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Microsoft KB Archive/106390

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Knowledge Base

XL: Unlocked Cells Not Underlined with Protection Enabled

Article ID: 106390

Article Last Modified on 10/11/2006


  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0c
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0a for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 95a
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 98 for Macintosh

This article was previously published under Q106390


In Microsoft Excel versions earlier than 5.0, while worksheet protection is enabled and gridlines are turned off, unlocked cells appear underlined. This underline identifies the cells that you can edit.

Although this feature is not available in Microsoft Excel versions 5.0 and later, this article shows how you can create a macro that allows you to simulate this behavior.


Microsoft provides programming examples for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied. This includes, but is not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This article assumes that you are familiar with the programming language that is being demonstrated and with the tools that are used to create and to debug procedures. Microsoft support engineers can help explain the functionality of a particular procedure, but they will not modify these examples to provide added functionality or construct procedures to meet your specific requirements. The following Visual Basic macro places a bottom border on all unlocked cells in a worksheet. The macro also removes any bottom border from locked cells. To create the macro:

  1. In Microsoft Excel 97 and Microsoft Excel 98 Macintosh Edition, point to Macro on the Tools menu, and then click Visual Basic Editor. On the Insert menu, click Module.

    In earlier versions of Excel, point to Macro on the Insert menu, and then click Module.
  2. In the module, type the following macro code:

         Sub Format_Unlocked_Cells()
              'Declare procedure-level variables
              Dim x As Range, lastcell As Range
              'Prevent screen redraw to speed up the macro
              Application.ScreenUpdating = False
              'Unprotect the worksheet to allow editing
              ActiveSheet.Unprotect ("my_password")
              'Set lastcell to point to the last cell on the sheet
              Set lastcell = Selection.SpecialCells(xlLastCell)
              'Place bottom borders on unlocked cells and remove any bottom
              'borders from locked cells
              For Each x In Range("A1", lastcell)
                  With x.Borders(xlBottom)
                      If x.Locked = False Then
                          .Weight = xlHairline
                          .ColorIndex = xlAutomatic
                          .LineStyle = xlNone
                      End If
                  End With
              Next x
              'Re-apply worksheet protection.
              ActiveSheet.Protect ("my_password")
          End Sub

NOTE: If you want to format a specific cell range, replace Range("A1", lastcell) with the range you want to format, for example, Range("A1:G100").

To use the macro:

  1. Switch to the worksheet that you want to format.
  2. In Microsoft Excel 97 and Microsoft Excel 98 Macintosh Edition, point to Macro on the Tools menu, and then click Macros.

In earlier versions of Excel, click Macro on the Tools menu.

  1. In the list of macros, click the Format_Unlocked_Cells macro. Click Run.


"Visual Basic User's Guide," version 5.0, Chapter 5

For additional information about getting help with Visual Basic for Applications, please click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

163435 VBA: Programming Resources for Visual Basic for Applications

Additional query words: 5.00a 5.00c 7.00a XL98 XL97 XL7 XL5

Keywords: kbdtacode kbhowto kbprogramming KB106390