Lock or Unlock Columns and Rows

If you want to protect key data from being changed or deleted by others who are shared to your sheet, you can lock columns and rows. Data contained in cells in locked rows or columns cannot be edited. Similarly, cells in newly inserted rows won't be editable in locked columns.

TIP: Another way to protect your data is to use the right sharing permissions when you share your sheet (for example, share a sheet to someone with Viewer permissions rather than Editor permissions if you don't want them to be able to make changes).

NOTE: You can create rules that lock rows automatically when specific conditions are met. More information on this is available in Automate Your Work with Alerts and Actions.

Here are some things to keep in mind about locking columns and rows:

  • You must have Owner or Admin permissions to a sheet to lock or unlock columns and rows
  • Others with Owner or Admin permissions will be able to edit and delete locked columns and rows
  • Editors will be able to see locked columns/rows, but they won't be able to delete or edit the data in them. The same rule applies to anyone working from an Update Request or Published sheet
  • A lock can be applied to any column or row, with the exception of the Attachment and Comment columns which cannot be locked

Lock a Column or Row

  • To lock a column, right-click the column header and click Lock Column.
    lock column
  • To lock a row, right-click a row number and click Lock Row.

A lock icon will be displayed in the column or row headers to indicate that a column or row has been locked.

    Locked Row

    locked row

    Locked Column
    locked column

    IMPORTANT: Locking a column doesn't prevent a person with editor sharing permissions from deleting or moving rows. It prevents them from editing or deleting any data in that column.


    Unlock a Column or Row

    To unlock a row:

    1. Right-click on row's number and select Unlock Row. (Or, click the lock icon in the row’s Lock column.)
    2. In the message that appears requesting your confirmation to unlock it, click OK.

    To unlock a column:

    1. Right-click the column header and select Unlock Column (or click the lock icon under the column header).
    2. In the message that appears requesting your confirmation to unlock it, click OK.
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