Excel Guides

Unable to Format Cells in Excel

If you are unable to format cells in Excel, there are a few possible reasons why this may be happening.

One reason why you may not be able to format cells is because the cells are locked. To check if the cells are locked, go to the Review tab and click on Protect Sheet. If there is a checkmark next to Locked, then the cells are locked and you will not be able to format them. To unlock the cells, simply uncheck the Locked option and then click OK. You should now be able to format the cells.

Another reason why you may not be able to format cells is because you do not have the correct permissions. To check if you have the correct permissions, go to the File tab and click on Info. Under Sharing Permissions, it will say either "You have full control", meaning that you can do anything including change formatting; or it will say "You can edit", meaning that you can edit the spreadsheet but cannot change formatting. If it says "You can edit", then you will need to get permission from the owner of the spreadsheet in order to format cells.

The final reason why you may not be able to format cells is because of cell protection. Cell protection is different from locking cells in that it allows other users to still format cells, but prevents accidental changes from being made. To check if cell protection is turned on, go to the Review tab and click on Protect Sheet. If there is a checkmark next to Protected sheet and workbook information, then cell protection is turned on and you will not be able to format cells. To turn off cell protection, simply uncheck the Protected sheet and workbook information option and then click OK. You should now be able to format the cells.

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