Once you have locked the cells containing critical data and protected the entire worksheet, you will need to be able to unprotect it so that you can work in it again. Any cells that have been locked will automatically unlock when the security is removed, as these instructions only work when the worksheet is protected. This Excel tutorial is going to teach you precisely how to unprotect worksheets so that you are able to implement changes where necessary.

There are three ways that security can be removed from a worksheet. Note that you will not have the option to unprotect the sheet if it has not been previously protected. Each method is discussed below but the first thing you need to do is click on the worksheet tab that you want to unprotect:

  • Worksheet Menu

    To access your worksheet menu, simply right click on the sheet tab. A new window will appear that has options for several choices. Click on Unprotect Sheet… and Excel will immediately implement the change or prompt you for your password.

  • Cell Format Drop-down Menu

    On the Home tab of your Excel toolbar is a box called Cells. There are three icons inside it with little arrows beneath each of them. Click on the arrow under Format to access the drop-down menu. Under the Protection heading, click on Unprotect Sheet… and Excel will remove the protection instantly or give you the option to enter your password.

  • Unprotect Sheet Command Icon

    Another way to achieve protection removal is to go to your Review tab on your Excel toolbar. In the Changes box is an icon called Unprotect Sheet. Simply click on this and it will change to Protect Sheet instead; unless a password has been installed and you need to enter it first.

Each method is designed to immediately unprotect any protected worksheets. If during the initial security process a password was used, then your Unprotect Sheet dialog box will appear. It will ask you for the code:

Now all that is left is to type the correct password and click on OK. This is why it is of paramount importance that all passwords are stored safely and are created using data that is easy to remember. If you have lost or forgotten the code, then it is a mammoth task trying to recover it. You will get this message if it has been entered incorrectly:

Using the Protect and Unprotect feature that Excel offers for worksheets will prevent you from having disastrous, albeit inadvertent, changes made to your critical information. This is particularly useful when cells contain extremely complex formulas that cannot be fiddled with; and there are even options to unprotect entire workbooks.

After recommendation from many of our Excel training course students in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and all of South Florida; we have written this article for you and trust you find it useful. There are many features that you can use to ensure your spreadsheets are professional and work the way you need them to. Feel free to watch our advanced Excel videos for further information.

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