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Prevent Your VBA Code From Running While In Read-Only Mode

By Chris Newman •  Updated: 10/21/14 •  4 min read
Prevent Your VBA Code From Running While In Read-Only Mode

What This Does

I had an instance where I needed to prevent users from running a workbook's macros unless the workbook was editable (not read-only).  This file was used by multiple people and my colleagues were accidentally updating the workbook while somebody else was already in the file.  This poses a problem since the changes could not be saved if the file was Read-Only.  Therefore, I added some code to only run the macros when the file was NOT ready only.  This served as a good check and also prevented a bunch of confusion. Here's how I initially did it:

Sub ReadOnlyCheck()
'PURPOSE: Test if file is Read-Only
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/the-code-vault

Dim Answer As Long

'Check to see if file is Read-Only
  If ThisWorkbook.ReadOnly = True Then
    Answer = MsgBox("Someone is currently editing this file and your changes will NOT be saved.  " _
      & "Do you wish to proceed?", vbYesNo, "Read-Only File")
    
    If Answer = vbNo Then Exit Sub
  End If

'Add Your Macro Code Here...

End Sub

But Wait! There's A Bug...

The above VBA code works great but there seems to be a bug when it analyzes files that are checked out from a server (for example a SharePoint file).  Because of this bug, we have to get creative and look at the Window Caption to determine if the file is actually in Read-Only mode.  The below code shows how you can accomplish this.

Sub ReadOnlyCheck()
'PURPOSE: Test if checked out file is Read-Only (ie SharePoint file)
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/the-code-vault

Dim Answer As Long

'Ensure ThisWorkbook is active so we can read-in window caption
  ThisWorkbook.Activate
  
'Check to see if file is Read-Only
  If InStr(1, Application.Caption, "Read-Only") > 1 = True Then
    Answer = MsgBox("Someone is currently editing this file and your changes will NOT be saved.  " _
      & "Do you wish to proceed?", vbYesNo, "Read-Only File")
    
    If Answer = vbNo Then Exit Sub
  End If

'Add Your Macro Code Here...

End Sub

Using VBA Code Found On The Internet

Now that you’ve found some VBA code that could potentially solve your Excel automation problem, what do you do with it? If you don’t necessarily want to learn how to code VBA and are just looking for the fastest way to implement this code into your spreadsheet, I wrote an article (with video) that explains how to get the VBA code you’ve found running on your spreadsheet.

Getting Started Automating Excel

Are you new to VBA and not sure where to begin? Check out my quickstart guide to learning VBA. This article won’t overwhelm you with fancy coding jargon, as it provides you with a simplistic and straightforward approach to the basic things I wish I knew when trying to teach myself how to automate tasks in Excel with VBA Macros.

Also, if you haven’t checked out Excel’s latest automation feature called Power Query, I have put together a beginner’s guide for automating with Excel’s Power Query feature as well! This little-known built-in Excel feature allows you to merge and clean data automatically with little to no coding!

How Do I Modify This To Fit My Specific Needs?

Chances are this post did not give you the exact answer you were looking for. We all have different situations and it's impossible to account for every particular need one might have. That's why I want to share with you: My Guide to Getting the Solution to your Problems FAST! In this article, I explain the best strategies I have come up with over the years to get quick answers to complex problems in Excel, PowerPoint, VBA, you name it

I highly recommend that you check this guide out before asking me or anyone else in the comments section to solve your specific problem. I can guarantee that 9 times out of 10, one of my strategies will get you the answer(s) you are needing faster than it will take me to get back to you with a possible solution. I try my best to help everyone out, but sometimes I don't have time to fit everyone's questions in (there never seem to be quite enough hours in the day!).

I wish you the best of luck and I hope this tutorial gets you heading in the right direction!

Keep Learning

Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Chris is a finance professional and Excel MVP recognized by Microsoft since 2016. With his expertise, he founded TheSpreadsheetGuru blog to help fellow Excel users, where he shares his vast creative solutions & expertise. In addition, he has developed over 7 widely-used Excel Add-ins that have been embraced by individuals and companies worldwide.