Protect Cells in Excel Using Data Validation

Here's a creative way to protect cells in an Excel worksheet so that other users can't make changes to them:

  1. Select the cells you want to protect. (It's a good idea to make a note of the cells you protect in case you need to remove that protection later.)

  2. On the Data menu, click Validation, and then click the Settings tab.

  3. Set the following restrictions: In the Allow box, click Text Length; in the Data box, click between; in the Minimum box, type 10000; and in the Maximum box, type 50000.
  4. Click the Error Alert tab.

  5. Make sure the Show error alert after invalid data is entered check box is selected. In the Style box, click Stop.

  6. If you want a title to appear in the title bar of the message or in the Office Assistant balloon if the Office Assistant is displayed, type the text in the Title box. If you leave the Title box blank, the title defaults to Microsoft Excel.

  7. If you want to display your own text for the message, type the text in the Error message box, up to 225 characters. Press ENTER to start a new line in the message. If you don't enter any text in the Error message box, the message displays the following: "The value you entered is not valid. A user has restricted values that can be entered into this cell."

Excel displays the message only when a user types data in the cell.

To remove data validation settings, select the protected cells, click Validation on the Data menu, and then click Clear All.

By, Keith Murray, CPA

You may like these other stories...

Earlier this week I presented the Chart Edition of AccountingWEB’s High Impact Excel webinar series. One of the many topics I covered was the Sparklines feature, which was first introduced in Excel 2010. Several...
On January 30, I led a free, one-hour webinar, High Impact Excel: Pivot Table Edition. If you missed the presentation, it’s too late to get CPE credit, but you can watch an on-demand recording. After the webinar, I...
By David Ringstrom, CPA In Part 1 of this series I showed how to use a custom number format to conditionally display decimal places. Although the technique is simple, the downside is it may not work in every situation....

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.
Aug 28
Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.