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

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


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. ...


Displaying a Chart Legend

A legend can help explain the various lines or objects visible in a chart. Microsoft Chart allows you to turn on or off ...

Discover More

Setting Page Margins

When getting ready to print your worksheet, you may want to take a moment to check what margins Excel will use on the ...

Discover More

Limiting Input to a Format

When setting up a worksheet for others to use, you might want to make some limitations on what can be entered in certain ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Protecting Worksheets from Deletion

If you share a workbook with others in your office, you will probably want to make sure that some of the worksheets don't ...

Discover More

Forcing a Worksheet to be Protected Again

Excel allows you to protect your worksheets so they can only be changed as you want to have happen. If you unprotect a ...

Discover More

Checking Lock Status of Cells

When you first create a worksheet, all the cells in that worksheet are formatted as locked. As you unlock various cells ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

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.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.