Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 March 28, 2015)

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, and 2013. 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

Selecting a Language

Need to format a paragraph (or some selected text) so that it is a language other than English? You can do so easily by ...

Discover More

Ensuring Consistent References with AutoText

You'll often need to make sure that references within a document are consistent with each other. In this tip you discover how ...

Discover More

Understanding Color and Conditional Formatting Codes

When you create custom cell formats, you can include codes that allow you to set the color of a cell and that specify the ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (RIBBON)

Changing the Percent Symbol

Some symbols can be easily changed in Excel or in Windows, such as the symbols used for currency and to separate thousands in ...

Discover More

Differentiating a Header Row

When you use the sorting tool, Excel tries to automatically figure out if your data includes a header row or not. Here are ...

Discover More

Hash Marks Displayed Instead of Cell Contents

Have you ever entered information in a cell only for it to appear as hash marks? This tip explains why this happens, how you ...

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 nine minus 3?

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 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.

Links and Sharing