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: Sorting Data on Protected Worksheets.

Sorting Data on Protected Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2018)

When you protect a worksheet, Excel stops users from performing a wide variety of tasks on the data in the worksheet. One of the things that the user can no longer do is to sort data. What if you want the user to be able to sort data, but still have the sheet protected?

If you are using Excel 2002 or Excel 2003 the answer is quite easy: These versions of Excel allow you to specify what users can and cannot do with a protected worksheet. When you choose Tools | Protection | Protect Sheet, Excel displays the Protect Sheet dialog box. At the bottom of the dialog box is a long list of check boxes. All you need to do is select what the user should be able to do with the worksheet. One of the options (you need to scroll down a bit) is Sort. If you select this option, then users can sort protected data.

If you are using an older version of Excel, the solution is to create a macro that unprotects the worksheet, sorts the data, and then protects the worksheet again. The following is a simple example:

Sub Sorting()
    ActiveSheet.Unprotect
    Range("A1:D100").Sort Key1:=Range("A1"), _
      Order1:=xlAscending, Header:=xlGuess, _
      OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase:=False, _
      Orientation:=xlTopToBottom
    ActiveSheet.Protect
End Sub

This example sorts the data in the range A1:D100 based on the contents of column A. The macro illustrates the general concept behind this approach, but you will need to modify it to reflect the needs of your data and your users.

If you go the macro route, you need to assign the macro to either a toolbar button or a menu command. If you don't the user will never be able to use it, since the Macros menus are disabled in a protected document.

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 (2458) 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: Sorting Data on Protected 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

Deleting Words

Tired of pressing the Delete or Backspace key for every character you want to delete? Here's a way you can make your ...

Discover More

Stopping Date Parsing when Opening a CSV File

Excel tries to make sense out of any data that you import from a non-Excel file. Sometimes this can have unwanted ...

Discover More

Adjusting Row Height for Your Text

Want Excel to automatically adjust the height of a worksheet row when it wraps text within the cell? It's easy to do, ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Performing Complex Sorts

One way you can easily work with data in a worksheet is to sort it into whatever order you find most helpful. Excel ...

Discover More

Sorting by Columns

When you think of sorting Excel data, it is likely that you think of sorting rows. Excel also allows you to sort by ...

Discover More

Recognizing a Header Row when Sorting

When you sort data in a worksheet, there are a couple ways you can do it. Using the simple way can result in ...

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}] 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 3 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon 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.