Too Many Cell Formats

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 21, 2016)

ExcelTips subscriber Monark Panchal was distressed that he tried to open a workbook and received an error message that said "too many different cell formats." He could not even work on the file at that point.

The only mention that Microsoft has of this error message is detailed in their Knowledge Base, article 213904. You can find this article here:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/213904

Don't worry that the article's title indicates it is for the Mac; it still applies to PC versions of Excel, as well. It is interesting that the description provided by Microsoft indicates that this message pops up as you apply the formatting that pushes Excel over the formatting limit. The resolution is to then make changes that bring the number of formats in the workbook below that threshold.

The problem here is that Monark cannot even get the workbook open to reduce the number of formats--Excel detects the error condition, and then refuses to continue loading. It is reasonable to assume that Monark would have seen notification of the error prior to closing the workbook. If no notification occurred (the first occurrence was when trying to open the workbook), then it is possible that the workbook is, in fact, corrupted and that Excel simply thinks there are too many formats.

Regardless, Microsoft's solution in Knowledge Base article 213904 cannot be applied to a closed file. The only solution is to revert to a saved backup of the workbook and open it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1938) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Cross-Referencing Index Entries

You've probably seen an index where an entry says something like "Obsidian: See igneous rock." This sort of ...

Discover More

Setting Spell-Checking Options

The spell checker can come in handy when entering data in a worksheet. Because the type of data you enter can vary so much ...

Discover More

Linking to a Specific Page in a PDF File

The HYPERLINK function is great for linking to Web pages and some other resources, but it won't allow you to access a target ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Displaying Latitude and Longitude

If you work with geographic data, you may need a way to display latitude and longitude in a worksheet. This tip examines ...

Discover More

Changing Character Spacing

Excel allows you to adjust spacing between cell walls and the contents of those cells. It does not, however, allow you to ...

Discover More

Changing Font Size Using a Shortcut Key

Want to adjust the font size used in a cell or range of cells? It's easy to do by using the shortcut described in this tip.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 0 + 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.