Too Many Different Cell Formats

When you use Excel 2003 you may encounter the “too many cell formats” error, just after you try to open a file.

This happens because Excel 2003 has a limit on the number of different file formats. It can display a maximum of 4000 combinations.

To say that two cells are the same formats, they need to have the same:

Take a look at the cells in the image below.

Each of these twelve cells has the same cell format.

And now another example.

The solution to the problem

There is a solution to this problem.

First, you need to download the OpenOffice application from

Next, install the application and open it.

Go to File >> Open.

Select the Excel file that returns a “Too many different cell formats” error. Save the file using a different name and the same extension.

Now, try to open the file with Excel 2003 and you shouldn’t get the error message.