Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet software that has been around since 1985. It is one of the most used applications in the Office suite of software as it can be used to do various tasks such as creating a budget, track business expenses, or sort and organize large amounts of data. Although this is a solid performing software there are instances when certain issues can occur. In this latest installment of our troubleshooting series we will tackle the Microsoft Excel cannot add new cells issue.
What to do when Microsoft Excel can’t insert new cells
Before performing any of the recommended troubleshooting steps listed below it’s best to restart your computer and router first. This action refreshes the operating system and remove any corrupt temporary data that could be causing the problem.
Remove cell protection
One of the most common causes of this problem is if the sheet has cell protection enabled. When enabled, you won’t be able to add new cells.
- Press Ctrl+A to select all the cells of the sheet and then on the Home tab click on Format and then in the drop-down menu click on Format Cells.
- Now click on the Protection tab and then uncheck on the Locked
- Click on the Review tab and click on Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook and enter the desired password to unprotect the sheet or workbook.
- Save and close the file and reopen the file.
Try checking if the Excel cannot add new cells issue still occurs.
Unmerge the Rows/Columns
When cells are merged in Excel it will restrict the adding of new cells to prevent possible loss of data.
- Find the merged rows/columns. You might have to look through your worksheet to find the merged column/row.
- For column, click on the Top Heading cell of the merged column and then on the Home tab click on the Merge and Center, which will un-merge the column. Repeat the process on any other merged columns.
- For row, click on the Left Heading cell of the merged row and then on the Home tab click on the Merge and Center, which will un-merge the row. Repeat the process on any other merged rows.
- Save and close the file.
Check if the Excel cannot insert cells issue still occurs.
Unfreeze the panes
If you freeze a portion of a sheet to keep visible then you won’t be able to insert new rows or columns to the sheet. To fix this you will need to unfreeze the pane.
- Click on the View tab and then on the Freeze Panes.
- In the drop-down list, click on Unfreeze Panes
- Save and close the file.
Try checking if you can add cells this time.
Copy to a new sheet
In case the above steps fails to fix the problem then there’s a possibility that the file you are editing is corrupt. You should then copy the data of this file to a newly created file.
- Open the problematic sheet and select and copy your required data.
- Click on the File tab and click on New and then click on Blank Worksheet
- Paste the copied data.
- Save and close the new file and reopen the new file
Try checking if Excel can’t add cells issue still occurs.