How to Troubleshoot Microsoft Excel When It Stops Working

Microsoft Excel often experiences unresponsiveness issues. These problems can arise from minor glitches or other app-related issues. If restarting Excel doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to explore more advanced solutions.

There are several methods to fix Excel when it freezes. You can try opening it in safe mode, disabling add-ins, or utilizing the repair utility to fix all Office apps. Here are some potential solutions to address your issue.

Opening Excel in Safe Mode

To determine whether your configured options or add-ins are causing Excel to stop responding, you can launch the app in safe mode. Safe mode enables Excel to load only essential items, excluding any add-ins and customized options.

By doing this, you can identify whether add-ins are the cause of the problem. If they are, you can then disable these problematic add-ins.

  1. Simultaneously press the Windows and R keys to open the Run box.
  2. Type the following command in the Run box and press Enter: excel.exe /safe
  3. Excel should open in safe mode.

If Excel launches in safe mode, it suggests that your configured options or add-ins are likely causing the issue. In such cases, follow the second fix below to disable the problematic add-ins.

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Disabling Add-Ins in Excel

Add-ins often contribute to various Excel issues, and disabling them can help determine whether they are the root of the problem. Disabling Excel add-ins is a straightforward process, and you can easily re-enable them whenever required.

  1. Press the Windows and R keys simultaneously to open the Run box.
  2. Type the following command in the Run box and press Enter: excel.exe /safe
  3. When Excel launches in safe mode, select File > More > Options.
  4. Choose Add-ins from the left sidebar.
  5. Select COM Add-ins from the Manage drop-down menu and click Go.
  6. Untick the boxes for all displayed add-ins, then select OK.
  7. Quit Excel and reopen it in normal mode (not safe mode).
  8. If Excel is no longer unresponsive, enable one add-in at a time to identify the problematic one.

Changing the Default Printer on Your Windows 10/11 PC

Excel’s unresponsiveness might not directly relate to your printers. However, since the app leverages printer margins, changing the default printer can resolve the problem.

You can always revert to your original default printer afterward using the same steps.

  1. Press the Windows and I keys simultaneously to launch Settings.
  2. Choose Devices, then select Printers & scanners in Settings.
  3. Select a non-default printer from the list and click Manage.
  4. Choose Set as default to designate the newly selected printer as the default.
  5. Launch Excel and check whether the app responds.

If changing your default printer resolves the issue, it suggests that your printer drivers may have problems. In such cases, try uninstalling and reinstalling your printer on your PC to resolve the issue.

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You can continue using the current setup and manually select the desired printer when printing, if preferred.

Disabling Your Antivirus Software to Address Excel Not Responding Error

Some antivirus programs may mistakenly identify safe files as suspicious, which could prevent Excel from responding on your computer. Your antivirus software might recognize the Excel app as a potential threat.

In such cases, temporarily disable your antivirus protection and check if Excel opens. The exact steps to disable protection vary depending on the antivirus program you use. In most cases, right-clicking the program in the system tray and choosing the disable option allows you to turn off the protection.

If your issue is resolved by disabling the antivirus, you’ll need to whitelist the Excel app in your antivirus or consider using a different antivirus program.

Repairing Microsoft Office

Microsoft products often include repair tools, enabling you to resolve most issues without external help. The same holds true for Microsoft Office, as you can use its repair utility to fix all your Office apps, including Excel, with a few clicks.

The repair tool provides both quick repair and online repair options. You can start with the quick fix option to see if it resolves your issue.

  1. Open the Control Panel by accessing the Start menu, searching for Control Panel, and selecting the utility from the search results.
  2. On the Control Panel window, choose Uninstall a program.
  3. Locate and select Microsoft Office from the list, then click Change at the top.
  4. In the User Account Control prompt, select Yes.
  5. Choose the Quick Repair option and click Repair. Follow the on-screen instructions to repair your Office apps, including Excel.
  6. Once your Office programs are fixed, restart your PC and launch Excel.
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Updating Microsoft Office

An existing bug can also cause Excel to become unresponsive. In such cases, updating to a newer version of Office can likely resolve your problem. You can perform an Office update from any Office app on your computer.

Since you can’t use Excel, use the Word app to update all your Office apps simultaneously.

  1. Launch the Microsoft Word app on your computer.
  2. Select File > Account in Word.
  3. Choose Update Options > Update Now to update your apps.
  4. After updating your apps, open Excel, and the app should respond normally.

Checking and Installing Windows Updates

Similar to Microsoft Office, it’s crucial to keep your Windows version up to date to benefit from the latest bug fixes. Windows typically automatically checks for and installs the newest updates, but you also have the option to manually check for updates.

  1. Press the Windows and I keys to access Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security in Settings.
  3. Select Windows Update on the left and click Check for updates on the right.
  4. Install any available updates and restart your PC.

Numerous Methods to Resolve the Excel Not Responding Issue

When your Excel app becomes unresponsive, preventing you from performing spreadsheet tasks, try one or more of the methods mentioned above to potentially overcome the problem. Once you address the underlying issues, your Excel app should function as intended. Good luck!

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