Unique Name Entry, Take Two

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 19, 2018)

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.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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

Resetting Default Character Formatting

If you need to remove any explicit character formatting from some text, you'll want to commit the shortcut in this tip to ...

Discover More

Formatting an ASCII Table with Tabs

If you get a document from a coworker that has tabs used to line up tabular information, you might want to change that ...

Discover More

Grabbing a Screen Shot

There are times that a picture is worth a thousand words. When you need to capture a picture of what is on your screen, ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Editing the Same Cell in Multiple Sheets

When creating a workbook, you may need to make changes on one worksheet and have those edits appear on the same cells in ...

Discover More

Copying a Cell without Formatting

When you are copying a cell from one place to another (perhaps even to a different worksheet), you may not want to copy ...

Discover More

Quickly Entering Data

Excel includes a handy shortcut for entering data that is similar to whatever you entered in the cell above your entry ...

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 seven minus 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.