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)

7

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

Paragraph Formatting Shortcuts

Paragraphs are one of the elemental building blocks in a Word document. Formatting those paragraphs is easy to do if you ...

Discover More

Macro for Month Name

Need to know how to generate a full month name based on a date? It's easy to do, as discussed in this tip.

Discover More

Nifty Zooming

If you are using a mouse that has a center wheel, you can use the wheel to zoom in and out of your work. This tip shows how ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Viewing Same Cells on Different Worksheets

When switching from one worksheet to another, you might want to view the same portion of the new worksheet that you were ...

Discover More

Switching Headers in a Frozen Row

Excel allows you to "freeze" rows in your worksheet. What if you want the rows that are frozen to change as you scroll ...

Discover More

Jumping to Alphabetic Worksheets

Got a workbook with a lot of worksheets in it? Here's some handy ways to jump to the worksheet you want, alphabetically.

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. 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 five minus 0?

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.