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Microsoft Excel Won't Open, How to Fix It (6 Possible Solutions)

If you are troubled by Excel won't open problem, here are five possible ways you can fix it. You can solve Excel won't open on Windows 10 or Mac by repairing Microsoft Office, running Excel in safe mode, turning off add-ins, unchecking ignore DDE in Excel, etc.


Table of Contents

Methods in this article can be used to solve the following problems with Excel not opening:

  • Excel won't open after an update
  • Office 365 Excel won't open files
  • Excel won't open on Mac
  • Excel won't open on Windows 10

Problem: Excel Won't Open All Of a Sudden

"My Microsoft Excel suddenly stopped working on my Mac. I can't start the applications to open Excel documents. I updated the software and that hasn't solved the problem. Any ideas on what could be causing Excel won't open and how I could fix it?"   

Excel won't open on Mac

Many users have reported the same conundrum that Excel won't open on Windows 10 or Mac computers. The Excel not opening issue will prevent people from using Excel to do statistical calculations, process data, VBA programming, etc.

If you can't open Microsoft Excel and don't know how to solve the problem, check out this tutorial and learn the causes and feasible solutions. Apart from that, learn how to repair corrupted Excel with an effective file repair tool.

Causes: Why Won't Excel Open

The reasons why Excel won't open are not certain. Quite a few factors are likely to cause the problems. Some of the causes of Excel not opening are:

  • The Excel application might be corrupted and can't open.
  • Incompatible or problematic add-ins prevent Excel from opening.
  • The file you want to open with Excel is broken.
  • The Microsoft update causes the problem.

Whatever the actual reason for the Microsoft Excel won't open, you can follow the solutions below to rectify the issue.

Solutions: Fix Excel Won't Open in 6 Ways

No matter if you encounter the Excel can't open question on Windows or Mac computer, you can solve the problem from these the following points. These steps refer to solving Excel not opening on Windows 10, and the approaches on Mac are almost the same.

1. Repair Corrupted Excel Files with a File Repair Tool

File corruption is one of the problems that prevent Excel from opening. To resolve Excel won't open in Windows 10 or Mac, you can troubleshoot by repairing corrupted Excel files.

Stellar Toolkit for File Repair has a good reputation in the file repairing field. It supports fixing damaged Microsoft files and PDF documents quickly and efficiently. 

Free download this file repair program, and fix the corrupted Excel files with the steps below. 

Step 1. Select the Excel Files

Download, install and launch Stellar Toolkit for File Repair. Go to the software's home screen and click "Repair Spreadsheet".

Select the Excel Files

Step 2. Repair the Excel Files

Browse to select the corrupt Excel files (XLS/XLSX). You can click on the Search option if you don't know its location. Once the file is selected, click "Repair". The software will initiate the scanning and repairing process.

Repair the Excel Files

Step 3. Preview and Save

Once the scan and repair process is over, the items will be displayed in a tree-view on the software's left-hand panel. Preview the items by double-clicking on them.

If the file preview is satisfactory, click the "Save File" button on the main menu. When prompted, choose the destination to save the salvaged file. Click "OK".

Preview and Save

2. Repair Microsoft Office

Repairing Office can fix Excel not opening issue resulting from corrupted Excel program. 

Step 1. Right-click the Windows start button, and click "Control Panel".

Step 2. Click "Programs and Features" and click on "Microsoft Office".

Step 3. Click "Repair" and then "Continue". You can choose "Online Repair" and "Quick Repair". Let the repair finish and check if you can open Excel.

Fix Word crashes when saving

3. Open Excel in Safe Mode

You can run Excel in safe mode to exclusive the problem of the software itself. When you run Excel in safe mode, it bypasses functionality and settings such as alternative startup location, changed toolbars, and Excel add-ins. 

Find the Excel shortcut. Press and hold the Ctrl key and double-click the Excel shortcut. Click "Yes" to open Excel in safe mode.

Or you can open Excel in safe mode by using the /safe switch (excel.exe /safe) in Command Prompt.

Step 1. Right-click the Windows start button and choose Command Prompt (Admin).

Step 2. Type excel.exe /safe to run Excel. 

fix Excel not responding - safe mode

If you can open Excel in safe mode properly, then the problem is caused by other things, such as wrong settings and problematic plug-ins. Move to the next method to troubleshoot.

4. Uncheck the Ignore DDE Box

DDE, Dynamic Data Exchange, DDE is how Excel interacts with other applications, it can send commands to Microsoft programs when you double-click an Excel file. There is an option in Excel named 'Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)'. If you enable this feature in Excel, Microsoft Excel won't open when your double-click to run it.

Here are the steps to uncheck the ignore DDE box.

Step 1. Run Excel in safe mode. Refer to the above solution to enter safe mode.

Step 2. Click "File" on the top toolbar. Then, choose "Options".

Step 3. Click on the "Advanced" tab on the left panel. Scroll down to the "General" section.

Step 4. Uncheck the "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)" box, and click "OK" to save the settings.

uncheck ignore dde in excel

Re-open your Excel to verify if the problem is resolved.

5. Disable Add-ins in Excel

Add-ins may interfere or conflict with Excel. You can try to fix Excel won't open or Excel not responding issue by turning off add-ins.

Step 1. Enter safe mode in the way demonstrated in Method 2.

Step 2. Click "File" > "Options" > "Add-ins". Select "COM Add-ins", and click "Go".

Step 3. Uncheck all the add-ins in the list, and click "OK". Then restart Excel.

fix Excel not responding - disable add-ins

If the Excel starts normally, re-enable the add-ins one-by-one until Excel not opening issue happens again. Thus, you may find out which add-in is the culprit.

6. Install the Latest MS Office Version

Some older versions of the Microsoft Office software may have bugs and problems that cause Excel not to open. Check and install the most recent versions in the way below. 

Step 1. Open Office Word or PowerPoint. Go to "File" > "Account".

Step 2. Under Product Information, choose "Update Options" > "Update Now". You can also choose "Disable Updates" or "View Updates".

fix Excel not responding - update Microsoft Office

To Wrap Up

Microsoft Office Excel is undoubtedly the top-rated data processing software. But there are times Excel won't open suddenly because of single or various reasons. You can try out the methods in this guide to fix Excel or Excel files that won't open issues. If you need to fix damaged Excel files, use Stellar file repair software and recover all Excel content.

We highly recommend you update your Excel and Microsoft Office to the latest version, which ensures smooth use. What's more, back up your important files regularly to avoid any data loss.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and likes various electronic products.

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