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Application Solutions

Microsoft Office Excel

To prevent possible loss of data, Excel cannot...

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  Key Facts  
Full Title
  Microsoft Office Excel 

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  To prevent possible loss of data, Excel cannot shift nonblank cells off of the worksheet. Select another location in which to insert new cells, or delete data from the end of your worksheet.

If you do not have data in cells that can be shifted off of the worksheet, you can reset which cells Excel considers nonblank. To do this, press CTRL+End to locate the last nonblank cell on the worksheet. Delete this cell and all cells between it and the last row and column of your data then save.


Typical location
  C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\

Issued By

  Windows XP

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  Microsoft Corporation    
  Solutions and Fixes  
Formatting Causes
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There are quite a few solutions on other forums that reference official Microsoft help. None of that worked for me but I found a different solution - I was able to find out that it can occur due to formatting (i.e. if formatting is not standard, excel will think the cell is in use). So, in a nutshell, this problem can be solved by going row by row or column by column and testing different things.

My solution was that all of row 1 was merged into one cell so excel thought that the entire possible column with of the sheet was in use. Un-merging row 1 allowed me to add columns.

I discovered this because I thought, as a test, I'll wipe one column and see what happens. I selected all of column H (at random) and clicked Clear > Clear All (Home tab on the ribbon) and got the error 'cannot change part of a merged cell'. My sheet had no gridlines and the horizontal scroll bar wasn't tiny (as is the case when there are loads of columns) so it was not obvious that row 1 was merged but this test revealed that.

So, look for accidental/intentional changes in formatting that may cause the right-most column or bottom-most row to be 'activated'.

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Posted: 25-Jun-2012
Solutions Created: 1
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Last update: 27-Jun-2011 3:25 pm