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: Increasing Undo Levels.

Increasing Undo Levels

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 7, 2016)

As you are working with a worksheet, Excel allows you to "undo" previous actions and return your worksheet to the condition before that action was taken. Normally you use Ctrl+Z to undo an action or you can use the Undo tool on the toolbar.

By default, Excel maintains your last 16 actions, but this number of undo levels can be misleading. There are some actions that can clear out the undo stack, making it impossible to undo any previous actions. For instance, running some macro commands can cause the stack to be cleared, and saving the workbook clears the undo stack. In addition, some actions cannot be undone (they don't get placed on the stack), but the list of such actions can vary based on the version of Excel you are using.

If you find that the Undo command is simply of no use to you, there are a number of possible reasons. One common reason is that you have AutoSave set up with a very short interval. Every time you save a workbook—whether explicitly or with AutoSave—the undo stack is cleared and you cannot undo anything that happened before the save.

Another possible reason is that the number of undo levels in your installation of Excel has been changed. This cannot be done within Excel itself, but can be done in the Windows Registry. If the Registry value was changed to some very low value, then the undo tool loses meaning. The following Knowledge Base article explains how you can make changes to the proper Registry setting in Excel 2000, 2002, and 2003:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/211922

If you are using Excel 97, you can make the change following the information in this article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/162944

While you can use these techniques to increase the number of undo levels as high as you want, Microsoft suggests you don't increase the undo levels above 100, as there may be a serious hit on the performance of Excel.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3145) 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: Increasing Undo Levels.

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

Inserting a Dynamic Word Count in Your Document

Need to know how many words are in your document? You can use the NumWords field to add that statistic, dynamically, to ...

Discover More

Controlling How Excel Interprets Percentages

When entering data in a worksheet, Excel tries to figure out how your entry can best be shown on the screen. When it ...

Discover More

Adjusting Mouse Click Sensitivity

Mouse not working as you expect? Here are a few things that may get things back to the way they should be.

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)

Automatically Breaking Text

Want to convert the text in a cell so that it wraps after every word? You could edit the cell and press Alt+Enter after ...

Discover More

Three-Dimensional Transpositions

Excel makes it easy to transpose your data so that rows become columns and columns rows. It doesn't have a built-in ...

Discover More

Deleting Duplicate Columns

Got a worksheet in which there may be entire columns that are duplicates of each other? If you want to delete those ...

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 8 + 7?

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.