Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

4 Effective Ways to Lock a Sheet in Google Sheets

Are you looking for ways to protect your sheet from accidental editing? In this article, we’ll explore four effective methods to lock your sheet tabs in Google Sheets. Whether you want to safeguard important information or prevent others from making changes to your carefully organized dataset, these techniques will help you maintain control over your work.

Lock a Sheet Tab

There are several ways to lock a sheet in Google Sheets. Let’s explore each method:

Lock a Sheet Tab with the Sheet Menu

To quickly access the “Protected sheets and ranges” menu and lock a sheet, right-click anywhere on the sheet tab you want to protect. This will open a menu where you can easily lock the sheet.

Lock a Sheet Tab with the Right Click Menu

Another way to lock a sheet tab is by right-clicking anywhere on the worksheet of the desired sheet tab. This will open the “Protected sheets and ranges” menu, allowing you to lock the sheet effortlessly.

Lock a Sheet Tab with the Data Menu

If you prefer using the Data menu, you can choose the “Protect sheets and ranges” option. This will open the “Protected sheets and ranges” menu, where you can lock the sheet with ease.

Lock a Sheet Tab with a Keyboard Shortcut

For a faster method, you can use a keyboard shortcut. Simply press Alt, H, O, P on your keyboard to open the “Protect sheets and ranges” menu without using the mouse.

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Protected Sheets and Ranges Menu

Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll be directed to the “Protected sheets and ranges” dialogue window. Here, you can further protect a sheet or a selected range by following these steps:

  1. Click on the “Add a sheet or range” menu.
  2. Select the “Sheet” tab and provide a descriptive name in the textbox.
    • Adding a descriptive name helps you remember the reason for locking the sheet.
  3. Click on the box displaying the sheet name and select the sheet you want to lock.
  4. Click on the “Set permissions” button.

The “Range editing permissions” dialogue box will appear when you click “Set permissions.” From here, you can choose what happens when other users attempt to edit the locked sheet.

To restrict editing to just yourself, select the “Restrict who can edit this range” radio button and choose “Only you” in the dropdown. You can also select the “Custom” option to grant editing permissions to specific users by adding their full names or email addresses.

If you already have restrictions in place on other sheets and want to copy those permissions, select the “Copy permissions from another range” option. This will display the available ranges or sheets with restriction settings, allowing you to select the desired one.

Additionally, you can choose the “Show a warning when editing this range” option if you don’t want to completely block users from editing the sheet. This will notify users that the sheet contains important information, prompting them to exercise caution before making any changes.

Lock a Sheet Tab Except for Specific Cells

If you want to protect a sheet but still allow editing for certain cells, Google Sheets offers a convenient solution. Follow these steps:

  1. Enable the “Except certain cells” option by checking the box next to it.
  2. Click on the grid icon and select the range of cells you don’t want to lock.
  3. Click the “OK” button when you’re finished.
  4. You can add another range by clicking on “Add another range.”
  5. To remove any unprotected ranges, simply use the “X” button.
  6. Click the “Done” button to apply the new permission settings.
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This way, only the empty cells you’ve specified can be edited, while the rest of the sheet remains locked.

Lock Multiple Sheet Tabs at Once with the Sheets Manager Add-on

Locking multiple sheets one by one can be time-consuming and tedious. Fortunately, the Sheets Manager add-on provides a solution to this problem. Follow these steps to lock multiple sheets at once:

  1. Download the Sheets Manager add-on from the Google Workspace Marketplace. You can access the Marketplace by going to the Extensions menu ribbon and selecting Add-ons, then Get add-ons.
  2. Once installed, the add-on will appear in the Extensions menu ribbon. Select Sheets Manager, and click on Start to use it.
  3. The add-on will open a side panel on the right side of the spreadsheet. It lists the names of all visible sheets.
  4. To lock multiple sheets, press and hold the Ctrl key while selecting the desired sheets.
  5. With the sheets selected, click on the padlock icon and choose your lock preference, such as “Restrict editing.”
  6. After a few seconds, all the selected sheets will be locked.

Please note that when using the Sheets Manager add-on, you cannot exempt specific cells from being locked. All cells within the sheets will be locked simultaneously.

The Sheets Manager add-on is free to use, but there is also a paid version available for additional features.

Lock Sheet Tabs with an Apps Script

If you want more advanced protection for your spreadsheet, you can utilize an Apps Script to prevent unauthorized edits. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Extensions menu and select Apps Script to open the editor window.
  2. Copy and paste the provided code into the Apps Script editor.
  3. Click the Save and then Run buttons to save your code and grant the necessary permissions.
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The script creates a “Lock Sheet” custom menu ribbon in your sheet. When you refresh the sheet, you’ll find a “Protect Sheet” submenu within this custom menu. By selecting “Protect Sheet,” you can protect all the sheets at once while granting editing permission to a specified user whose email address is in the first cell of the “Editors” sheet.


In a shared spreadsheet, ensuring security is essential. While locking a range or a sheet may not provide high-level security, it allows you to control the level of interaction other users have with your dataset. Whether you use the built-in protection options, the Sheets Manager add-on, or the Lock Sheets custom Apps Script, you can implement various measures to limit what other users can do in your spreadsheet.

Do you often lock your sheets? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience and any other custom solutions you have for locking a sheet. Let us know in the comments!