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: Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size.

Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 9, 2016)

April described an all-too-common situation in an office environment: you create a worksheet, get it looking just right, protect it, and then allow others to make changes to the unprotected cells. When you get the worksheet back, there have been changes to the page setup and the formatting that makes the worksheet look different than what you intended.

There are a couple approaches you can take with this problem. The first is to divide your input and output into separate sheets. Create a worksheet where the user can enter their data, and then create an output worksheet that you use to print the data. The output worksheet simply grabs data from the input worksheet through the use of cell references and formulas. Since the user doesn't have access to the output worksheet, then it can't get mucked up.

If the worksheet has been protected, Excel 97 doesn't allow the user to change the formatting of any cells, locked or unlocked. (Formatting changes can be explicitly allowed or prohibited in later versions of Excel.) The only exception is if the user copies formatted cells from another worksheet and pastes them into unlocked cells in the protected worksheet. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this, short of using the input sheet/output sheet method already described.

As far as page setup is concerned, Excel allows the page setup (margins, etc.) to be modified, even on a protected worksheet. The best workaround is to create a macro that will set the page setup configuration as you want it, and have the macro run automatically before the worksheet is printed. (Just assign the macro to the BeforePrint event for the workbook.)

If the other user still monkeys around with the settings in a way that rendered the output of the workbook non-standard or even unusable, you may need to resort to non-Excel means to assure compliance. :>)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2559) 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: Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size.

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 without Track Changes Marks

If your document has a lot of markup visible in it, you may want to print a copy of the document that doesn't reflect those ...

Discover More

Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time

Got a bunch of charts that you need to make formatting changes in? You can use a macro (or two) to apply the formatting ...

Discover More

Working with Elapsed Time

Work with times in a worksheet and you will eventually want to start working with elapsed times. Here's an explanation of ...

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)

Merge and Center Not Available

What are you to do if you are trying to format a worksheet, only to find out that one of the tools you need is not available? ...

Discover More

Changing Font Color

There are any number of reasons to format different cells in different colors. Excel allows you to easily change the color ...

Discover More

Automatically Copying Formatting

It's easy to automatically set the contents of one cell to be equal to another cell. But what if you want to copy the ...

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. 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 7 + 5?

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.