May 02

Technical Insights

Excel Troubleshooting

In this blog we will highlight some basic fixes for commonly reported Excel issues such as Excel not responding, hanging, freezing or stopped working the following guide can go a long way to resolving these issues quickly.

Install the latest updates

Ensure office has the latest updates applied to check this do the following

1. Open any Office app, such as Word, and create a new document.

2. Go to File > Account (or Office Account if you opened Outlook).

3. Under Product Information, choose Update Options > Update Now.

Note: You may need to click Enable Updates first if you don't see the Update Now option right away.


4. Close the "You're up to date!" window after Office is done checking for and installing updates.

Start Excel in Safe Mode

Safe mode lets you start Excel without encountering certain startup programs. You can open Excel in safe mode by pressing and holding Ctrl while you start the program, or by using the /safe switch (excel.exe /safe).

When you run Excel in safe mode, it bypasses functionality and settings such as alternative startup location, changed toolbars, the xlstart folder, and Excel add-ins. However, COM add-ins are excluded. This can help to establish if the root of the issue is due to an add-in. Some 3rd party software use add-ins, Sage for example.

Excel Add-Ins

If you find that opening Excel in safe mode without issue its potentially an Add-In at fault to troubleshoot if this is the case you can.

  • Click File > Options > Add-ins.
  • Select COM Add-ins, and click Go.
  • Clear all the check boxes in the list, and click OK.
  • Close and restart Excel.

If the issue does not occur when you restart Excel, start enabling your add-ins one at a time until does. This will allow you to figure out which add-in is causing the problem. Be sure and restart Excel each time you enable an add-in.

Investigate Excel file details and contents

Excel files can exist on you’re desktop or server for a long time. They are upgraded from version to version, and frequently travel from one user to another user. Frequently, a user inherits an Excel file but doesn't know what is included in the file. The following things can cause performance or crashing issues:

  • Formulas referencing entire columns.
  • Array formulas referencing an uneven number of elements in the arguments.
  • Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of hidden or 0 height and width objects.
  • Excessive styles caused by frequent copying and pasting between workbook.
  • Excessive, and invalid defined names.
Check whether your file is being generated by a third party

Sometimes Excel files are generated by a third-party application. In this case, the files may be generated incorrectly, and some features may not work properly when you open the files in Excel. If this occurs, test the features in new files outside the third-party application. If the features work correctly, you should make sure that the third party is aware of the issue.

Issues you may see like this for example is a spreadsheet been generated in an older format to .XLSX then opening in Excel 2016.

Office Quick Repair

Repairing your Office programs can resolve issues with Excel not responding, hanging or freezing by automatically repairing errors in Office files.

To run a quick repair if you open the Control Panel > Programs and Features > Find your office installation in the list > Right click on Office > Choose change > Then click on Quick Repair > then Repair