Lock Down Data with New Data Protection Features in Google Sheets

by Denise Hazime on January 19, 2015

Most businesses use spreadsheets as simple data sharing tools. Google Sheets expands these sharing capabilities to allow users to collaborate on important spreadsheets, in real time if necessary. Google Sheets can easily replace Excel if your business is not using some of Excel’s more advanced functions, such as complex pivot tables, or working with abnormally large amounts of data.

Excel Functions You’ll Find in Google Sheets

Don’t ditch the idea of using Sheets just because you can’t construct an advanced pivot table. Google Sheets still supports vlookups, named ranges, data tables, offset/match, and more. If you are just sharing important data for projects, basic financial information, or similar projects, Google Sheets will have everything you need – with added sharing capabilities you won’t find in Excel.

Locking Down Data Just Got Easier

The only problem with sharing Google Sheets in the past was that users could overwrite some important data. While you could protect certain data blocks, you couldn’t protect all the data in a sheet except for certain blocks – until now. You can now lock down all content except for one cell or range of cells, making using Google Sheets for financial professionals much easier.

How to Lock Down an Entire Sheet and Protect a Cell

To protect a sheet but exclude certain cells or ranges, click on the sheet name at the bottom left.

When you click on “Protect Sheet”, a dialogue box will open on the right that asks you if you want to protect a cell or range of cells.

Setting Permissions for Working with Excel Sheets

While working on sensitive data such as financial information, you want the ability to pull a user’s permission to access a Google Sheet at a moment’s notice. You can now customize permissions for an entire sheet, a cell or a range of data immediately using the “Set Permissions” dialogue box. One of the new Google Sheet features is to be able to copy permissions from ranges within the sheet, so only certain users can edit certain sets of data.

This feature is very practical for documents when different departments are working on a company-wide document such as a special report. You can now set it up so that users can only edit the data relevant to their own group. Conversely, sheets, ranges and cells can be locked down so that only a single user may edit them.

Find out more about protecting data within Google Sheets.

Is Google Sheets a Replacement for Excel?

In short, yes. For what most businesses are using Excel for, Google Sheets is a replacement that is easier to collaborate with. Only advanced users who require complex data analysis could not replace Excel with Google Sheets.

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