How to Unlock a Google Sheet

When you come across a locked sheet without the required rights, unlocking a Google Sheet might turn into a frustrating challenge. Understanding how to unlock a Google Sheet is crucial whether you’re a collaborator hoping to make modifications or a curious person looking to access user data.

Powerful cloud-based spreadsheet program Google Sheets has security features that let sheet owners manage access and stop unauthorized changes. Google Sheets that have been locked protect private data and maintain data integrity. However, there can be situations when you need to lawfully access a locked Google sheet.

This post explains different methods by which a Google Sheet can be unlocked easily to make changes in the data. 

What could be the Reasons for Locking Google Sheets?

There are many reasons for locking Google Sheets, some of which are:

  • Data Security: By locking a Google Sheet, one can prevent unauthorized access to or unintentional changes to sensitive or confidential data.
  • Version Control: Owners of Google Sheets can keep control over the document’s structure and content by locking their sheets.
  • Collaboration Control: Owners of Google Sheets can manage who has access to and can alter the document by locking the sheet.
  • Template Protection: Spreadsheets created using Google Sheets templates can be locked to protect their original formatting and structure.
  • Compliance and Regulations: Google Sheets may need to be locked in order to ensure data integrity, privacy, and compliance with regulatory obligations, depending on the organization or industry.
  • Administrative Control: Google Sheets may occasionally be locked by managers or administrators to preserve control over data management and stop unauthorized changes.

To explore more about locking a Google Sheet, you can visit the step-by-step Guide of How to Lock a Sheet in Google Sheets.

How to Unlock a Google Sheet?

Two different methods are used to unlock a Google Sheet which is:

  • Collaborator access
  • Break sheet protection
  • Requesting access

To understand all the above-mentioned methods for unlocking a Google Sheet, consider the locked data sheet of “Student Result”:

The “Lock” symbol shows that the Google Sheet has been locked, now we will unlock it by above mentioned methods. 

Method 1: Unlock a Google Sheet by Collaborator access

If the sheet is locked, one can request the owner of the sheet to allow you access to the collaborator so that you can make changes to the sheet. You can easily make your request known to the owner via email or other form of correspondence. Then the owner can allow you access that specific sheet.

Method 2: Unlock a Google Sheet by Break sheet protection

This method of unlocking a Google Sheet is useful if you are the owner of the Google Sheet. To use this method, first, open a locked Google Sheet and then follow the below-mentioned steps.

Step 1: Access the Sheet Protection Settings

After opening a locked Google Sheet, go to the “Data” in the menu tab and then click on “Protect sheets and ranges” as shown below:

How to Unlock a Google Sheet1

On the right side of the screen, a “Protect sheets and ranges” menu will be displayed:

How to Unlock a Google Sheet2

Step 2: Open the Protected Sheet

Now open the specified locked Google Sheet by clicking on its name:

How to Unlock a Google Sheet3

Step 3: Disable the Protection of a Google Sheet

To disable the protection of a Google Sheet, click on the “Bin” icon:

How to Unlock a Google Sheet4

A confirmation message will be prompted on the screen, click on the “Remove” button:

How to Unlock a Google Sheet5

You can see that the lock has been removed which shows a Google Sheet has been unlocked:

How to Unlock a Google Sheet6


To unlock a Google Sheet, either requests the owner of the Sheet to grant you access to a collaborator. If you are the owner then delete the lock permissions from “Protected sheets and ranges”. In this blog, both methods have been explained in detail which will help the readers to understand the unlocking of Google Sheets.