Selecting Combo Boxes in Locked Worksheets

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 1, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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. ...

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