If I say that life hasn’t got a lot easier from the day Google Sheets started allowing collaborating with others, then it’d be a big lie. But the pile of features it comes with also included the feature of locking cells. This has made it impossible to adjust or alter the data inside of any cell without the permission of the sheet owner.
We bet you’ve faced some trouble with that as well. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have shown up here to learn how to unlock a Google Sheet. Well, don’t worry! We’re about to show you the easiest way to pull that off.
How to Change the Lock Status of Cells in Google Sheets
- Open your file.
- Click Data.
- Select Protected sheets & ranges.
- Choose the range to unlock.
- Click the trash can icon.
- Click the Remove button.
Our guide continues below with additional information on unlocking Google Sheets ranges and spreadsheets.
Don’t see the lines around your cells? Find out where the gridlines went in Google Sheets so that you can get them back.
How to Unlock Google Sheets: Step by Step
Every single time you see protected Google Sheets, there’s a reason why they’re kept that way. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have to unlock cells at times and slip your numbers in there. Now the question is, how will you unlock worksheets? Well, you can follow these simple steps –
Step – 1: Jumping to Protected Sheets and Ranges
First of all, open a sheet in your Google Drive and click the Data option you’re seeing in the menu bar. After hitting ‘Data’, you’ll see protected sheets and ranges there. Once you click on that one, the Protect sheets and ranges panel will show up on the right side, where you’ll see the list of all the protected ranges or locked cells/ranges.
Step – 2: Remove Protection by Clicking Delete/Trash Can Icon
Pick the range/sheet/cell you want to unlock in the first place. Then click on the trash can icon or delete icon you see right by the side of the ”Enter a description” box and the cell will be protection-free.
So, this is how you can get a protected worksheet unlocked. By the way, just because a Google worksheet and a Microsoft Excel sheet or excel file look kind of the same, don’t try the same unlocking tactic there.
How to Lock Cells and Make Protected Sheets?
Well, we guess you’re done learning the ‘unlock cells in Google Sheets’ part now. But to unlock it, you need to know how to lock or protect the sheet in the first place.
After all, at times, you might have to lock a cell in a way where only selected people can put in their numbers and edit that locked cell. Thankfully, that part too was made convenient in Google Sheets. All you need to do is –
Step 1: Opening the Worksheet
To add cell, range, or sheet protection, first of all, go to your Google Drive and open a sheet. Right-click on one of the specific cells in Google Sheets that you’re planning to lock, and click on the Protect range option.
Once the ‘Protected Sheets and ranges pane shows up, hit on the ‘Add a sheet or range’. And in case you want, you can go for ‘Enter a description’ for the cells you’re about to lock.
Step 2: Setting Permissions
When it comes to the Range option, you’ll be seeing the reference of the selected cell. So, if you need to lock any of certain cells, you’re free to change it here. Then click set permissions.
Step 3: Adding Editors
When you see under the ‘Range editing permissions’, there’ll be two options under ‘Restrict who can edit this range’ where one is ‘only you’ and the other one is ‘Custom’. Pick the second one.
Once you pick that, you’ll get to see the ‘Add editors:’ option where you need to enter emails of the user that you want to have the edit permissions of the locked sheet/cell/range. And then, hit on ‘Done.’ By the way, you can revoke the edit permissions of any user too over the selected cells if you like.
As Google sheets can’t be password protected, this is the best way to keep the document and its data restricted from editing by random users. If you badly need your Google sheets or documents password-protected, then you better use third-party tools for that.
Why Uploaded Excel File Can’t Be Protected?
Well, you’ve read it right. When you’d upload an Excel worksheet on the drive, you’ll find some tools missing for that certain document, and that includes the protection tools as well. But is there any way to get that worksheet protected? Of course, there is!
For that, you’ll have to get the Excel file converted into a Google Sheets file first. Then go for the File menu, where you’ll have to select “Save as Google Sheets” options. Once you’re done with that, protecting the sheets/ranges in that certain file will be easy as pie.
How to Protect Entire Sheets in Google Worksheet?
What if you want to save the entire sheet as protected rather than the cells? Well, that’s possible too. Just follow a simple set of instructions as mentioned below.
Step – 1: Opening the Spreadsheet
Right-click on the worksheet tab which you want as protected and select the ‘Protect the sheet’ option. In case you want to put in a description, you can do that too by clicking ‘Protected Sheets and ranges’.
Step -2: Setting Permissions
The sheet option will already show you the name you want to protect. In case you need it, you can change the name of the spreadsheet. Right at the bottom, you’ll see the button ‘Set permissions’, hit it. Then pick ‘Only you’ from the options in ‘Restrict who can edit this range’ and click ‘Done’ to save the changes.
No matter how many sheets or entire rows you want to protect at the same time, pulling that off will be a piece of cake if you follow this trick.
If you’ve reached this part of the article, we bet you’ve got every detail you needed to know about how to unlock a google sheet and its cells. Now all you need to do is get that PC of yours opened and unlock each of the cells that you want to put your numbers in.
Matt Jacobs has been working as an IT consultant for small businesses since receiving his Master’s degree in 2003. While he still does some consulting work, his primary focus now is on creating technology support content for SupportYourTech.com.
His work can be found on many websites and focuses on topics such as Microsoft Office, Apple devices, Android devices, Photoshop and more.