Protecting Your Work

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Getting Orientated with Exl-Plan > Protecting Your Work

Introduction

To minimize the possibility of corruption of formulae, without restricting potential for expansion or tailoring, Exl-Plan contains extensive safeguards to protect and lock ranges, worksheets and workbooks. These can be removed by experienced users.

The best ways to protect an Exl-Plan model are to:

Make regular use of Exl-Plan's error-trapping facilities (*Tools/Setup > Calculate All & Check or the "C" button) to check for errors connected with formulae and data entry - see Avoiding Calculation Errors for further information.
Make frequent back-up copies of error-free files using incrementing file names e.g. PLAN-1, Plan-2 and so on.

In theory, either Excel's or Exl-Plan’s global workbook protection facilities can be used to prevent accidental changes to formulae. Unfortunately, this also restricts the functioning of Excel's and Exl-Plan's menus and leads to error messages etc. when invoking various menu options or buttons. In practice, the *Protection > Protect All Worksheets menu option is the most satisfactory method of globally protecting Exl-Plan.

Protection Facilities

To minimize possible disruption to formulae etc., Exl-Plan contains the following protection facilities:

When Exl-Plan loads, all its worksheets are automatically protected.
Exl-Plan's facilities for entering rows of assumption values will not operate if initiated while the cursor is located at a locked cell.
As supplied, all cells within Exl-Plan are locked with the exception of the unlocked values located inside the rectangular, cream, boxed-in areas assigned to assumption values within assumption reports. Unlocked values are shown in blue and located in rows opposite green  ->> or <<->> arrows.

Selected cell ranges can be locked or unlocked using the options within the *Protection menu or the corresponding buttons on the toolbar. Once locked, cells cannot be changed and their values are black-colored on a white background. Values in unlocked cells are automatically colored blue on a cream background whenever Exl-Plan facilities for unlocking cells are used.

To remove protection from an assumption range, use *Protection > Unlock Range or its corresponding "unlock" toolbar button. To protect a range, select it with the cursor and use *Protection > Lock Range or its corresponding "lock" toolbar button.

The *Protection menu includes options for protecting individual sheets or for protecting all worksheets simultaneously.

To remove protection from a single report, use *Protection > Unprotect This Worksheet or its corresponding "U" toolbar button. To protect a single report, use *Protection > Protect This Worksheet or its corresponding "P" toolbar button.

The *Tools/Setup > Clear All Assumption Reports or *Tools/Setup > Clear Current Assumption Report menu options only clear unlocked assumption values within Exl-Plan's assumption reports (as well as unlocked cells in columns used for the prior-year income statement within the Income Statements and opening balance sheet in the Balance Sheets).
 
These facilities ignore protected assumptions within assumption reports as well as all locked and unlocked formulae and text within these reports. As this approach could lead to a failure to remove all assumptions, Exl-Plan automatically checks whether all assumptions have been successfully removed. If it issues an advisory message, systematically check all assumption reports for formulae and text within assumption areas. A warning is issued if all assumption values have not been removed when clearing all assumption reports.

Avoiding Problems

To protect the integrity of Exl-Plan, the following actions should not be done:

Alter Exl-Plan's toolbar, buttons, dialog boxes, macro modules, range names or worksheet names. If these are changed in any way, either by accident or design, PlanWare - Invest-Tech cannot accept any responsibility for support or give help with restoration of a modified file. It is a user's responsibility to ensure that a fully intact copy of Exl-Plan is always available as a backup or fall back.
Delete rows within Exl-Plan reports. Instead, hide unused rows or use the blank areas below assumption reports to construct detailed schedules (see Making Simple Changes for more guidance).
To hide unused rows within Exl-Plan’s assumption reports, unprotect the appropriate worksheet (*Protection or U toolbar button), display the row/column headers (via Tools > Options . select View tab and tick Row & column header) and then select the rows to be hidden.
Note that there is an option at *Tools/Setup > No Empty Rows Printed to specify whether empty rows (i.e. containing values totaling to zero) are printed within output (but not assumption) reports. This is very effective at suppressing unused rows.
Change formulae unless a backup copy of the XLS file has been made and you are sufficiently experienced with Exl-Plan to understand the knock-on consequences of any such change.
Alter variable descriptions in a row within column A of reports unless the change is cosmetic and in accordance with the underlying logic of the row's assumptions or formulae. However, you can change descriptions shown in blue in column A.
Rename an Exl-Plan XLS file using Windows Explorer as this will cause the file to 'lose' all references to its toolbar. Instead, use Excel to load the file and then save it with the desired new name. If you do 'lose' the Exl-Plan toolbar, use *Tools/Setup > Reset Toolbar Buttons.
Move assumption values by dragging them or using Cut & Paste within reports as this will disrupt formulae. Instead, use Copy & Paste and then delete the copied item.

See Also:

Changing Exl-Plan

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