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  1. #1
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    Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    I have a workbook that I would like to share with other people, but I would like to prevent them from passing it onward to others and, if possible, prevent them from using the workbook after a certain date.

    Any thoughts on how to accomplish this?

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    Super Moderator WebGenii's Avatar
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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    I'd be interested if anyone disagrees with me, but I don't think that there is anyway that you can prevent someone from passing a file on, once you've given a copy to them. Perhaps under some networking systems - but not in a PC environment.
    For the second part of your question, I think with VBA there would be a method of closing a file, past it's "sell by" date. In fact, I vaguely recall a previous thread discussing same. Perhaps a Search is order.

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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    As Webgenii says there is no way too prevent distribution of a file, however, you could set a password to open the Workbook and distribute that Password only to designated Users. Also, a "Use By" date which is coded can be defeated by the user electing not to run macros.
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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    I've considered using some elementary form of VBA, but its not fool-proof since the user could disable the VBA upon opening. The second tier response would be to include one or more custom functions in the VBA the absence of which would trigger #ERRs throughout the model. A good user might be able to edit out the cell containing the custom formula and retain the structure of the workbook.

    How might it be different in a network environment? Could a workbook 'phone home' with/for web-based authorization code. I'm not much of an HTMLer, so this might have to be as simple as testing for the presence/absence of a particular web-page signifying the authority of that specific user to use the workbook.

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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    Phoning Home is subject to the same disable-VBA limitations. A better solution may be to have a single shareable WB which is accessed on a shared network drive, and can only be opened with a password. An unauthorized user would have to know where to find it, and would then have to crack it, which should be grounds for termination with prejudice.
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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    Taking it one step further. If the file is placed on a shared drive, you could grant rights to the file for those folks you want to have access to it. The rights assignment is handled a little bit differently in Novel vs NT vs W2K but the concept is the same.

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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    Yeah!

    I meant to say that!

    And did you know I invented the Internet? <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
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    Super Moderator WebGenii's Avatar
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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    But if they can open the file - they should be able to save a copy to their own local machine - and out it gets into the wild! You'd have to disable saving.

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    [b]Catharine Richardson (WebGenii)
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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    Excel's protection passwords are far from secure, and any determined user that has access to all of the password crackers on the WWW can break into your code and defeat it.

    One thing that you can do to keep the user from simply disableing macros on startup is to hide all of the worksheets in the workbook except one that says that macros must be enabled to use the workbook. Then have an Open event routine hide that sheet and unhide the real sheets.
    Legare Coleman

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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    If the workbook is going to be used in a networked environment, you could check whether the orginal location is where you expect it to be (Thisworkbook.Path). If not, just don't show the sensitive sheets. You might even go as far as deleting them all (but one harmless one telling the user "Gotcha" <g>) and saving the workbook, rendering it useless. All depends on the situation.
    Jan Karel Pieterse
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    Re: Controlling the re-distribution of a workbook (XL XP)

    Ah, your name then is really Al Gore!

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