Excel worksheet protection in Excel Online

New Contributor

Does worksheet protection work in Excel Online?  We have a workbook where we have set certain ranges for all users (Everyone) to be able to edit without password.  Enable protection on the worksheet and share the workbook in OneDrive.  Users open the Excel file in Excel Online and states range is protected. Users edit in Desktop Excel and they can edit the cells.  I tried to find relevant articles about if this is a limitation to Excel Online, but they are not clear.  Should ranges / sheet protection work in Excel Online, or is this a limitation?  Or are we doing something wrong?  


Found references:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/excel-online-service-description.aspx#Sheet protection

"When you share an Excel file with other users, you can protect a worksheet to help prevent it from being changed, and you can choose the actions that you allow the users of your worksheet to perform."
"Protected worksheets (not entire workbooks) can be viewed in a browser window in Excel Online."
25 Replies

I see the same behaviour, and it is also the same when using an Excel file in MS Teams. @Michael Bennett, have you ever found a solution to this?





Hi Alexander, I have not resolved this issue and and no one else has responded to my post.  So no solution yet.

Thanks for the quick answer. It's a pity, since worksheet protection makes a lot of sense in collaborative editing/multi user editing.


@ Microsoft, any plan to fix this?




@Deleted Experiencing similar frustrations here. Microsoft, what are you doing to resolve this issue?

@Michael Bennett 




I have the same problem, did Microsoft come up with a fix for this as it is stopping me sharing a database that I have created.


Any help would be great.





I have the same problem is there any fix planned for this?



I just unprotected some cells in Desktop, protected the sheet, published to OneDrive, opened it online - protection is working.   Opened in Excel desktop,  protection is working.


Are you getting a different result?

The original question is from 2017. Excel online has come a long way since then. 


What was not possible then may be possible now. 


Please take into account the posting date of the question and consider that the feature set may have changed since it was asked.

@Ingeborg Hawighorst  Ok so I choose the edit in excel option and locked a range of cells however when accessing the online version the users can still edit cells I do not want edited, I also see a comment from a few weeks ago highlighting the same issue

@GHepburn After locking the cells, did you protect the sheet? Can you detail where the workbook is saved? SharePoint? OneDrive? OneDrive for Business?

@GHepburn I just created a new workbook, unlocked some cells and formatted them with a green fill. I protected the worksheet and saved the file to my personal OneDrive. Then I edited the file in the browser with Excel online. I was not able to change the locked cells, only the unlocked green cells in column B.

online protection.png


If your experience is different, please provide the steps that you took.

@Ingeborg Hawighorst thanks managed to get it working now

Hello@Ingeborg Hawighorst I want to create a file with several sheets, and I want to share the file online with different people. Is there a way in which I can protect each sheet with a password, so each participant has access only to his own sheet like I can do with desktop Excel? Thank you. 

@Randall1508 with Excel online it's currently not possible to remove sheet protection in the browser, so the scenario you have in mind will not work that way.


Mind you that sheet protection is not a security feature and can easily be circumvented. 

Hi, I’ve locked some cells and protected my sheet in the app. I’ve uploaded to sharepoint. The protection works fine but when a user copy and paste in the spreadsheet it locked the cells and it can’t be unlocked in the app. I have to open in the app, unprotect the spreadsheet and rework the locked / unlocked cells. Very tedious (as it can only be done when no one is using the spreadsheet). Anyone has the same issue ?
I figured it out...

before you protect your sheet or workbook, you need to first format the cells.

Select the cells your would like to be edited and right click > format cells> protection tab> deselect the locked box.

Once this is complete you cant then allow editing ranges from the review button within the ribbon. And then you can protect the sheet and or workbook.
Thank you. This worked


i've the issue in where I have protected the worksheet so that some collumns are unlocked and editable. The rest of the sheet is locked and cannot be edited. this is working fine if i open the file in the desktop app but i get the emssage this sheet is protected and cannot be edited if trying in excel in browser.

can anyone help me with this ?

@matthieu290684 I have the same issue. IN desktop I can unlock some cells and then potect the sheet and it works. As soon as I upload it on share point I can not put data even in the unprotected cells. I can in desktop though. Strange.