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: Spell-Checking in a Protected Worksheet.

Spell-Checking in a Protected Worksheet

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 27, 2016)


Craig has a protected Excel worksheet in which he would like to spell-check a specific cell. The problem, of course, is that the spell-checker cannot be run on a protected worksheet. So, the process of doing the desired spell-checking is to unprotect the worksheet, do the check, and then again protect the worksheet.

In order to have the macro complete these steps, you must know the password used to protect the worksheet. The following simple example assumes that the password is "mypass."

Sub SpellCheckCell1()
    With ActiveSheet
        .Unprotect ("mypass")
        .Protect ("mypass")
    End With
End Sub

You'll obviously need to change the password used in the macro to the one appropriate for your worksheet. You'll also need to change the cell being checked; this macro checks cell A15. If you would rather have the macro check whatever cell is selected when the macro is run, then you can change it in this manner:

Sub SpellCheckCell2()
    With ActiveSheet
        .Unprotect ("mypass")
        .Protect ("mypass")
    End With
End Sub

Regardless of which macro you use, you can assign it to a shortcut key or a toolbar button in order to make it easy to run. (How you do these assignments has been discussed in other ExcelTips issues.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3144) 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: Spell-Checking in a Protected Worksheet.

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. ...


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What is 1 + 5?

2017-07-13 13:44:31

Ronnie Mercer

This solution does not appear to work for me. Both macros have the same problems:

1) CheckSpelling is not limited to the assigned cell or the active cell. It checks the rest of the worksheet and then asks if we want to go back and continue checking of the beginning of the worksheet.
2) It checks all the locked and unlocked cells. I would want to only spell check the unlocked cells.
3) As the protection is off the user could leave the spell check prompter and go to a locked cell and modify it.

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