I Finally Found It!
I literally searched for years to find a reliable program that could protect VBA projects from all the readily available methods to bypass the built-in Microsoft VBA protection methods. The built-in VBA password protection Microsoft provides is extremely unreliable — I even sell an add-in called Password Recovery that can unlock the VBA projects you forgot your password to.
But my years and years of searching came to an end when a developer friend of mine told me he wanted to build some software that could protect VBA code from the lion’s share of methods to bypass current VBA protection. The Unviewable+ project was born and was placed on the fundraising website Indiegogo to attempt to provide support for the project. The project ended up surpassing the target goal by 180%!
Since this application is brand new and may be hard to find through Google, I wanted to create a dedicated page so you can find out what this protection software is all about and if it might be the right choice for you to purchase.
Here is a behind-the-scenes video of how I use this program to protect the products on this website: VIDEO
What Others Are Saying
How It Works
Unviewable+ has an extremely simple interface and gets you protecting your Excel, PowerPoint, or Word VBA projects fast! First, you will want to make a backup copy (or two) of your file because once it gets put through Unviewable+, that code is going to be out of your grasp. This means that any edits you need to do to your VBA code will have to have been completed in your backup file and a new file will have to be put through Unviewable+. So let’s take a look at how easy it is to protect your VBA projects.
Notice below that there are some very big names in the Excel world supporting this application. They were not only major funders of this app but also offered feature ideas and their time testing the beta version of Unviewable+. A few Microsoft MVPs also helped out with testing as well.
Different Levels Of Protection
Unviewable+ offers a few different levels of protection based on how compatible you want your code to be and how difficult it would be for someone to hack into your code. I would note that all methods of protection provided by this software are viable options and only a seasoned hacker on a mission is going to be able to bypass any of these protection strengths. Your average data analyst or IT person is not going to have a clue how to get to your code.
The great thing about having so many protection options is that you can start with the highest protection strength (Ultimate) and if one of your users runs into issues, you can lower the protection strength in a separate version until you can provide a compatible file for that individual’s system.
I personally recommend going with the settings shown above (Medium Strength and Multi-Layer Protection) as it is a bit more forgiving if you are unable to trap all your errors. All these nuances are documented in a READ ME file that comes with your purchase. Below is a brief description of what every option means/does.
Protection Type Descriptions
Standard modules will be hidden (classes and userforms will still be visible). The VBA project won’t be locked, so any module type can be added and saved. Procedures can be called from hidden modules, but VBA code cannot be read from them using the VBA extensibility library.
UNVIEWABLE PASSWORD-PROTECTED VBA PROJECT
Unviewable password-protected VBA projects are less secure than the equivalent locked projects, as recovery information has to be maintained within the file.
Unviewable password-protected projects can be made visible and re-locked if required. This setting is provided for developers who need to maintain their code, without having to publish updates to replace locked files. The project cannot be restored by the application if the unviewable password is lost.
UNVIEWABLE LOCKED VBA PROJECT
Permanent protection. Please ensure that you have a backup copy of your source file before locking a VBA project with this setting. Locked VBA projects cannot be made visible by the application.
Protection Level Descriptions
VbaDiff is a must-have source control and code differencing application. This least secure level is being offered to allow developers to work with VbaDiff and unviewable VBA projects.
Similar protection as in the previous level, but VBA projects cannot be read by the VbaDiff application.
A good option if the Ultimate protection restrictions conflict with your setup. Also an ideal setting for beta VBA applications or projects with poor error-handling (ie the Debug message box may pop up when users do something wrong).
The most secure unviewable setting. However, it comes with 2 restrictions:
Public macros can neither be run from a shortcut key (e.g. Ctrl+D) nor are visible in the macro name box (on the developer tab) when using the ultimate setting. Please use a ribbon UI to launch macros.
The Debug button is enabled in untrapped runtime errors and it should not be clicked by Excel 2007-2010 users. Please ensure that your VBA project has robust error handling when distributing files locked with this setting to Office 2007-2010 users.
The application can create a source backup copy if the backup option is checked. The unviewable protection can only be removed from unviewable password-protected files. Locked VBA projects cannot be restored. It’s up to software publishers to maintain their own source code versions of locked VBA projects. We believe that it’s worth it for the added security.
A hidden date-time stamp will be added when the file is locked.
The ‘licensed to’ text will be used to add a hidden copyright stamp inside the file
Please ensure this option is checked when locking add-ins (.xlam)
What The End User Sees
Your users will never be prompted to type in a password as Unviewable tricks Visual Basic. This is all they’ll see!
Go To The Spreadsheet1 Store & Pick It Up!
Currently, Unviewable+ is offered in four different licensing options (depending on individual or company licensing needs). At the time of this article being written, the single-user license option is priced at $100. I have heard rumblings of a price increase so I cannot guarantee that is still the current price, but if you click the button below you will be taken to the purchase page that will show you all the current prices. Enjoy!
If you still have questions about this product before making a purchase, there is a bunch more information over on the Spreadsheet1 website.
Leave Your Reviews Below!
If you have already purchased Unviewable+, feel free to leave a review below so others can learn from your experiences with the program.