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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Get Tables working on protected sheets (add rows, sort, filter, etc.)

I would like to be able to, under the right circumstances, have the ability to add/remove rows of a table which resides on a protected sheet.

Currently if you protect a sheet you can't insert/delete rows of a table. Even if you unprotect all cells and allow inserting/deleting of rows on sheet protection, it doesn't matter and is completely ignored.

What I am proposing would have to follow specific rules:

* Table cells would have to be unprotected
* Cells below table would have to be unprotected (truly optional † )
* Insert Rows would have to be specified in sheet protection

† The way table rows are inserted is different than a standard row insert. If there are blank rows below the table it will "consume" those rows, and not shift things down. If there is data below the table, once it consumes all rows between the two, it will start inserting. This mechanism would make the second item above optional depending on how you [Microsoft] would handle this internally. My preference would be to have the cells unlocked, and honor the protection status of the cell, and not overwrite, or "consume" if there is space available.

This has been BROKEN for some time. Since we can ALREADY do this with standard cells, it should ALSO work for tables. This request has come up multiple times, and has previously been rejected as "BY DESIGN", but I'm here to tell you - and I'm an expert - this is not by design, and is a bug which has been overlooked and should be fixed.

(2016-12-07 Dan B [MS]: updated title to capture the actual ask here, which is to make Tables work better on protected sheets; currently, since protected sheets were built "before" Tables, they don't work well with "Tables" or objects that adjust/expand within the grid as users interact with them)

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Zack Barresse shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Thanks for logging this great suggestion, Zack, and to others for voting it up. We’ll prioritize this according to the number of votes, so if there’s more interest, please make sure to register your vote!


Ashvini Sharma
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  • Heather R commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, I've had to resort to a hybrid VBA/Named Range solution instead of tables :(

  • jeffrey Weir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I've posted a work-around at that gives you a way to leave the calculated column unprotected while stopping users from directly selecting the cells in calculated columns with the mouse. This works by parking a locked invisible shape over the column. Users can still select the cells by navigating them using the arrow keys, but are then prohibited by overwriting the formulas via a DV condition. They can still delete the formulas however...although I've got a pop-up DV input message warning them against doing so. Convoluted work-around that mostly works, but no substitute for the kind of usability improvement we would get if MS changed Table protection in line with this thread.

  • Wayne commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Agreed ... definitely a true need if Microsoft wants to continue to push the use of tables to emulate database functionality within Excel

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I wholeheartedly agree with the need to fix this ASAP. The structure interaction of worksheet and table is clunky in many ways but this is unacceptable.

  • jeffrey Weir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The thing that annoys me is the apparent bug when you have locked some cells in a Table to protect an important formula, but still want users to be able to use the Insert Row functionality. After locking the sheet, if a user right clicks and chooses the Insert Row option, they see the error message "The cell or chart you're trying to change is on a protected sheet. To make a change, unprotect the sheet". But the new row has been inserted (meaning the previous error message is actually completely incorrect), although your important protected formula doesn't get copied down (which completely defeats the purpose of protecting it). This is so obviously a bug - one that I'm positive has been reported to MS - and so I just cannot fathom why it hasn't been fixed. Sure, I could write some VBA to add a custom 'Insert Row' entry to the right click menu, but I try to keep my templates macro-free as much as possible. And I wouldn't need macros if this functionality actually did what it says on the box.

  • Ayana Andrews-Joseph commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with another comment - VBA may create a workaround, however VBA does not work on all cross-platforms where Excel is used.

    Please address this Microsoft!

  • JMoore commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Long, long overdue. C'mon Microsoft, it's time to address this already.

  • Petr commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    1) Table? No, it's name is the List, ListObject. Yes, I know, databases have tables, not Lists, with the same structure, but...
    2) Table's behaviour as Names? Yes. Why we need use INDIRECT in Data / Validation etc.
    3) MS Query is old, yes, but we need use Tables as Excel database source, not only Names
    4) Tables and sheet protection? Stupid, stupid, stupid...
    5) Expanding tables are unreliable. Sometimes Table not expand correctly with cell formatting, alignment, formulas not copied... Reduction of Table? I expect, that "over data" will be deleted.
    6) Table and CSV as direct source? Why not?
    7) Rename Table sometimes causes crash of application.

  • Ricardo Diaz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As a power user, you can find an alternative in VBA, but this is a common scenario in business.

  • Jason Schaeffer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I look at Excel tables as the first step towards allowing Excel to store more structured data where the row is more strongly encouraged to have meaning (a lot like a database table). There needs to be a form of protection that allows rows to be added and deleted while preventing calculated columns from being modified, similar to the way updatable Access queries work. Right now, there is no way to make an Excel table function as a designed list of rows -- either the end user can't add and remove rows, or the end user can change the design of the table to circumvent the wishes of the designer.

  • Dick Kusleika commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Here's how I'd set it up: Four check boxes that are specific to tables.

    1. Allow new record (only allows adding a new record to the bottom of the table, default checked)
    2. Allow insert/remove record (can add or delete rows anywhere)
    3. Allow editing non-formula cells (default checked)
    4. Allow editing formula cells

    When you protect a sheet, and don't change any defaults, tables will be locked down except that you can modify existing rows and add a new one at the bottom. Then, if you prefer, you can allow the other two.

    Table permissions would always override non-table permissions. That is, whatever the state of the cells below or to the right of the table, they can get overwritten by adding rows or columns. Also, you can always add/remove header row and total row.

    If you want to do stuff like add or move columns, you have to unprotect the sheet.

  • Joana commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would like to add that it shlould be also allowed to modify the tables in protected sheets via VBA.

    Now you can't, even if when you protect the sheet with the VBA option UserInterFaceOnly: = True.

    To be able to work with tables, through VBA, we have to unprotect and protect the sheets each time.


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