Here's our Microsoft Office Tip for.. September 23, 2002
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There are a number of ways to protect your data in Excel. One way is to lock or hide a cell using the Locked or Hidden cell properties, respectively. Once you lock a cell, no one can change the contents of that cell, nor see the contents in the formula bar. To lock or hide a cell, choose Format, Cells, click the Protection tab, and then select the appropriate option. By default, all cells are locked, but this property doesn't go into action until you turn it on. To do so, you must select Tools, Protection, Protect Worksheet. Most of the time, you won't want all your cells locked, though, so you may need to unlock cells.
Here's the catch--it's best to plan ahead. When possible, unlock and hide cells before you turn on the worksheet protection feature. Once you turn on the protection feature, you can't lock, unlock, hide, or unhide a cell. If you change your mind about a cell's state, you must unprotect the worksheet by selecting Tools, Protection, Unprotect Worksheet. Next, select Format, Cells, click the Protection tab, and choose the appropriate option. After all that work, you have to turn on the protection again.