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: Saving Custom Formats.

Saving Custom Formats

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 28, 2015)


Excel provides quite a bit of flexibility in creating custom formats for cells in a workbook. In fact, depending on the needs of your data, you can spend quite a bit of time formatting cells so they look the way you want them to.

At some point you may get tired of doing the same formatting over and over again, and begin to wonder if there is a way to save your custom formats so you don't have to redefine them all the time. Unfortunately, there is not a full-featured way to save formats within Excel. You can get around this shortcoming quite easily, however. The trick is to define the cell formats as you want them, and then save the workbook as a template that you can later use as a basis for your future workbooks. All you need to do is use the Save As command and make sure the File Type drop-down list (at the bottom of the Save As dialog box) is set to either Excel Template or Excel Macro-Enabled Template.

As has been described in other issues of ExcelTips, you could replace your default workbook template with the new template you create, and then it becomes the basis for all new workbooks. All you need to do is give the template the name Book.xltx (if it has no macros) or Book.xltm (if it contains macros) and save it in the XLSTART folder. (The XLSTART folder is in different places on different systems; use the Find feature of Windows to locate where it is on yours.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10561) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Saving Custom Formats.

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. ...


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What is 1 + 5?

2018-02-16 03:20:13

Steve Jez

Alternatively, you can format a single cell or range of cells, in your Personal workbook, as you require them. When you need the formatting, open the Personal workbook & copy the cell or range of cells.
If you don't know about the Personal workbook take a look at this article

2018-02-15 12:53:18

Peter Atherton


Try this UDF

Function AppPath(Optional PType As Integer = 1)
If PType = 1 Then
AppPath = Application.Path
AppPath = Application.StartupPath
End If
End Function

Copy it into the VB editor And enter it like a normal function i.e =AppPath(2)

2018-02-14 11:58:50

Susan Speer

Your article "Saving Custom Formats" from 3/28/15 does not seem to apply to Excel 2016. My computer cannot find the XLSTART folder. I would really like to be able to save the format I use in my workbooks. Can you help?

Thank you!

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