Protect a range or sheet from being edited

If you want to restrict who can edit a specific group of cells or a specific sheet in a spreadsheet, you can protect the range of cells or sheet.

Protect a range of cells

To protect a range:

  1. Open your spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell or group of cells you want to protect.
  3. Click the Data menu and select Protected sheets and ranges.
  4. If you want, enter a description for your range in the first text box in the menu that appears on the right.
  5. If you want to change or enter the range you’re protecting, click the spreadsheet grid icon to the right of the second text box and highlight the range in the spreadsheet. If you chose a cell or range earlier, it’ll appear automatically.
  6. To save the protected range and set permissions for it, click Set permissions. If editing an existing protected range, click Change permissions.
  7. Choose one of the options for giving permission and then click Save:
    • Only you: Protects the range from everyone except yourself (and the owner if you’re not the owner).
    • Only domain: If you use Google Apps for work or school, this protects the range from everyone except the people in your domain. Only available when everyone in the domain already has edit access to the spreadsheet already.
    • Custom: Protects the range from everyone except specific people you choose
    • Copy permissions from another range: to easily re-use the same permissions you previously set up on a different set of cells.
  8. If editing an existing protected range, click Done.

People who try to edit a cell in a protected range they don’t have edit access to will receive an error message.

You can highlight the protected cells you don't have edit access to by clicking the View menu > Protected ranges and a striped background will appear over the cells.

Protect a sheet

To protect a sheet:

  1. Open the spreadsheet.
  2. Click the sheet's tab at the bottom of your spreadsheet and select Protect sheet.
  3. If you want, enter a description for the protected sheet in the text box.
  4. If you want to exclude specific cells from sheet protection, check "Except certain cells" and add the cells you want people to be able to edit.
  5. To save the protected sheet and set permissions for it, click Set permissions. If editing an existing protected sheet, click Change permissions.
  6. Choose one of the options for giving permission and then click Save:
    • Only you: Protects the sheet from everyone except yourself (and the owner if you’re not the owner).
    • Only domain: If you use Google Apps for work or school, this protects the sheet from everyone except the people in your domain. Only available when everyone in the domain already has edit access to the spreadsheet already.
    • Custom: Protects the sheet from everyone except specific people you choose
    • Copy permissions from another range: to easily re-use the same permissions you previously set up on a different set of cells.
  7. If editing an existing protected range, click Done.

Who can create protected sheets and ranges

Any owner or editor of a spreadsheet can set editing permissions for individual sheets and ranges, although editors can’t remove editing permission for owners. Others will still be able to view the data on the protected sheet, but depending on the permission you set for each sheet, they won't be able to make any changes or delete a protected sheet or range.

Edit a copy of the data from a protected sheet

If an editor duplicates the protected sheet, copies the workbook, or uploads a new version, sheet protection will be disabled. Also, if a viewer creates a copy of the spreadsheet, the data on the protected sheet can be edited in the copy.

Warning: Protected sheets and ranges can help prevent people from unintentionally modifying content in a spreadsheet, but they should not be used for security purposes because not all actions are blocked (for example, printing, copying and pasting, and importing and exporting). Only share spreadsheets with people you trust.

Matt is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

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