Unique Name Entry, Take Two

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 28, 2013)

Chris uses a data validation technique that successfully stops non-unique information from being entered in a column. (This technique was described in previous issues of ExcelTips.) He rightfully notes that there is still a problem with data validation, however: Someone can paste information into a cell and successfully bypass all the checks in place.

For instance, if you type "George" into cell A8, and then type "George" into A9, regular data validation will generate an error, as one would expect, indicating that the value you are trying to enter is not unique. However, if you type "George" into cell A8, copy that cell and paste it into cell A9, no data validation error is triggered--the paste is allowed.

There is no direct way around this in Excel. You can, however, cause Excel to do some checking whenever you try to do a paste. Consider the following macro:

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each TmpRng In Target
        TmpVal = TmpRng.Validation.Type
        If TmpVal > 0 Then
            If Application.CutCopyMode = 1 Then
                MsgBox "You cannot paste into validated cells."
                Application.CutCopyMode = False
                Exit Sub
            End If
        End If
    Next
End Sub

This macro is only run when the selection changes in a worksheet. (This code needs to be in the code window for a worksheet.) It examines the target cells (the ones being selected), and if the user is trying to paste into a cell that has validation active, it will not allow it. Further, the user will see a dialog box that indicates the error.

You should note that this routine just checks to see if pasting into a data-validated cell is being done. If it is, then an error is generated. The routine does not check to see if what is being pasted is actually permissible under the validation rules in the target cells; that would be much more complex and require quite a bit more coding.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2449) 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

Printing a Range of Pages

If your worksheet, when printed, requires more than a single page to print, you may want to only print a range of the ...

Discover More

Toggling AutoFilter

Want a tool that will help you toggle AutoFilter on and off? Excel provides some tools you can use, but you need to be ...

Discover More

Floating Information in a Frozen Row

You can freeze information in rows or columns using one of the built-in features of Excel. As you move up or down in the ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Can't Copy Data between Workbooks

Edit a group of workbooks at the same time and you probably will find yourself trying to copy information from one of those ...

Discover More

Copying to Very Large Ranges

Using the mouse to select a large cell range can be frustratingly slow. If you want to make copying to a large range of cells ...

Discover More

Exact Formula Copies

When you copy a formula from one cell to another, Excel normally adjusts the cell references within the formula so they are ...

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 for this tip:

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. 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 eight more than 7?

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


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.

Links and Sharing
Share