The more people work on an Excel file, higher the risk of corrupting it. Let's say that you have created a layout that clearly indicates where the input cells and output cells are. It's almost impossible that your file will maintain its initial state when it has been distributed or shared with dozens of people. You can prevent people overwriting certain cells to protect the integrity of your workbook. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to protect a worksheet 3xcept for individual cells in Excel.

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Locked property

You may already know how to use the Protect Sheet command under Review tab of the Ribbon. If you use it directly, you will lock all cells by default. You cannot perform any action except selecting a cell.

How to password protect Excel files

Obviously, this is not a practical solution when you need users to enter their information and make calculations. The Locked property comes handy in this case. The property determines which cell will be locked or remain unlocked when the worksheet is protected. Thus, we can protect a worksheet except for individual cells. As you can guess, the property is checked by default, since Excel locks all cells in a new file.

You can find the property in the Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog. Either right-click on a cell and click Format Cells item or press Ctrl + 1 key combination to open the Format Cells dialog.

Once the dialog box opens, activate the Protection tab. You will see two properties. Uncheck the Locked property and click OK to unlock the cell.

How to password protect Excel files

The Hidden property allows you hide the formula of a cell. The cell shows only the result of the formula.

As the note in the dialog refers, either property is effective only in a protected sheet.

Once you set which cells you do not want to lock. Protect your sheet again. You can also uncheck Select locked cells property in the Protect Sheet dialog to make sure end-users can access the unlocked cells only.

If Select locked cells is disabled, users can navigate through the input cells by Tab key easily.