I would like to protect the formatting of a cell (or a range of cells) in a Google Spreadsheet, but still allow changing the data in that (or those) cell(s).

For example, I want to add a validation rule on a cell that says the cell has to contain a number between 1 and 10, and I would like others to be able to change the value in that cell, but not the validation rule itself.

How do I do that?

So far I was only able to completely protect the cell (content + formatting) or not at all (the user can change the content as well as the formatting).

To me this seems to be an important functionality when adding access rights to spreadsheets. Is it possible that it is completely missing from Google Spreadsheets?

2 Answers 2


At this time Google Sheets doesn't have a way to protect cell format while allowing to edit its content.

How to share - Docs editors Help
Protect a range or sheet from being edited - Docs editors Help


I needed to allow the users to change the data in a cell but keep the data type to be a specific format of Time (e.g. It can be 14:15:00 but not 14.15). What I ended up to do is to use Data Validation with "Reject Entry" unless it's picked up from my list. So this way practically the users can now change the time for the cell but only change it to something in the format that I've specified in the list.

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