With the advent of the Internet and cloud-based technology, collaboration and information exchange have become a breeze. Google Sheets has been the leader in the spreadsheets space. As easy as it has become to work on these ubiquitous applications, it is equally secure the data on the Google Sheets files. This article explains the procedure to protect cells or pages in Google Sheets.

Why protect cells or pages in Google Sheets?

Most of us use Google Sheets because of the ease with which we can share the spreadsheet files with others. While this has made our work life easier, it also comes with certain concerns. Let us consider an example. A VP of sales in a retail store chain wants to have the sales figures from all the regions in one spreadsheet. Accordingly, he has shared the file to his sales team where each sales manager inputs the sales data corresponding to his/her region. A summary sheet consolidates the data into one place, where he gets to compare the performance across regions.

While all of this is in place, the VP doesn’t want his sales team to accidentally manipulate any formulas or numbers on the summary sheet. This scenario definitely calls for a solution that can protect cells or pages in Google Sheets. We explain how to do this below. Here’s how the summary sheet looks like.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 1

The VP is looking to protect the cells A1 through C4 which contain information that should not be changed. To do so, we navigate to Data > Protected sheets and ranges.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 2

In doing so, we see sidebar on the right side of the screen. Now we click on the ‘Add sheet or range‘ button.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 3

Now, we give a description of our choice to explain what this means if we ever came back to it in the future. We ensure that Range button is clicked and the corresponding field shows ‘All Regions’!A1:C4.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 4

Now we click on the Set permissions button. On the options window that pops us, we can set the permissions of our choice. We may either choose to just configure it to show a warning message when another user tries to change a protected cell. Or, we can set it so that no one can edit these cells. Or even set a custom list of users who can edit the cells. In this case, we leave it as shown in the image below. Finally, we click on the Done button.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 5

Now, what happens when another user tries to edit one of these protected cells? Here’s how it prevents them.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 6

There can be other instances when we want to protect an entire sheet or almost all of it. In this case, we can opt for the Sheet button as shown in the image below. We can even exempt cells that we do not want to protect from the protected sheet.

Example Protect cells or pages in Google Sheets - Illustration 7