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Preventing Printing

If you are working with a sensitive worksheet, you may wonder if it is possible to prevent a user from actually printing the worksheet. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way short of making sure the user doesn't have a printer attached to their system.

You can, depending on your version of Excel, customize the program so the print-related commands are removed from the toolbars and menus. You can also replace Excel's built-in print commands with commands that do nothing. However, that doesn't stop people from actually doing a screen print of what is on the computer screen, thereby ending up with the information on a printout. In addition, people could bypass executing the macros by disabling them when the workbook is loaded. Another way around such customizations is for the user to simply copy text from the print-inhibited worksheet and paste it into a new worksheet that has no such customizations. The worksheet could then easily be printed.

You can also try non-Excel solutions, such as using Adobe Acrobat to create a protected PDF file that cannot be printed. However, even then the user could still do a screen print of what they see.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3323) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!


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