Excel.Tips.Net ExcelTips (Menu Interface)

Using Macros in Protected Workbooks

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Using Macros in Protected Workbooks.

Lori had a problem with a workbook she wanted to share with others. The workbook contained a macro, but whenever the workbook is protected to prevent others from making changes to the workbook, Lori reports that "the macro is disabled."

Lori's exact problem is a little hard to reproduce, as testing shows that macros are still available in both protected worksheets and protected workbooks. You can still display the Macros dialog box and see the list of available macros. You can still choose one of the macros and run it.

Of course, seeing and running the macros may not be Lori's problem; it could be that the macro fails to run correctly when used on a protected worksheet. If that is the case, the problem typically only crops up if the macro is attempting to perform some action that violates the protection applied to the worksheet. For instance, if the protection doesn't allow for rows or columns to be deleted and the macro tries to do such, then it won't work.

The solution in this case is to modify your macro so that it unprotects the worksheet before making its changes. The following shows the basics of how this is done:

Sub ModifyProtectedSheet()
    ActiveSheet.Unprotect password:="yourpassword"

    'work on the worksheet here

    ActiveSheet.Protect password:="yourpassword", _
      DrawingObjects:=True, Contents:=True, Scenarios:=True
End Sub

The first line of this example unprotects the worksheet, you can then perform your processing, and then the last line again protects it. If your workbook uses protection, then the same technique can be used with the workbook—unprotect it, then make changes, then reprotect it.

Lori's problem could also be related to the word "sharing," which she used in her problem statement. If, by sharing, Lori means using Share Workbook to make the workbook "sharable" by others, then you will see a warning when sharing is activated. The warning indicates that macros cannot be "viewed or edited" in shared workbooks. This does not, however, mean that the macros are disabled, since you can still display the Macros dialog box to see a list of macros and choose one to run. You cannot, however, display the VBA Editor and look at the actual macro code.

Finally, there are some features of Excel that are simply disabled in shared workbooks. If your macro tries to perform any of these disabled actions, it won't work properly. This is a limitation of Excel, and there is nothing that can be done about it. (For more information on what cannot be done in a shared workbook, use the online help system and search for "shared workbooks, limitations.") The only way around these limitations is to not share the workbook.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2833) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Using Macros in Protected Workbooks.

Related Tips:

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

raihan    27 Aug 2015, 01:48
i want to know how enable macro username and password input in aexcel file
jon    08 May 2015, 02:09
Is anyway to bypass the limitation of the shared workbook? I have one workbook with macro enabled which extract data from database and run calculation. I want to make the file shared as I need more than one user to have their inputs as inputs as my calculation run by Macro.

see my blog http://www.computerzero.com
Nephi Safford    19 Jan 2015, 19:17
Update to Office 2010 SP2 and the problem goes away.
Petros    08 Dec 2014, 22:16
I accidentally discovered a simple trick to make VBA viewable in Shared Workbooks. You can now edit, record or create new macros in a shared workbook. Read more:


Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.