Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Unprotecting Groups of Worksheets.

Unprotecting Groups of Worksheets

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 5, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


3

Excel allows you to protect and unprotect worksheets. The purpose, of course, is to allow others to use your workbook, but not to modify certain cells within each worksheet.

Since protection is done at a worksheet level, it can be major pain to step through each worksheet in a workbook and either protect or unprotect them. If you have 25 worksheets, you must activate each worksheet, do the protect or unprotect, and move on to the next one.

A less time-consuming method of protecting each worksheet in a workbook is to use a macro to do the actual work. The following macro will do the trick:

Sub ProtectAllSheets()
    Dim ws As Worksheet
    Dim sOrigSheet As String
    Dim sOrigCell As String

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    sOrigSheet = ActiveSheet.Name
    sOrigCell = ActiveCell.Address

    For Each ws In Worksheets
        ws.Select
        ws.Protect Password:="Password"
    Next ws

    Application.GoTo Reference:=Worksheets("" _
      & sOrigSheet & "").Range("" & sOrigCell & "")
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

The macro to unprotect all the worksheets is only slightly different:

Sub UnProtectAllSheets()
    Dim ws As Worksheet
    Dim sOrigSheet As String
    Dim sOrigCell As String

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    sOrigSheet = ActiveSheet.Name
    sOrigCell = ActiveCell.Address

    For Each ws In Worksheets
        ws.Select
        ws.Unprotect Password:="Password"
    Next ws

    Application.GoTo Reference:=Worksheets("" _
      & sOrigSheet & "").Range("" & sOrigCell & "")
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

While these macros will work just fine, there are a couple of caveats. First, you need to make sure that the Password variable in each macro is set to the proper password for your worksheets. (This assumes, of course, that all the worksheets use the same passwords.) The second caveat is that since the macro has to include the password, the overall security of your workbook may be compromised—anyone that can display the macros will know what the passwords are for your workbooks.

As a solution to this last problem, you could modify the macros so that they ask for a password to use in their work. The following would be the version of the macro that protects worksheets:

Sub ProtectAllSheetsPass()
    Dim ws As Worksheet
    Dim sOrigSheet As String
    Dim sOrigCell As String
    Dim sPWord As String

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    sOrigSheet = ActiveSheet.Name
    sOrigCell = ActiveCell.Address

    sPWord = InputBox("What password?", "Protect All")
    If sPWord > "" Then
        For Each ws In Worksheets
            ws.Select
            ws.Protect Password:=sPWord
        Next ws
    End If
    Application.GoTo Reference:=Worksheets("" _
      & sOrigSheet & "").Range("" & sOrigCell & "")
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

The macro displays an input box asking for the password. The same password is then used to protect every worksheet in the workbook. The same sort of change can be done to the macro that unprotects all the worksheets.

Note:

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 (13075) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Unprotecting Groups of Worksheets.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Counting Open Document Windows

When creating macros, it is sometimes necessary to know how many documents are open in Word. This is relatively easy to ...

Discover More

Determining a Worksheet's Number

When you add a new worksheet to a workbook, it receives a meaningful name such as "Sheet4" or "Sheet17." If you want to ...

Discover More

Creating Documents that Don't Use Embedded Fonts

Creating a PDF file from a Word document is easier than it used to be. Getting that PDF to contain exactly what you want ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Digital Signatures for Macros

The security features built into Excel allow you to digitally sign your macros so that users can rest assured that they ...

Discover More

Removing a Directory

Macros allow you to perform all sorts of file-related operations. One such operation allows you to delete a directory. ...

Discover More

Easily Changing the Default Drive and Directory

Need a quick way to change the default drive and directory in a macro you are writing? Here's the commands to do it and a ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 three less than 9?

2020-10-23 02:40:36

Alex B

@Nanika, I am a little confused on what you are trying to do if you (in terms of this tip) if you don't have a password protected sheet(s).
If you mean its protected but with a blank password / no password, then you can unprotect with this:-
Sub UnProtectAllSheets()

Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Dim ws As Worksheet

For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
ws.unprotect Password:=""
Next ws
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

If you are saying you don't have the password then you need a password recovery tool


2020-10-22 12:53:46

Nanika

Hi,

This macro is helpful, but what if I don't have password protected sheets?

Thank you,

Nanika


2020-09-05 10:01:23

Alex B

On the premise that you want to avoid the using the select statement, just by removing the ws.select, you can shrink the code down to this.
Without the select you never moved off the original position, so you don't need to remember it and reset it.

Sub ProtectAllSheets()
Dim ws As Worksheet
Application.ScreenUpdating = False

For Each ws In Worksheets
ws.Protect Password:="Password"
Next ws

Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub


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
Subscribe

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.