How to Fix Excel Not Saving Formatting Changes

Can’t figure out why Microsoft Excel is not saving formatting changes?

Microsoft Excel is the industry standard for spreadsheet tools and software. This program is included in Mircosoft Office Suite and has been around since 1985. 

Recently, there have been complaints about Microsoft Excel not saving formatting changes on worksheets. Knowing that many users use Excel to process thousands of data, it would be frustrating to know that your progress was not saved after hours of work. 

Most of the time, this problem is caused by improper system configurations or corrupted file data. 

On the other hand, it can also be due to low disk space or system restrictions. 

In this guide, we will show you what to do if Excel is not saving formatting changes on your worksheet or workbook. 

Let’s get started!

1. Restart Your Computer. 

Whenever you encounter problems with Microsoft Excel, the first thing you should do is restart your computer. This way, you can ensure that there are no temporary bugs and errors on your device. 

Here’s how you can reboot your computer: 

  1. First, open the Start Menu by clicking the Windows icon in the Taskbar
  2. After that, access the Power Options tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose Restart from the options. 
Restart your PC

Go back to Excel afterward to check if the problem is solved.

2. Check File Permissions. 

The current Excel file you are working on might be set to ‘Read-Only’ mode, explaining why you can’t apply changes to it. To resolve this issue, you’ll need to modify your file permissions settings. 

Follow the steps below to guide you through the process: 

  1. On your computer, open File Explorer and navigate to the Excel file you are working on. 
  2. After that, right-click on the file and choose Properties
  3. Under the General tab, look for Attributes and ensure that ‘Read-Only’ is unmarked. 
excel not saving formatting changes

Save the changes afterward and see if the problem is solved. 

3. Try Turning Off Add-Ins. 

Microsoft Excel add-ins are third-party tools that provide extra functionality to your spreadsheet or workbook. This allows you to process data faster and make your work easier. However, they can also affect built-in functionalities of Microsoft Excel. 

If you can’t save formatting changes on Excel, try disabling your add-ins. 

  1. First, launch Microsoft Excel on your computer. 
  2. After that, go to File > More > Options
  3. Lastly, access the Add-Ins tab and disable everything. 
excel not saving formatting changes

Relaunch Microsoft Excel and check if you can now save your progress. 

4. Check Your Disk Space. 

While Microsoft Excel doesn’t use a lot of storage, it is possible that your system is running out of space, which prevents you from saving your work. To avoid this problem, make sure that you have enough storage space before saving your progress. 

You can also use external devices to store your files to avoid losing them if something goes wrong with your computer. 

5. Save the File to Another Location. 

Microsoft Excel might not have proper privileges to store data on the initial folder where you want to save your file. To confirm this, we suggest saving your file to another location and seeing if the same error occurs. 

If you can save your file elsewhere, it means that Microsoft Excel is not allowed to modify the folder you initially wanted to store your file. 

6. Check Your File Name. 

Windows allows users to name files up to 218 characters. Although this is already long for a file name, some users might still be able to consume it if they work with multiple files on their computer. 

If you can’t save formatting changes on Microsoft Excel, ensure that your file’s filename doesn’t exceed 218 characters. 

7. File Might Be In Use. 

At this point, the last thing you can check is other Excel tabs that could be using your file. When your Microsoft Excel file is opened somewhere else, you won’t be able to modify or change its content. 

Before working on your file, ensure that it is not being used by another Excel window, MS Office programs, or other apps. 

That brings us to the end of our guide on what to do if Excel is not saving formatting changes. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below, and we’ll be glad to help. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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