How To Unprotect Google Sheets

Productivity Software

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to make changes to a Google Sheets document, only to realize that it’s protected and you can’t edit it? I’ve been there, and it can be frustrating. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to unprotect a Google Sheets document, providing personal insights and tips along the way.

Understanding Google Sheets Protection

In Google Sheets, protection can be applied to specific ranges, sheets, or the entire document. This can prevent others from editing certain parts of the spreadsheet, but it can also restrict you from making changes if you’re the owner. Understanding the type of protection applied to the document is crucial before attempting to unprotect it.

Checking Document Permissions

The first step I always take is to check the document’s permissions and make sure I have the necessary access rights. If I’m not the owner of the document, I need to request edit access from the owner or an editor. Without the appropriate permissions, attempting to unprotect the document will be futile.

Using the Google Sheets Web App

If I have the necessary permissions, I turn to the Google Sheets web app to unprotect the document. I open the document and navigate to the protected sheet or range. Next, I right-click on the protected area and select “Protected ranges and sheets” from the context menu. This will open the “Protected sheets and ranges” pane on the right side of the screen.

Within the “Protected sheets and ranges” pane, I look for the protected range or sheet that I want to unprotect. I then click on the range or sheet and select “Remove protection” from the options that appear. After confirming the action, the selected range or sheet will be unprotected, allowing me to make the necessary edits.

Using Google Apps Script

If the protection is more complex or if I need to automate the unprotection process for multiple sheets or ranges, I delve into Google Apps Script. This powerful scripting platform provided by Google allows me to write custom scripts to manipulate Google Sheets documents, including unprotecting ranges and sheets.

Using Google Apps Script, I can create a script that loops through all protected ranges and sheets in the document and removes their protection. This approach is especially helpful for larger or more intricate documents that require a more systematic unprotection process.


Unprotecting a Google Sheets document can be a straightforward process if you have the necessary permissions and understand the type of protection applied. Whether using the Google Sheets web app or delving into Google Apps Script for more complex scenarios, knowing how to unprotect a document is a valuable skill for any Google Sheets user.