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: Protecting a Worksheet's Format.

Protecting a Worksheet's Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 22, 2019)

6

Klara knows how to protect the contents of a worksheet by protecting cells. She wonders, however, if there is a way to protect only the format. She's not too concerned if the content changes, but she wants to protect the format.

You can easily protect the formatting of the worksheet, without regard for the contents. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select all the cells in the worksheet.
  2. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Protection tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. Clear the Locked checkbox.
  6. Click on OK to close the dialog box.
  7. Choose Protection from the Tools menu, and then choose Protect Sheet from the submenu. Excel displays the Protect Sheet dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Protect Sheet dialog box.

  9. If you see a Format Cells check box in the dialog box (it isn't there in all versions of Excel), make sure it cleared.
  10. You do not need to change any information in the dialog box, nor enter a password. Just click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3515) 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: Protecting a Worksheet's Format.

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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Comments

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What is two more than 0?

2021-02-01 09:08:18

microsoftax

Its a known issue for 10 + years and there is no easy fix unless you want to learn some VB..


2020-04-29 17:14:34

Chuck Mock

This doesn't work for unlocked cells when the sheet is locked. If I lock the sheet to protect formulae but leave cells unlocked so user can enter data, the unlocked cell's format is lost if the user uses a "Clear All" command to clear contents. I would like to allow the user to access and change values in cells without being able to change cell format (font, fill color, font color). "Clear all" seems to clear conditional formats as well, not good. Is there a way to disable the "Clear All" command?


2020-02-13 19:59:58

unikorn

It works only if you are entering the data. If you paste data from another source with different formatting, the formatting in the protected sheet gets overwritten. This is such a basic thing but overlooked by Microsoft. And it is so frustrating!!! I have numbers data coming from clients, that get converted to scientific notation in the template, and no matter how I try protecting the format, it simply does not work!


2019-12-13 13:52:52

D.evans

How do I format who's in a locked excel spreadsheet? I need my spreadsheet to notify me that a certain person is in the spreadsheet so that I may ask my employee to get out of it when needed.


2019-12-05 03:06:38

MKirby

Doesn't work. It locks the formatting commands, but if I paste a value into a cell, I still lose the formatting. I can't preserve the formatting so it can't be changed.


2019-10-02 11:23:56

David

Hello,

Can I lock the formatting for my whole sheet, while locking the contents of some cells as well?

Thanks,

David


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