range. Click the Done button when you are satisfied.

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

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However, if someone tries to edit a cell in the protected range, he / she will get the message below.

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Can you lock cells and rows on the Google Sheets mobile app

Well, there is no way to lock cells, rows or columns in Google Sheets on mobile apps. This goes for Android and iOS. There is no rumor that Google will add it anytime soon. But we hope it will happen someday. 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 function the same. You will notice the locked cells are highlighted in the mobile app screenshot above.

Lock a sheet in Google Sheets

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

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You can not only lock the sheet now, but also choose to omit some cells that you want to keep editable for others. Click the Except some cells option to choose them.

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The rest of the process will remain the same, where you will set permissions to determine who anyone can edit the sheet and add an appropriate description that explains what is happening or the purpose of locking the sheet.

Show all protected cells and sheets

The shortcut in the context menu allows you to quickly set lock permissions, but makes it difficult to manage large sheets with hundreds of cells.

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Click Protected Sheets and Ranges from the Data menu. You will find a list of all cells and sheets that the owner or editor of the sheets has locked.

Who can lock cells

Cells or the entire sheet can be locked by:

  • Owner or creator of the sheet.
  • Anyone who can edit the sheet but cannot revoke the owner’s permission.

You can view or comment on the sheet, but you cannot edit or lock / protect it.

Hide locked rows, columns and sheets

You lock them so that anyone who accesses the document does not make any unwanted changes. Hiding locked cells will declutter the sheet. This is useful when these cells no longer need updating or when everyone has already viewed the data they contain.

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You cannot lock an individual or a range of cells. You will need to hide rows, columns or entire sheets. Just hover your mouse over the name and click the arrow icon to reveal the menu where you will find the Hide option.

Lock and key

The Google Sheets lock feature is handy if you are working in a collaborative environment. You can control who can change what on a particular document and maintain data integrity. The setting is easy to implement but sorely lacking in mobile platforms. One way to solve this problem is to use Google Sheets in desktop mode in a mobile browser. It should work.


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

Last updated on Nov 17, 2020

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