How Do I Unprotect a Cell in OpenOffice Calc?

By default, a protected spreadsheet in OpenOffice Calc 4 protects every cell, preventing anyone from editing their contents. To unprotect specific cells on the sheet, you first need to turn off protection for the entire sheet. Set the specific cells to not use protection, and then re-enable sheet protection on the rest of the sheet.

Calc displays an error when you try to edit protected cells.
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Step 1

Keyboard shortcut: Alt-T-P-S.
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Open the Tools menu, point to Protect Document and uncheck Sheet. If the spreadsheet's creator locked the sheet using a password, you'll need it to turn off protection.

Step 2

Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-1.
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Select the cells you want to unprotect by clicking and dragging, clicking a column or row header, or holding Ctrl while clicking each cell. Open the Format menu and click Cells to format the selection.

Step 3

Protected is checked by default, but has no effect without sheet protection enabled.
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Turn off Protected on the Cell Protection tab and click OK.

Step 4

At this point, it doesn't matter which cells are selected.
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Reopen the Tools menu and click Sheet in the Protect Document section when you're ready to reprotect the rest of the spreadsheet.

Step 5

Other options on this window let you prevent users from selecting cells.
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Enter a password if you want one, and click OK to turn on protection. The cells you formatted remain unprotected and editable, while the rest of the sheet locks down.

Tip

Cell formatting remains applied even if you unprotect and reprotect the sheet in the future -- you don't need to perform these steps every time you unlock the sheet for editing.

Warning

Don't confuse document protection with sheet protection. Protecting the document as a whole prevents the creation, deletion or renaming of entire sheets, but does not lock cell contents.

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