Excel Tutorial: How To Lock Shapes In Excel


When working with Excel spreadsheets, you often need to insert shapes to present data or organize information. However, the frustration arises when these shapes move or get deleted accidentally. That's where the importance of locking shapes comes into play. In this tutorial, we will explore the step-by-step process of locking shapes in Excel to ensure data integrity and presentation consistency.

Key Takeaways

  • Locking shapes in Excel is crucial for maintaining data integrity and presentation consistency.
  • Locked shapes prevent accidental movement or deletion, ensuring that your data stays organized.
  • Follow the step-by-step process to lock shapes, and consider grouping for multiple shapes.
  • Always test the locked shapes to ensure they are functioning as intended.
  • Be mindful of potential issues with locked shapes and know how to troubleshoot them.

Understanding the concept of locking shapes

Locking shapes in Excel is an important feature that allows you to prevent accidental movement or editing of shapes within a worksheet. This is particularly useful in scenarios where you want to protect the integrity of your data or presentation.

A. Define what locking shapes means in Excel

Locking shapes refers to the action of securing the position and properties of a shape within a worksheet. When a shape is locked, it cannot be moved or edited unless the lock is removed.

B. Explain the benefits of locking shapes for preventing accidental movement or editing

Locking shapes in Excel provides several benefits, including:

  • Preventing accidental movement of important shapes
  • Protecting the design and layout of a worksheet
  • Ensuring data integrity and accuracy


Locking shapes in Excel is a valuable skill that can help you maintain the integrity and professionalism of your spreadsheets. By understanding the concept of locking shapes and its benefits, you can effectively manage and protect your data and presentations.

Steps to lock shapes in Excel

Locking shapes in Excel can be a useful tool to prevent accidental movements or changes to your design. Follow these simple steps to lock shapes in Excel:

  • Select the shape or shapes you want to lock
  • Go to the "Format" tab in the ribbon
  • Click on the "Selection Pane" option
  • In the Selection Pane, right-click on the shape you want to lock
  • Select the "Size and Properties" option
  • Check the "Locked" box to lock the shape

Additional Tips for Working with Locked Shapes

After locking shapes in Excel, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind to ensure a smooth experience with your spreadsheet.

  • Consider using grouping to lock multiple shapes together

    When working with multiple shapes that need to be locked together, consider grouping them before applying the lock. This will ensure that all the shapes stay in their relative positions and maintain their alignment when the sheet is edited or moved.

  • Make sure to test the locked shapes to ensure they are functioning as intended

    Once you have locked the shapes, it is important to test them to ensure that they are functioning as intended. Click and drag the shapes, and try to edit the cells around them to make sure the locked shapes do not interfere with the rest of the spreadsheet.

  • Remember to unlock shapes when necessary for editing or repositioning

    While locking shapes provides security and stability, there may be times when you need to edit or reposition them. Remember to unlock the shapes when necessary, and reapply the lock after making the required changes.

Common issues and troubleshooting

When working with locked shapes in Excel, there are several potential issues that may arise. It's important to be aware of these common issues and know how to troubleshoot them effectively.

A. Discuss potential issues with locked shapes

One common issue with locked shapes in Excel is accidental locking. This can happen when you are trying to select a shape to edit it, but inadvertently lock it instead. Another issue that may arise is difficulty in editing a locked shape, particularly if you need to make changes to its position or size.

B. Provide solutions for these common issues

If you encounter accidental locking or difficulty in editing a locked shape, there are several solutions you can try. First, you can unlock the shape by right-clicking on it and selecting "Unlock" from the context menu. Another solution is to adjust the selection pane settings to make it easier to select and edit locked shapes. By rearranging the order of the shapes in the selection pane, you can make it easier to access and edit the locked shape.

Examples of when to use locked shapes

Locked shapes in Excel can be incredibly useful in a variety of scenarios, both for improving the professional appearance of your spreadsheets and for preventing errors or confusion in data presentation. Let's explore some examples of when to use locked shapes:

A. Show examples of how locked shapes can be beneficial in creating professional and organized Excel spreadsheets
  • Header and title blocks: Locking shapes such as company logos, headers, and title blocks can help maintain a consistent and professional appearance across multiple worksheets or workbooks.
  • Dashboard and summary sheets: In creating dashboards or summary sheets, locked shapes can be used to present key metrics, charts, or graphics in a visually appealing and organized manner.
  • Data visualization: Using locked shapes to create visually appealing data visualizations, such as infographics or icons, can enhance the overall presentation of your data.

B. Discuss scenarios where locking shapes can prevent errors or confusion in data presentation
  • Data entry forms: Locking shapes in data entry forms can prevent accidental movement or deletion of important input fields, ensuring data accuracy.
  • Data tables and charts: Locking shapes around data tables and charts can prevent accidental alterations to the visual representation of data, maintaining its integrity.
  • User interaction: When creating interactive dashboards or reports, locked shapes can control user interactions and prevent unintended modifications.


Locking shapes in Excel is important for maintaining the integrity of your data and ensuring that your layout remains consistent. By locking shapes, you can prevent accidental movements or deletions, and maintain the professional appearance of your spreadsheet. The benefits of this feature are evident in streamlining your workflow and reducing the risk of errors.

I encourage all Excel users to practice locking shapes and experiment with this feature to discover its full potential for better data management. Take the time to explore how locking shapes can enhance your Excel experience and improve the efficiency of your tasks.

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