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How to highlight locked cells in Excel

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2020-09-08

In default, the cells are locked in Excel, but if you have formatted some cells as unlocked before, you may forget where the locked cells and unlocked cells are in. In this case, I will tell you a trick to highlight the locked cells which helps you quickly find the locked or unlocked cells.

Highlight locked cells with Conditional Formatting

Highlight locked/unlocked cells with Kutools for Excel good idea3

arrow blue right bubble Highlight locked cells

To highlight locked cells, please do as below steps:

1. Select a range you want to highlight the locked cells, then click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule. See screenshot:


2. In the New Formatting Rule dialog, select Use a formula to determine which cells to format in the Select a Rule Type list, and then type this formula =CELL("protect",A1) into Format values where this formula is true text box. See screenshot:


Note: In the above formula, A1 is the first cell of your selected range.

3. Then click Format to open Format Cells dialog, click Fill tab, and select a color to highlight the locked cells. See screenshot:


4. Click OK > OK. Then you can see the locked cells are highlighted by the color you defined. See screenshot:


arrow blue right bubble Highlight locked/unlocked cells with Kutools for Excel

Here is a utility called Select Unlocked Cells in Kutools for Excel--a handy add in tool, which can help you select the unlock cells first, and then apply Kutools for Excel's Select Range Helper to specify the lock cells and the highlight them as you need.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 300 handy functions, makes your jobs more easier. 

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Select the range you want to find and highlight locked cells, here is A1:C9 and click Kutools > Select > Select Unlocked Cells. See screenshot:
doc highlight lock cell 5

2. Now all the unlocked cells in this range are selected, and keep the selection, and go to click Kutools > Select > Select Range Helper. See screenshot:
doc highlight lock cell 6

3. In the popping dialog, check Inverse Selection. See screenshot:
doc highlight lock cell 7

4. Then go to select the range A1:C9 which is the range you want to find the locked cells, you can see the selection change from unlocked cells to locked cells. See screenshot:
doc highlight lock cell 8

5. Now you just can go to Home > Fill Color to select a color to highlight the locked cells. See screenshot:
doc highlight lock cell 9

Tip: If you just want to highlight unlocked cells, you can skip step 2-4, directly shade cells after applying Select Unlocked Cells.

Click here to know more about Select Range Helper.

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Comments (4)
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
If the cells are locked, Conditional Formatting is greyed out and isn't even an option, so I don't see how this can work.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi, if the Conditional Formatting is greyed, that is because your worksheet is protected. You should unprotect the worksheet first, then apply the Conditional Formatting feature.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I try to add this formula but I keep taking an error about the formula. Have any idea why?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi, Antonis, I did not understand what is your problem? The formula did not work or other errors?
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