Protecting Conditional Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2017)

2

Kees has a worksheet that uses conditional formatting extensively. However, the conditional formatting keeps getting messed up when users copy and paste information or when they use drag and drop to edit the worksheet. He wonders about the best way to prevent this from happening.

This happens because conditional formatting is considered just that—formatting. A standard copy and paste (or a drag and drop edit) copies everything, including formatting. This means the target cells will have the formatting of the source cells, not the formatting of the target cells (including any conditional formatting that may have been in the target cells).

The answer, then, is to tell users not to do a standard copy and paste. Instead, they should use the paste options to paste anything (or everything) except formatting.

Another option, of course, is to protect the worksheet so that the user cannot copy and paste anything. This may be a bit drastic for your users, however, as you may want them to make changes. (You just don't want them to mess up the conditional formatting.)

This leads to a macro approach. If you can record a macro that applies the conditional formatting to the cells, you could create some additional macros that apply that recorded macro, as needed. For instance, let's say that the macro you record is called something short and sexy like SetCondFormat.

Next, go into the Visual Basic Editor and, in the Immediate window, enter the following:

? Cells.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeAllFormatConditions).Address

Assuming you have your conditional formatting all set up, this should return a line—perhaps a long line—that shows the addresses of the cells and ranges that use conditional formatting. It will look something like this:

$B$3:$B$50,$D$3:$D$50,$G$3:$I$20

Next, add the following macro to the ThisWorksheet code module:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Dim r As Range

    Const cCFAddress = "$B$3:$B$50,$D$3:$D$50,$G$3:$I$20"

    On Error Resume Next
    Set r = Range(cCFAddress)
    On Error GoTo 0

    If r IsNot Nothing Then
        If Application.Intersect(Target, r) IsNot Nothing Then
            SetCondFormat
        End If
    End If
End Sub

The key here is to make sure that the cCFAddress constant is set equal to whatever was returned when you saw the addresses in the Immediate window. (If you changing conditional formatting at a later time, you can use the Immediate window trick again and simply change the line in the above macro.)

The macro is executed every time there is a change in the worksheet. It checks to see if the changed address (passed in the Target variable) is part of the original cells that contained conditional formats. If so, then your SetCondFormat (the one you recorded to do the conditional formatting) is again executed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (4362) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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

Sorting Decimal Values

Government and industrial organizations often use a numbering system that relies upon a number both before and after a ...

Discover More

Turning Off Printing of Document Properties

Getting to a printed document is often the entire purpose of using Word. The program, however, allows you to print out ...

Discover More

Displaying Negative Times

Excel allows you to perform math using times as operands. If you subtract a later time from an earlier time, you should end ...

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 (ribbon)

Diagonal Borders in a Conditional Format

Conditional formatting is a great tool for changing how your data looks based on the data itself. Excel won't allow you to ...

Discover More

Controlling Data Entry in a Cell

Sometimes you want whatever is displayed in one cell to control what is displayed in a different cell. This tip looks at just ...

Discover More

Protecting Your Conditional Formatting Rules

If you have conditional formatting applied in a worksheet, the formulas in those formats may not be as secure as you would ...

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 7 - 1?

2017-10-03 13:54:38

Chris G.

Jerry,

From the article: "If you can record a macro that applies the conditional formatting to the cells, you could create some additional macros that apply that recorded macro, as needed. For instance, let's say that the macro you record is called something short and sexy like SetCondFormat."


2017-10-02 17:57:46

Jerry Herman

Hi,

Checking, SetCondFormat doesn't seem to be an intrinsic function of Excel. I did find a thread on Stack Overflow at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/13661965/conditional-formatting-using-excel-vba-code/13664575 that provided the following code implementing SetCondFormat.

Sub setCondFormat()
Range("B3").Select
With Range("B3:H63")
.FormatConditions.Add Type:=xlExpression, Formula1:= _
"=IF($D3="""",FALSE,IF($F3>=$E3,TRUE,FALSE))"
With .FormatConditions(.FormatConditions.Count)
.SetFirstPriority
With .Interior
.PatternColorIndex = xlAutomatic
.Color = 5287936
.TintAndShade = 0
End With
End With
End With
End Sub

It appears that the full solution would a user to identify and code for the formatting properties that are desired.


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.