Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size.

Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2020)

2

April described an all-too-common situation in an office environment: you create a worksheet, get it looking just right, protect it, and then allow others to make changes to the unprotected cells. When you get the worksheet back, there have been changes to the page setup and the formatting that makes the worksheet look different than what you intended.

There are a couple approaches you can take with this problem. The first is to divide your input and output into separate sheets. Create a worksheet where the user can enter their data, and then create an output worksheet that you use to print the data. The output worksheet simply grabs data from the input worksheet through the use of cell references and formulas. Since the user doesn't have access to the output worksheet, then it can't get mucked up.

If the worksheet has been protected, Excel allows you to explicitly allow or prohibit formatting changes when you turn on the protection. Prohibiting formatting changes doesn't protect you all the time, however. One exception is if the user copies formatted cells from another worksheet and pastes them into unlocked cells in the protected worksheet. There is no way to prevent this, short of using the input sheet/output sheet method already described.

As far as page setup is concerned, Excel allows the page setup (margins, etc.) to be modified, even on a protected worksheet. The best workaround is to create a macro that will set the page setup configuration as you want it, and have the macro run automatically before the worksheet is printed. (Just assign the macro to the BeforePrint event for the workbook.)

If the other user still monkeys around with the settings in a way that rendered the output of the workbook non-standard or even unusable, you may need to resort to non-Excel means to assure compliance. :>)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1084) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size.

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

One Change Affects Everything

Have you ever made one formatting change in your document, only to see that change applied to all the paragraphs in the ...

Discover More

Inserting Cells in a Table

You can enlarge a table by adding cells where they are needed. Just pick where you want the cells inserted, then use the ...

Discover More

Sending Printer Commands

If you need to send a command directly to your printer, then you need to use the PRINT field. It allows you to send ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Mimicking Small Caps in Excel

Word provides a much wider range of formatting tools and options than you can find in Excel. One example is when it comes ...

Discover More

Problems with Custom Views

If you get an error when you try to use one of your custom views, it could be due to the protection you have applied to ...

Discover More

Applying Table Formats

Want to format your data tables in a hurry? It's easy to do if you use the built-in table formatter provided in Excel.

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 five more than 5?

2019-12-02 04:16:23

Ken varley

2nd submission of my comment. (I felt that the first a bit confusing)

I had this situation, and my workaround was to create a hidden worksheet called BLANK. As the name suggests, it is a blank form. It is identical to the sheet that the user to needs to complete.

The user inputs data to a visible sheet called FORM

When the user has finished his input in FORM, he presses a button to update the data. The sheet is then printed and the data is extracted to be used elsewhere.

All cells in BLANK are then copied & pasted into FORM, thus overwriting anything that the user might have changed.


2019-12-02 04:11:21

Ken varley

I had this situation, and my workaround was to create a hidden worksheet called BLANK. as the name suggests, it was a blank form for the user to complete.

The user fills the blanks in a sheet called FORM

When the user has finished his input in FORM, he presses a button called UPDATE. The sheet is then printed and the data is extracted to be used elsewhere.

All cells in BLANK are then copied & pasted into FORM, thus overwriting anything that the user might have changed.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu 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.