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 April 20, 2016)

8

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Getting Rid of Persistent Templates

Word uses an open interface that allows add-ons and other programs to expand the way that Word works. Sometimes remnants of a ...

Discover More

Setting Tab Stops Using the Tabs Dialog Box

Aligning different lines in your document is easy. Using the tab stops feature in Word, you can set four different types of ...

Discover More

Applying Bullets from the Keyboard

Most people use the tools on the Home tab of the ribbon to apply bullets to paragraphs. If you want to apply them using the ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Detecting Types of Sheets in VBA

When processing workbook information in a macro, you may need to step through each worksheet to make some sort of changes. It ...

Discover More

Relative Worksheet References

Copy a formula from one place to another and Excel helpfully adjusts the cell references within the formula. That is, it ...

Discover More

Shortcut to Move between Two Worksheets

Moving between to adjacent worksheets is easy; Excel provides a shortcut key to do the trick. If you want to move between two ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 eight more than 8?

2017-08-16 04:02:15

James Kuijpers

When I follow these steps, the users of my spreadsheet aren't able to paste data into it anymore - getting a warning that it's protected.

I would want them to paste, but just guarantee that the formatting of the spreadsheet is preserved.

Am I doing something wrong or do I need to take different steps for that?


2017-03-17 11:47:50

Ava

is there any way to protect formatting so that I can sort lists alphabeticall, expand with the entire chart, but not cause the formatting to switch around, just the lists and the associated formulas?


2017-01-04 08:30:14

RC

In addition to Scott's much needed suggestion, I am looking for a way to completely protect some cells in a sheet, and only protect the formatting for others where input is required.

Any suggestions?


2016-08-12 16:21:51

Scott

This feature disables the formatting tools in the toolbar (and the Ctrl+1 key), but the user can still replace the formatting by pasting (or Paste Special) from somewhere else. So now we just need the "Disable Paste Formatting" feature...


2016-07-21 17:43:53

Julie

I'm trying to build a teacher's calendar that includes different colors of fill for each subject I teach. If I decide to change my plans for a day, I want to be able to drag and drop them to a new day without disturbing my fill and borders.

Thank you for any help you can offer.


2016-03-25 17:05:57

Allan Goodwin

The article wasn't what I was looking for. I want the ability to copy cells from another excel spreadsheet and paste them into the one I protected. I want the data to appear but I don't want the formatting of the protected spreadsheet to change. Example: If I have a cell in a spreadsheet with a green background, and I copy it to a protected sheet, I don't want to see the green.. but I am.


2016-02-03 21:25:55

SHARON RAYMOND

excellent website - thank you - have bookmarked this site and will pass on how direct and user friendly this website is - congratulations


2016-01-13 14:24:48

Michael

When I am in the worksheet I am prevented from changing the formatted borders, but when I copied over other data to fill cells the formatted cell borders were deleted to match the copy over. Can this be prevented?


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.