Preventing Changes to Multiple Selected Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 22, 2020)


In Lance's office they often have to select multiple worksheets in a workbook in order to print them or to create PDFs. When done, the worksheets remain selected. This causes a potential problem if someone forgets to deselect the worksheet group. If someone makes a change in a cell, the change occurs on all the other selected worksheets, as well; this is how Excel is designed. Lance wonders if there is a way to either stop the change being made on multiple worksheets or automatically have the multiple worksheets deselected after they are done with an action.

When you forget to deselect a group of worksheets, it can be frustrating that what you intended as a single-worksheet change ends up on all the worksheets. As Lance notes, this behavior is actually built into Excel; it is by design.

Perhaps the easiest solution is to simply change how you print your worksheets. You could select all the worksheets you want to print, and then do the actual printing by using a simple macro:

Sub PrintSelectedSheets()
End Sub

The macro prints and, once that is done, deselects the group of worksheets so that only a single worksheet (the active one) is selected. The only downside to this approach is remembering to print via the macro, so it will take a bit of training for users.

This won't, of course, help you in situations where you selected a group of worksheets for some purpose other than printing. In those instances, you are left with remembering to deselect the group. (Or, if you can handle the action via macro, you could adapt the above to work for you.


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 (7708) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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. ...


Catching Single-Letter Spelling Errors

There have been times when I've reviewed my writing and found lots of "lone letters," detached by a single space from the ...

Discover More

Printing a Range of Pages

If your worksheet, when printed, requires more than a single page to print, you may want to only print a range of the ...

Discover More

Spelling Errors Resulting from Erroneous Spaces

Spelling errors can result from improperly ordering letters in a word, or from adding spaces where they shouldn't be. ...

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)

Printing a Chart

It is inevitable that if you spend time creating a chart you will want to print that chart on your printer. Here's how ...

Discover More

Printing a Draft Watermark

Adding a watermark to the background of a printout can be challenging. This tip explains the different ways you can ...

Discover More

Flipping Landscape Orientation when Printing

When printing a worksheet, you may want to rotate the output on the page to fit a certain orientation. Excel doesn't ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 four minus 4?

2020-08-24 22:14:05

John Mann

Why not have a macro triggered by the print event which does the select active worksheet?

2020-08-24 09:58:59

Harlan Eshleman

Here is a page that gives a macro that will warn you if you are trying to make edits when multiple sheets are selected. I think that it would allow you to print, since that shouldn't invoke the worksheet change event.

2020-08-22 06:59:01

Elliot Penna

"The only downside to this approach is remembering to print via the macro, so it will take a bit of training for users."

Couldn't you disable print on opening the workbook, and enable it within the printing macro, print, and then disable printing again before exiting macro? That would, in effect, force people to use the macro to print. After all, if you are putting your trust in training, why not train everyone to select a single sheet on opening?

Better yet, why not have a macro on opening, or on closing, select a single sheet?

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

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.