Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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 October 15, 2021)


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.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9639) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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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What is two less than 8?

2021-10-21 05:09:10


A simpler way as any indicator could be missed or overlooked is to have a macro apply the protection whenever the workbook is saved or closed.
To avoid embedding the password in the macro itself, store in a small text file held only on the authors computer which is read by the macro.

2021-10-20 15:23:58

J. Woolley

@Billy Thomas
This function will do what you suggested:

Function CalculationMode() As String
Select Case Application.Calculation
Case xlCalculationManual
CalculationMode = "Manual"
Case xlCalculationAutomatic
CalculationMode = "Automatic"
Case xlCalculationSemiautomatic
CalculationMode = "Semiautomatic"
Case Else
CalculationMode = "Unknown"
End Select
End Function

Put this formula in a cell:
The result will update whenever the worksheet is recalculated.

The CalculationMode function is not included in My Excel Toolbox, but these two functions can be found there:
ListAppProperties([SkipIgnored], [SkipHeader])
IsProtected([Choice], [Target])

2021-10-19 07:53:23

Billy Thomas

Good tip! IS there a way to show if "Calculation" is set to Auto or Manual?

2019-03-01 13:07:30

J. Woolley

Here's a generalized version of the UDF described in the Tip. (Apologies for poor VBA code format when posting comments here.)

Public Function IsProtected(Optional ByVal Target As Range = Nothing, Optional ByVal Choice As Variant = 0) As Variant
' User-Defined Function (UDF) to return the protection status (True or False) of Target's Worksheet or Workbook
' Default Target is the cell referencing this function (error if referenced in a VBA statement)
' Default Choice is 0 (or "contents")
' If Choice = 3 or "scenarios" return True if the Worksheet's scenarios are protected
' If Choice = 2 or "interface" return True if the Worksheet's user interface is protected (but not its macros)
' If Choice = 1 or "shapes" return True if the Worksheet's shapes are protected
' If Choice = 0 or "contents" return True if the Worksheet's contents are protected (this is the default Choice)
' If Choice = -1 or "sheets" return True if the order of the Workbook's sheets are protected
' If Choice = -2 or "windows" return True if the Workbook's windows are protected
' Feb 2019 by J. Woolley
If Target Is Nothing Then Set Target = Application.ThisCell
If Not IsNumeric(Choice) Then Choice = LCase(Choice)
Select Case Choice
Case 3, "scenarios": IsProtected = Target.Parent.ProtectScenarios
Case 2, "interface": IsProtected = Target.Parent.ProtectionMode
Case 1, "shapes": IsProtected = Target.Parent.ProtectDrawingObjects
Case 0, "contents": IsProtected = Target.Parent.ProtectContents
Case -1, "sheets": IsProtected = Target.Parent.Parent.ProtectStructure
Case -2, "windows": IsProtected = Target.Parent.Parent.ProtectWindows
Case Else: IsProtected = CVErr(xlErrValue) ' #VALUE! (Error 2015)
End Select

End Function

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