I have a couple of drop down boxes on a form that are what I'd like to dub "perma-locked". Every person we've thrown at the form is unable to unlock the drop down.

The drop downs do not show a context menu when right clicked and when they're the active item, all menu bars turn grey. The drop downs cannot be dragged or resized. They have a very distinct layout in that that are completely fixed. If I make the cell that they are in bigger or smaller, they do not resize. There are no macros in the workbook and the workbook isn't protected.

Anybody have a clue how to get control of these?

3 Answers 3


I found the culprit! The item is a Combo Box (ActiveX Control). It can be manipulated when in Design View which can be accessed via:

In Office 2003 :: View -> ToolBars -> Control Toolbox -> Design Mode 
In Office 2007 :: Developer Tab -> Design Mode
  • Excellent, we all learn something new everyday.
    – Troggy
    Jul 27, 2009 at 21:22

Is the cell locked? In the cell options, there is a checkbox that says "locked". This is not suppose to have any effect though until the sheet is protected.Right click, "Format Cells", "Protection" tab (last one to the right), two checkbox options and the top one is "locked" You might try protecting and un protecting the sheet. I have something go haywire on me once and that seemed to help.

EDIT: (using excel 2007) Ok, that drop down your seeing was possibly created by the Data Validation option for a cell.

Try selecting the cell, then click the "Data Validation" button on the ribbon (excel 2007). All the options for the drop down should be in there. The source and what is allowed is listed in the first tab "settings", the second tab is the "input message" (this is what comes up when cell is selected), and an error alert.

You can see the drop down options from the source by right clicking on the cell and selecting "pick from drop down list..." Then the data options for the cell appear to the left. The first text you see when the cell is selected is just the "input message". It is a little confusing, cause it can just look like drop down options you can't select.

Is that helpful?

  • No the cell isn't locked. It seems that the drop down is actually floating above the cell Jul 27, 2009 at 20:50
  • ohhh, I know what you mean now, I have a sheet with one of those, let me go look at it really quick.
    – Troggy
    Jul 27, 2009 at 20:52
  • @Troggy - I wait with bated breath! Jul 27, 2009 at 20:59
  • Ok, try what I just added to my answer.
    – Troggy
    Jul 27, 2009 at 21:01
  • noooo, i have no more votes left :( sorry
    – pavsaund
    Jul 27, 2009 at 21:13

I found the fix as well for Excel 2016! go into settings and disable video graphics acceleration and uncheck any program utilization that uses any third party software.

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