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: Visually Showing a Protection Status.

Visually Showing a Protection Status

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 11, 2015)

Todd has developed a workbook used by others. To prevent data from being ruined, he's protected the worksheet as well as the workbook. The problem is, Todd sometimes forgets to protect the worksheet and workbook after making changes. He is wondering if there is a way to create a visual indicator that shows whether the worksheet/workbook is currently protected or unprotected.

Of course, the easiest way to check to see if something is unprotected is to just start looking at the tools on the various ribbon tabs. If the full range of tools is there, then the worksheet and workbook are unprotected. If there are significant numbers of tools that are unavailable ("grayed out"), then protection is turned on.

Another easy solution is to create a user-defined function that returns a value indicating whether the workbook or worksheet are protected. The following will do the trick:

Function WksProtected(rng As Range) As String
    Application.Volatile
    If rng.Parent.ProtectContents Then
        WksProtected = "Protected"
    Else
        WksProtected = "Not Protected"
    End If
End Function
Function WkbProtected(rng As Range) As String
    Application.Volatile
    If rng.Parent.Parent.ProtectStructure Then
        WkbProtected = "Protected"
    Else
        WkbProtected = "Not Protected"
    End If
End Function

To use the macros, just include formulas like the following anywhere in the worksheet:

=WksProtected(A1)
=WkbProtected(A1)

The result of the formulas is either "Protected" or "Not Protected," depending on the state of the worksheets and workbook. You could use conditional formatting to highlight the cells based on what is returned by the functions.

Remember: The value from the functions is only updated if the worksheet is recalculated. If all you do is protect (or unprotect) the worksheet, that doesn't result in the worksheet being recalculated. So to see the proper results after changing the protection status, you'll need to make sure you recalculate the worksheet.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9639) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Visually Showing a Protection Status.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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