Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Functioning Check Boxes in a Protected Worksheet.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 7, 2016)
Dave developed a worksheet that uses yes/no check boxes, combined with a true/false statement to update another cell. He wants to protect the worksheet, but still be able to update the check boxes, but this doesn't seem to be possible. When he protects the worksheet, the check boxes cannot be changed.
The thing to remember in working with check boxes (from the Controls group on the Developer tab of the ribbon) is that there are two things you need to explicitly unprotect: the check box itself and the cell to which the check box is linked. To unprotect the check box, right-click on it and choose Format Control. Excel displays the Format Control dialog box. On the Protection tab, make sure the Locked check box is cleared.
Check boxes are also linked to specific cells in a worksheet. (See the Control tab of the Format Control dialog box or, if you are using ActiveX controls, the LinkedCell property.) To unprotect the cell to which the check box is linked, select the cell and press Ctrl+Shift+F to display the Format Cells dialog box. On the Protection tab, make sure the Locked check box is cleared.
Now you can protect your workbook as you normally would, and the check boxes should work. The reason that you need to unprotect the cell to which the check box is linked is because the contents of the cell needs to be able to change as the status of the check box is modified. If the cell is not unprotected, then the contents cannot change and so the check box cannot change.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8112) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Functioning Check Boxes in a Protected Worksheet.
Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!
When you protect a worksheet, one of the benefits is that you can limit which cells can be used for data entry. How a user ...Discover More
Need to protect a lot of worksheets? Rather than protect the sheets individually, you'll appreciate the macros discussed in ...Discover More
You've protected and saved your worksheet with explicit instructions that you be allowed to insert and delete rows. But when ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.