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: Copying Formats to a New Worksheet.

Copying Formats to a New Worksheet

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2015)

While developing your worksheets, you may wonder if there is a way to copy all formats—including row and column dimensions—to a new worksheet. Fortunately, this is quite easy to do, and there are a couple ways to go about it.

The biggest point to remember is that column widths are attributes of columns, not of individual cells. Likewise, row height is an attribute of rows, not of cells. This means that if you want to copy the width of a column to another worksheet, you need to select the entire column before clicking on the Format Painter. Likewise, if you want to copy the height of a row, you need to first select the entire row whose format you want to copy.

To put these guidelines in perspective, try this:

  1. Display a source worksheet that has non-default formatting for rows and columns.
  2. Select a row or range of rows in the worksheet. You need to select the entire rows, not just cells within the rows. (Click on the row numbers of the rows you want to select.)
  3. Click on the Format Painter.
  4. Display a target worksheet.
  5. Select the rows to which you want the formats applied.

At this point, the rows in the target worksheet should be formatted exactly the same as the rows you selected in the source worksheet. If you selected more rows in the target worksheet than you did in the source worksheet, then the formats of the rows are repeated in the target. These same steps could be applied to columns, as well.

If you want to format the entire target worksheet so it is formatted just like the source worksheet, simply select all columns and rows (press Ctrl+A or click on the gray junction block above row 1 and to the left of column A) in step 2.

Another way to copy the formatting of the entire worksheet is to make a copy of the worksheet itself. When the copy is created, you can simply delete any information you don't need.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2567) 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: Copying Formats to a New Worksheet.

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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