Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Protecting Worksheets from Deletion.

Protecting Worksheets from Deletion

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 15, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Chris has a workbook composed of two control worksheets that contain setup data. The workbook's user runs macros that create many new worksheets in the workbook. The user then deletes any unwanted worksheets. Chris wants to make sure that the two control worksheets aren't deleted by mistake.

This can be accomplished, to some extent, by protecting the structure of the workbook, as described in other ExcelTips. This protects the workbook structure from being changed, such that the user can't add or delete worksheets. Since you want the user able to add and delete worksheets, you'd need to make two changes to how the workbook is used:

  • Modify the macro that adds worksheets so that it removes the workbook protection before adding the sheets and then reinstates the protection after the sheets are added.
  • Add a macro function that deletes worksheets. The macro could check to make sure that the user isn't trying to delete the control worksheets. If it is OK for the user to delete a particular worksheet, the macro would remove workbook protection, delete the sheet, and then reinstate the protection.

Another approach is to create duplicates of the control sheets in the workbook. Make the worksheets hidden, which will protect them to a degree. Your macros could then check to see if the non-hidden control sheets were deleted. If they were, then the macro could create another control sheet by copying the hidden version of the control sheets.

Still another approach is to modify the macro that currently adds a bunch of worksheets to the workbook. The modification would create a "backup" workbook that contains the controls sheets. Later, before closing the workbook, a macro can be invoked that checks for the control sheets. If they are not present, then the macro copies them from the backup workbook. If they are present, then the backup workbook can be deleted.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11651) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Protecting Worksheets from Deletion.

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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