Protect Items in a Workbook

In Excel, protection means preventing changes to parts of a workbook. You can apply protection to worksheets, charts, ranges, formatting, and window layout. Protection can use a password, or it may omit the password if the protection is intended to prevent accidental changes rather than malicious ones.

You can protect multiple items within a workbook and you can use different passwords for each of those items, though that’s generally a bad idea. The more passwords you use, the more likely you are to confuse them—especially within a single workbook. It’s a good idea to use the same password when protecting multiple items.


Protection allows users to read, but not change, parts of a workbook. Protection is applied in different ways to different items within a workbook.

How to do it

To prevent changes to a worksheet:

  1. Add data to your worksheet and adjust the formatting so it appears the way you want it to.

  2. From the Tools menu, choose Protection then Protect a Sheet. Excel displays the Protect Sheet dialog box shown in Figure 6-8.

  3. Type a password and select the actions you want to permit on the worksheet from the list. Click OK. Excel prompts you to confirm the password.

After a worksheet is protected, you can’t change it without unprotecting it first. To unprotect the worksheet, select Tools Protection Unprotect Sheet and enter the password.

Worksheet protection applies to all of the locked cells on a worksheet. To allow users to edit ...

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