Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Limiting Who Can Delete Data.

Limiting Who Can Delete Data

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 1, 2017)

Jim has a workbook that is used by multiple people in his company. He wonders if there is a way to allow everyone to add data to a group of cells, yet restrict who can delete the data from the cells. He has a group of about 50 that he wants to be able to add data, but he wants to give the delete capability to just 2 individuals.

There are any number of macro-based solutions you can try. Essentially, you need a macro to detect when information has been deleted and then check to see if the person deleting the information has permission to do so. The following is just one possible approach to the issue:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Dim sPassCheck As String
    Dim rng As Range
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim sPassword As String

    sPassword = "Password"
    sTemp = "You must enter the password to delete data"

    'Use to set a single cell if more than one cell is
    'in the target range
    If Target.Count > 1 Then
        Set rng = Target.Cells(1, 1)
        Set rng = Target
    End If

    If rng.Value = "" Then
        sPassCheck = InputBox(sTemp, "Delete check!")
        Application.EnableEvents = False
        If sPassCheck <> sPassword Then Application.Undo
    End If

    Application.EnableEvents = True
End Sub

The macro, which is actually an event handler triggered whenever something in the worksheet is changed, checks to see if the information in a cell (or top-left cell in a range) was deleted. If so, then the user is asked for a password. If the person doesn't have the password, then the Undo method is invoked to "undo" the person's deletion. (You'll want to change the password, assigned to the sPassword variable) to the actual password you want people to use.)

Another option is to use an Excel add-in that can take care of the security issues for you. Some subscribers suggest using A-Tools, which comes in either a free or pro (paid) edition. You can find more information about this add-in here:

A-Tools, among other things, apparently allows you to apply various security features to Excel data that resides on a network. (Chances are good that Jim is sharing his workbook on a network, as it is used by many people in his company.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11598) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Limiting Who Can Delete Data.

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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