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Protecting your Google Sheets lets you avoid unprecedented changes to existing data. Aside from protecting your sheet, you can also customize how people write into it by tweaking the editing permissions.
In this article, we will show you how to protect your Google Sheets and improve its security.
Why Protect Your Google Sheets
Your Google spreadsheets might contain important inputs that you don't want to change. However, you might have no choice but to share the sheet for various reasons, starting with simply reading it down to writing data into it.
Sometimes, you might even need to remove the default access restriction placed on your Google Sheets so that anyone can access it.
In that case, you need to prevent the accidental modification of important cells. These can be cells that show some calculations or those that other cells containing calculated outputs depend upon.
Regardless of the situation, protecting your sheet prevents anyone from editing its contents. By locking your sheet, anyone without writing permission can only access and read it, not edit it.
How to Protect the Entire Google Sheets
While protecting your Google Sheets, you can choose to either prevent anyone except yourself from editing it or choose to grant editing permission to some people. Let's see how you can go about either option:
Prevent Anyone Except You From Editing Your Google Sheets
Here's how to prevent others except you from updating your sheet:
Grant Editing Permission to Selected People
As mentioned earlier, you can choose who can write to your Google Sheets. To do this, you only need to update the permission settings in your Google Sheets and grant them access through their email address:
Note: If you've listed some email addresses in the Add editors field, you can go ahead and share your Google Sheets with them if you've not done so already. That's it for locking your entire Google Sheets.
Set Soft Warning for Editing Cells
Sometimes, your sheet may contain sensitive data that you don't want to modify yourself. For instance, it could even be data coming from Google Forms into your Google Sheets.
Related: How to Integrate Google Forms With Google Sheets
While you can't lock yourself out from editing sheets you own, you can tell Google to spin up a soft warning each time you try to edit some sheets. This lets you prevent yourself from accidentally editing such sheets, or at least get a warning before doing so.
That's even helpful if you manage many sheets at a time and you want to keep a tab of the ones you don't want to change. It's also a great option to consider if you don't share your Google Sheets with outsiders.
Here's how to set a soft warning before editing your Google Sheets:
However, a disadvantage of this option is that anyone can still edit your sheet, even if they don't have write permission. That's because Google only shows a warning before further editing. So people can always proceed to edit it anyways.
Related: Google Sheets Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac
Here's the warning you get each time you or anyone tries to write to your Google Sheets:
How to Lock Selected Cells in Google Sheets
While you've permitted some people to edit your sheet, you might still want to prevent them from updating some cells or columns in the sheet. Here's how to do that:
How to Exempt Some Cells From Protection in Google Sheets
If you want to lock the majority of your cells and leave a few of them open for updates, you can exempt those few cells from protection and put a lock on the rest:
How to Remove Protection From Your Google Sheets
If you don't want to protect your Google Sheets anymore, you can also remove the permissions you've set earlier. That's quite easy:
Handle Your Google Sheets Like a Pro
Now that you know how to set different permissions for Google Sheets, you can share it with others, knowing that they can't change your data unless you grant them permission to do so. You can do this with organizational sheets you manage alone or with a team.
Can you put a lock on a Google sheet?
Lock an Entire Sheet in Google Sheets open up the sheet that you want to lock in Google Sheets, then click Data > Protected Sheets and Ranges. Click the Add a sheet or range option to begin to add the criteria to lock your sheet. To begin locking the entire sheet, select the Sheet tab. Press the Set Permissions button.
How to lock formatting in Google Sheets but allow Data entry?
>>>>>>>>>>>> If you have a sheet open and you want to lock the formatting (cell colors, borders, etc.) but want all the data to be able to be manipulated, go to Tools, Protection, Protect Workbook, then select the box that says Structure, and click Ok.
Can you lock a Google Sheet tab?
To start, open the sheet you want to protect. Right-click on the sheet tab that you'll be protecting. This process only applies to one tab at a time, so you'll need to repeat it for any other tabs you want to protect. Click on the Protect sheet option.