How to Lock a Cell in Excel After Data Entry

Written by dan howard
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How to Lock a Cell in Excel After Data Entry
You can lock an Excel cell to keep your data safe from unwanted revisions. (David Woolley/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Microsoft Excel contains features that allow you to set a password and specify precisely which workbook elements should be protected by that password. If you periodically enter large amounts of data into an Excel worksheet for analysis then you may want those data entry cells to be locked after entry is complete. The procedure for doing so is slightly counter-intuitive; by default Excel protects all cells in a protected worksheet, so to protect only certain data entry cells you must tell Excel which cells you don't want to lock when you password protect the worksheet. Then when data entry is complete you can lock the secured cells with a password.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Run Microsoft Excel and open the spreadsheet that contains the cells you wish to protect.

  2. 2

    Highlight all cells that you do not want to have locked with a password after data entry is complete.

  3. 3

    Click the "Home" tab, then click "Format" in the "Cells" group.

  4. 4

    Click "Format Cells" in the drop down list to display cell formatting options.

  5. 5

    Click the "Protection" tab, then uncheck the box next to the "Locked" heading. Click "OK" to save your changes and exit from the dialogue box.

  6. 6

    Enter your data into the worksheet.

  7. 7

    Click the "Review" tab, then click the "Protect Sheet" button.

  8. 8

    Type a password in to the "Password to unprotect sheet" box, if desired. Click OK to lock all cells in your worksheet that you didn't choose to unlock.

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