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Posted on 2012-09-10
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We have a a spreadsheet in excel 2003 format which has reached it's limit in terms of number of columns
We need to insert another column - is there a work around for this?
Also, if we delete columns we still cannot insert columns, getting the following error message:

To prevent possible loss of data excel cannot shift non-blank cells off the worksheet .......

We have checked for non-blank cells but cannot find any - unhiding fields still reveals no non-blank cells
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Question by:doctorbill
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Assisted Solution

by:Rory Archibald
Rory Archibald earned 668 total points
ID: 38382933
If you need more columns then you'll have to use another sheet (unless you can transpose your data layout)
Have you tried saving the workbook after deleting the columns to free up space? (it sounds as though the used range is not resetting)
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by:frankhelk
frankhelk earned 1332 total points
ID: 38383183
If saving/loading won't help, it might be useful to just copy/paste all the content to another table (maybe into another file).

Do you really have an Excel sheet with 255 columns ?
Sounds overwhelming. Is it still easy to work with ?

I've had some sheets with about 100 columns and 2000 rows, and a bunch of formulas in there. Had to swich off auto calculation to keep it editable, and could do a lunch break while doing a recalc ...
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Author Comment

by:doctorbill
ID: 38383238
It's not my sheet - belongs to a customer I support. I have suggested that the file is getting a bit cumbersome.
They could migrate to excel 2010 where there are >16,000 columns allowed  I suppose
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Accepted Solution

by:
frankhelk earned 1332 total points
ID: 38383326
They could migrate to excel 2010 where there are >16,000 columns allowed  I suppose

That might be a short term solution, but maybe they should think about a redesign of the file. Or maybe some database thingie ... Excel is nice, and overwhelmingly mighty in many aspects, but it often becomes a torture when abused as database.

BTW: If there are less than 255 rows, you could possibly transpose the table into another one. That would open 65535 in the former column direction.
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Author Closing Comment

by:doctorbill
ID: 38383435
Solution as I expected
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