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: Stopping Validated Data from being Overwritten.

Stopping Validated Data from being Overwritten

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 6, 2016)

Melissa uses Data Validation regularly to limit what can be put into a cell. She notes that one flaw seems to be that it's always possible to overwrite the data by copying a cell from somewhere else in the file and pasting it into the cell that should be limited by Data Validation. Melissa wonders if there is any way to "lock down" the cells that have Data Validation, so no one can paste over them.

Melissa has discovered what some have called the "Achilles' heel" of Data Validation—you can paste over cell contents and thereby destroy whatever Data Validation rules were in the target cells. The only possible way around this is to use a macro to head off pasting into certain areas of the worksheet. A good way to do that is found at John Walkenbach's site:

http://www.j-walk.com/ss/excel/tips/tip98.htm

There are some limitations to the macros noted on that page, but there are some drawbacks that are not noted:

  • If a person doesn't enable macros when the workbook is opened, then the macro code can't do its job. (This is, honestly, a drawback to any macros for any purpose.)
  • The worksheet may seem a bit sluggish if the range of cells being protected is large, as the macro runs every time a change is made in the worksheet.
  • Because the macro runs every time the worksheet is changed, it effectively removes any possibility of having an "undo" feature in the worksheet. (Macros, when run, cannot be undone and clear the undo stack.)

Even with the drawbacks and limitations, this approach is probably the best way to overcome the potential problem.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11798) 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: Stopping Validated Data from being Overwritten.

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

Adding a Break to Your Document

Want to modify the way your text flows between pages in a document? Word allows you to insert several types of breaks that ...

Discover More

Taking a Picture

Excel allows you to capture portions of your worksheet as a picture that you can then use in a variety of other ways. Here's ...

Discover More

Hyperlinking to a Specific Excel Worksheet

Creating a hyperlink to an Excel workbook is easy. With the information in this tip you can discover how to hone that ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Setting Data Validation Input Messages

When using data validation, you might want to have Excel display a message when someone starts to enter information into a ...

Discover More

Single-Use Drop-Down List

Want to create an easy drop-down list? You can do so by using the data validation features of Excel.

Discover More

Answering Questions in Order

It is not unusual to use Excel to gather the answers to users' questions. If you want your users to answer your questions in ...

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 for this tip:

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 3 - 0?

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.

Links and Sharing