Selecting Combo Boxes in Locked Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 29, 2017)

Kathy wrote to say she was having problems with a calendar she developed in Excel. It seems that when she protects her worksheet, she cannot change the selection in a combo box on the calendar.

The solution to this is relatively simple, provided you remember that every control you add to a worksheet (such as a combo box) is associated with a cell in the worksheet. Normally, when you select a value in the combo box, the change is reflected in the cell with which the combo box is associated. Thus, selecting "8" in the combo box would result in the associated cell's value being changed to 8. Likewise, if you change the cell value, the value displayed in the combo box also changes.

When you protect a worksheet, you prevent changes to any cells except those that you specify as "changeable." If Excel cannot make changes to the cell associated with a combo box (because that cell is protected), then it won't allow changes to the combo box. The solution is to make sure the cell associated with the combo box is not protected. Follow these steps:

  1. Unprotect the entire worksheet.
  2. Select the cell associated with your combo box.
  3. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Protection tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Locked check box is not selected.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Re-protect your entire worksheet.

The combo box control should now work as desired.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2691) 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

Sorting with Graphics

If the graphics that you insert in your worksheet meet a couple of simple requirements, it is possible to have those graphics ...

Discover More

Specifying a Default Building Block Location

When you create a Building Block in Word, it is saved in a particular location by default. If you want to change that default ...

Discover More

Automatic Selection of Portrait or Landscape

Should you print in portrait or in landscape? The decision can greatly affect the way your printout looks. Wouldn't it be ...

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)

Inserting and Deleting Rows in a Protected Worksheet

You've protected and saved your worksheet with explicit instructions that you be allowed to insert and delete rows. But when ...

Discover More

Protecting a Single Worksheet

Excel allows you to protect your worksheets easily—and that includes if you need to protect only a single worksheet out ...

Discover More

Checking Lock Status of Cells

When you first create a worksheet, all the cells in that worksheet are formatted as locked. As you unlock various cells on ...

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 six more than 9?

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.