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. Enter a description for your range in the first text box in the menu that appears on the right.
  5. 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 change users’ viewing, commenting, and editing permissions, click Set permissions. Click Done when finished making changes to permissions.
  7. Click Done to protect your range.

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

When opening a spreadsheet with protected ranges, individuals will see ranges they don’t have edit access to displayed with a checkered background. To turn off the checkered background, you can click the View menu > Protected ranges.

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. Optionally, enter a description for the protected sheet in the text box.
  4. Change users’ viewing, commenting, and editing permissions by clicking Set permissions. Click Done when finished making changes to permissions.
  5. Click Done to protect your sheet.

Who can create protected sheets

Any owner or editor of a spreadsheet can set editing permissions for individual sheets, 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.

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.

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.