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Using the Protection Object to Protect Your Worksheets

 

Michael Stowe
Microsoft Corporation

April 2001

Applies to:
   Microsoft® Excel 2002

Summary: Microsoft Excel 2002 includes new objects that expand the existing capability to protect worksheets. This article discusses those new objects and demonstrates how to programmatically protect worksheets. (4 printed pages)

Download ODC_xlwebProtSht.exe.

Contents

Introduction
The Protection Object

Assigning User Permissions to Cell Ranges

Introduction

To protect your worksheet in Microsoft Excel prior to the 2002 version, you would lock the cells that you wanted to prevent users from changing. Unfortunately, your users could not perform basic tasks such as inserting rows or columns, or formatting the cells of that same worksheet.

Thankfully, the worksheet protection model in Excel 2002 is much richer than earlier versions. You can now allow users to perform basic worksheet tasks such as inserting and deleting cells while the worksheet is protected. You can assign permissions to specific cell ranges, allowing only certain users to edit specific portions of your worksheets.

This article illustrates how to use the methods and objects that make up the protection object model in Excel 2002 to perform the following tasks:

  • Protect worksheets using the Protect method
  • Assign certain users to specific ranges on a protected worksheet
  • Auditing edit ranges that have been added to a worksheet

The Protection Object

Each worksheet in a workbook contains a Protection object. The following table describes the properties of the Protection object.

Table1. Protection object properties

Property name When True, allows user to: Read-only?
AllowDeletingColumns Delete columns on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowDeletingRows Delete rows on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowFormattingCells Format cells on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowFormattingColumns Format columns on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowFormattingRows Format rows on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowInsertingColumns Insert columns on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowInsertingRows Insert rows on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowInsertingHyperlinks Insert hyperlinks on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowFiltering Use AutoFilter on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowSorting Sort cells on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowUnsingPivotTables Use PivotTable reports on a protected worksheet. Yes
AllowEditRanges Not a Boolean property. Returns the AllowEditRanges collection. N/A

With the exception of the AllowEditRanges property, the Protection object's properties are set when you use the Protect method to protect a worksheet.

The Protect Method

The Worksheet object's Protect method has gained eleven new arguments. Each argument corresponds to the read-only properties in Table 1 above. Each new argument allows you to control whether or not the user can access some basic Excel features on a protected worksheet.

The following example protects each worksheet in the active workbook. The user is allowed to format and sort cells. By setting the AllowFormattingCells and AllowSorting arguments to True, the AllowFormattingCells and AllowSorting properties of each worksheet's Protection object is set to True.

Note that the default setting for each of the Allow… arguments is False.

Sample 1. Protect all worksheets

Sub ProtectMethodAllSheets()

   Dim shtCurrent As Worksheet

   For Each shtCurrent In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
      shtCurrent.Protect Password:="Pass", Contents:=True, _
                     DrawingObjects:=True, Scenarios:=True, _
                     AllowFormattingCells:=True, AllowSorting:=True
      Next shtCurrent

End Sub

Assigning User Permissions to Cell Ranges

Another new protection feature in Excel 2002 is the ability to assign user-level permissions to different regions on a protected worksheet. Within each edit range, you can specify the users who can edit the range without unlocking the entire worksheet. Additionally, you can specify that a user provide a range-specific password in order to make changes to the worksheet.

Each worksheet contains an AllowEditRanges collection that contains the collection of edit ranges for that worksheet. Use the AllowEditRanges property of the Protection object to return the collection of edit ranges. Use the Add method to add an AllowEditRange object to the worksheet.

The list of users for each AllowEditRange object is stored in the UserAccessList collection. The Users property of the AllowEditRange object is used to return the collection of users for the range. Use the Add method to add users to an edit range.

The AddEditRange procedure in the sample download illustrates how to create and add users to an edit range.

Auditing Edit Ranges

You may want to add several edit ranges to each worksheet in an important workbook, each with a long list of users. Unfortunately, Excel does not provide an easy way to report all of the edit ranges in a workbook. The ListEditRangesAndUsers procedure in the sample download illustrates how to create a snapshot of the edit ranges in the active workbook.

The ListEditRangesAndUsers procedure creates a report that contains the following items for each user that has been added to an edit range in the active workbook:

  • The title of the edit range
  • The cell address of the edit range
  • The user's name
  • A Boolean value indicating whether or not the user is allowed to make changes in the edit range without specifying a password
Note   The password for the edit range is not included in the report. The reason is that you cannot derive the password of an edit range programmatically. You can use the ChangePassword method to change the password of an edit range if you know the password.

The example loops through each worksheet in the active workbook, and then loops through the AllowEditRanges collection for the worksheet. The code then loops though each user that has been added to the edit range and writes the information for each user to a new workbook.

Conclusion

With the 2002 version, Excel now offers the protection features you need for greater security in the solutions you deploy to your users.

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