IBM Support

Error 'The cell you are trying to change is protected' when using a form with movement accounts



User has updated a form with a new movement account. Some of the columns in the form are grey and cannot be used for data-entry. When the user tries to do this, they receive an error message.


The cell or chart you are trying to change is protected and therefore read-only.

To modify a protected cell or chart, first remove protection using the Unprotect Sheet command (Tools menu, Protection submenu). You may be prompted for a password.


There are many potential causes for similar errors.

  • TIP: See seprate IBM Technote #1666512 for more examples.

This Technote specifically relates to the scenario where the cause is that the Controller superuser has added new accounts in the form. Afterwards, the superuser remembered to update the layout, however forgot to generate the movement account by linking the movement extension to the relevant base account.
  • This meant that some of the extensions (which were previously generated) had their cells available for data-entry, but some of the other cells (for the new extensions) were not available.

Resolving The Problem

Ask the Controller superuser to generate the movement account.


  1. Launch Controller
  2. Click "Maintain - Account Structure - Movement Accounts - Generate"
  3. In the "Available Accounts" list box, select the base accounts to generate movement accounts for and click the right arrow button to move them to the "Selected" list box.
  4. In the "Available Movement Extensions" list box, select the movement extensions to combine with the selected base accounts and click the right arrow button to move them to the "Selected" list box.
  5. Now update the layout on "Maintain - Form Structure - Define".
  6. Select the appropriate form and click on the excel link.
  7. Excel will open, then click on the Update layout button and save.

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Historical Number


Document Information

Modified date:
15 June 2018