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 a Worksheet's Format.

Protecting a Worksheet's Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 5, 2020)

5

Klara knows how to protect the contents of a worksheet by protecting cells. She wonders, however, if there is a way to protect only the format. She's not too concerned if the content changes, but she wants to protect the format.

You can easily protect the formatting of the worksheet, without regard for the contents. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select all the cells in the worksheet.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click Format in the Cells group, and then choose Format Cells. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Protection tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Protection tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Clear the Locked checkbox.
  7. Click on OK to close the dialog box.
  8. With the Home tab of the ribbon still displayed, click Format in the Cells group, and then choose Protect Sheet. Excel displays the Protect Sheet dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  9. Figure 2. The Protect Sheet dialog box.

  10. Clear the Format Cells check box.
  11. You do not need to change any information in the dialog box, nor enter a password. Just click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11601) 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 a Worksheet's Format.

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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Comments

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What is three more than 4?

2018-03-06 19:47:39

Huck Rorick

I tried this technique. However, it removed the protection status of all the cells in my worksheet.


2015-12-07 12:49:44

Dave Bonin

Pam,

The text above the list of checkboxes says, "Allow all users of this worksheet to:"

In this case, you do not want them to be allowed to format the cells, so you need to UNCHECK the box.


2015-12-07 10:00:26

Pam

Shouldn't step 8 be to CHECK the Format Cells check box instead of clear it? If not, I am really confused at how this will work to protect the formatting of the cells.

Thanks!


2015-12-05 10:17:31

Petros

Excel Protection Myths Busted

Some online articles (not this one!) and video tutorials are littered with falsehoods that have suckered millions of Excel users over the years. Some whoppers persist, repeated in reasonable voices, until they are accepted as the truth. Except they're not! Learn how to protect your data and Office files. Here’s your guide to separate fact from fiction when it comes to protection features in Excel.

http://www.spreadsheet1.com/excel-protection-myths-busted.html


2015-12-05 05:11:33

Jon

This does not protect formats when copying and pasting or using the format painter.


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