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: Protecting Your Conditional Formatting Rules.

Protecting Your Conditional Formatting Rules

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 14, 2018)

1

Larry wrote about a problem he was encountering with protecting a worksheet he developed. He has cells that contain both formulas and conditional formatting. He can protect both of them in a worksheet, but if someone selects a cell and copies it to another worksheet, the conditional formatting is visible.

When you copy a protected cell from one sheet to another, if the formulas in the source cell were hidden in the protection process, then the results of the formulas are pasted, unprotected, into the target cells. This is probably no big deal, as you wanted the formulas—not the results—protected.

Excel is not as protective about conditional formats, however. The conditional formats of the cells that you paste, since they are in an unprotected worksheet, can be viewed and modified, as desired. This can be a problem if the conditional formats contain formulas that you want to also keep private.

The only way around this problem is to disable the ability to copy anything from your protected worksheet. You do this through the use of a macro, added to the worksheet object, that would disable copying.

Private Sub Worksheet_Deactivate()
    Application.CutCopyMode = False
End Sub

This macro works because anytime the worksheet is deactivated (meaning, the target worksheet is selected), then CutCopyMode is set to False. This results in the "marching ants" that appeared around the source cells when the user pressed Ctrl+C being removed, and pasting therefore no longer possible. Copying and pasting on the same worksheet is still fine; just not to a different (unprotected) worksheet.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6865) 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: Protecting Your Conditional Formatting Rules.

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

Disabling Track Changes Completely

Have you ever had problems with a document because you accidentally pressed a keyboard shortcut? The good news is that ...

Discover More

Specifying Sub-entries in an AutoMark File

An AutoMark file allows you to quickly and easily create an index from a document. This can be a great boon for large ...

Discover More

Opening Two Workbooks at Once

Do you work with a group of workbooks all the time in Excel? Windows and Excel both provide a plethora of ways you can ...

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 (ribbon)

Applying Conditional Formatting to Multiple Worksheets

If you just updated your copy of Excel, you may have noticed some differences in how the program handles applying ...

Discover More

Conditional Page Breaks

Need to have your worksheet printout start on a new page every time a value in a column changes? There are a couple of ...

Discover More

Sorting Conditional Formats Properly

Conditional formatting can be a great tool to get your data looking just the way you need. However, when you sort data ...

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 six less than 9?

2018-12-26 15:01:15

Ruthie A. Ward

This macro-based protection doesn't work if someone opens an additional instance of Excel, copies from the first instance of Excel, and then pastes into the additional instance. Is there a modification for checking how many instances of Excel are open?


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.