Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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 December 5, 2015)

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, and 2016. 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Controlling Display of the Formula Bar

The Formula Bar is a regularly used feature in the Excel interface. You can, however, modify whether Excel displays the ...

Discover More

Using AutoSave in Excel

It is a good precaution to periodically save your work. That way, if you have an unforeseen problem with your computer, ...

Discover More

Adding Horizontal Lines at the Sides of a Word

Want to add a couple of horizontal lines at the sides of a word? It can be trickier than it sounds, but there are several ...

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)

Visually Showing a Protection Status

Need to know if a worksheet or workbook is currently protected? Excel provides some tell-tale signs, but here are some ...

Discover More

Automatically Protecting After Input

Do you want user-entered data to be immediately protected so that it cannot be changed? This can be done relatively ...

Discover More

Functioning Check Boxes in a Protected Worksheet

Want to protect a worksheet but maintain the ability to make changes to the check boxes you add to the worksheet? Here is ...

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 5 + 3?

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.


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.