Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Saving Custom Formats.

Saving Custom Formats

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 23, 2016)

Excel provides quite a bit of flexibility in creating custom formats for cells in a workbook. In fact, depending on the needs of your data, you can spend quite a bit of time formatting cells so they look the way you want them to.

At some point you may get tired of doing the same formatting over and over again, and begin to wonder if there is a way to save your custom formats so you don't have to redefine them all the time. Unfortunately, there is not a full-featured way to save formats within Excel. You can get around this shortcoming quite easily, however. The trick is to define the cell formats as you want them, and then save the workbook as a template that you can later use as a basis for your future workbooks. All you need to do is use the Save As command and make sure the File Type drop-down list (at the bottom of the Save As dialog box) is set to Template.

As has been described in other issues of ExcelTips, you could replace your default workbook template with the new template you create, and then it becomes the basis for all new workbooks. All you need to do is give the template the name Book.xlt and save it in the XLSTART folder. (The XLSTART folder is in different places on different systems; use the Find feature of Windows to locate where it is on yours.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2478) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Saving Custom Formats.

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. ...


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