How to Password Protect Google Sheets

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn how to keep your Google Sheets safe with password protection, and discover other security options available in Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is a popular tool used by professional teams to share data, store information, and track important metrics. For many companies, this information is sensitive or proprietary and needs to be secured, which can lead people to wonder if it’s possible to password protect Google Sheets. Google Sheets currently doesn’t have a password protection feature, but you can put protections on your sheets or parts of a sheet.

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll learn about the protection measures Google Sheets offers, including how to protect cells and link sharing.

How to protect a range or sheet in Google Sheets

Protecting a range or sheet in Google Sheets means that the people who have access to the sheet can’t change the information in the sheet. It’s essential to remember that even while protected, it’s possible to copy, paste, print, or export the sheet. Here’s what you’ll need to do to protect a Google Sheet:

  1. Select the data you want to protect.

  2. Set or change permissions.

  3. Choose how to limit editing with permissions.

  4. Click save or done.

Let’s go over these steps in more detail.

1. Select the data you want to protect.

Once you’ve opened the spreadsheet you want to work with, select the data you want to protect. To do this, first click on Data > Protect sheets and ranges.

Data drop-down tab with ‘Protect sheets and ranges’ selected in Google Sheets

You’ll see a menu open on the right of the screen. Click Add a sheet or range. If you’re protecting a range, click Range and make sure the selected cells are correct. If you’re protecting a sheet, click Sheet.

If you’ve come to edit a permission you’ve already set, select the existing permission in order to change it. It will be listed under the Add a sheet and range button.

Google Sheet with box open on the right side that says ‘Add a sheet or range’

2. Set or change permissions.

Next, click Set Permissions if you’re adding new permissions for the first time. If you’re editing existing permissions, select Change Permissions.

Google Sheet with ‘Protected sheets and ranges’ box open on the right side, with the entire sheet selected

3. Choose how to limit editing with permissions.

You can limit editing in two different ways. One option is to allow people to edit a sheet, and they’ll receive a warning asking to confirm the edit. To do this, select Show a warning when editing this range.

You can also limit editing to specific people. To do this, select Restrict who can edit this range. You can choose from the following options:

  • Only you: Only you and the document’s owner have the option to edit.

  • Only domain: Only the people in your domain have the option to edit.

  • Custom: Only the people you designate have the option to edit.

  • Copy permissions from another range: Reuse the same permissions you’ve set up on another range or sheet.

A pop-up box opened in Google Sheets that says ‘Range editing permissions’ with ‘Only you’ selected

2. Click Save or Done.

Once you’ve set your permissions, click Done to apply your new permissions.

Other Google Sheets protection measures

While protecting a range or sheet in Google Sheets prevents the information from being changed, the sheet itself can still be accessed. If you want to restrict unauthorized views of a Google Sheet, you can adjust other users’ access based on the shared link. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click Share and type in the name of the people you want to have access in the Add people and groups textbox.

  2. Choose either Editor, Commenter, or Viewer access.

  3. Underneath the General access, select how to restrict the link access. Restricting access is the most effective way to keep your document protected from unauthorized viewing. 

Google Sheets pop-up box displaying general access settings set to ‘Restricted’

Learn more with Coursera

Sharpen your Google Sheets and other data analytics skills on Coursera with Google’s Data Analytics Professional Certificate. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about data analytics fundamentals that can help you start a data analytics career.

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