Fix Excel Not Responding and Save Your Work

You may encounter a common problem many times that Excel is not responding. After working for hours if this message comes on display, it may give a lot of panic. In this situation, the first step you think of is saving the file anyhow, and then you have to find out how you can fix Excel not responding and save your work so it won’t occur anymore in the future. This article will discuss on Excel Not Responding issue, how to fix and how to save your work if this happens.

How to Understand If Excel Is Not Responding

While using Microsoft Excel, the software may not respond, hang, or freeze. If it occurs, wait for some time if any dialog box appears saying any of these following messages then you can understand that the Excel is not responding. In this article, I will try to show you how to fix Excel not responding and save your work.

“Microsoft Excel is not responding”:

If this dialog box appears, you may select ‘Wait for the program to respond’ and wait. But most of the time, it will not respond. After that, close the program.

Fix Excel Not Responding and Save Your Work

“Microsoft Excel has stopped working”:

This dialog box is saying that Windows is checking for a solution to the problem but in most cases, it will not find any solution. So if it takes a long time then you can cancel it.

Fix Excel Not Responding and Save Your Work

Reasons behind Excel Not Responding Issue:

There are certain reasons behind Excel not responding. The possible reasons are:

  • This Microsoft Excel does not have the latest update.
  • There may be other processes running behind which are using Excel.
  • The file may contain any content which can create problems or is not compatible.
  • There can be any added tools, services, or add-ins that can create problems.
  • The Antivirus software may stop the Excel program from working.

How to Close an Excel File When It Is Not Responding

Sometimes, you may face problems like the Excel freezes and does not respond to any commands, but no dialog box also appears. In that cases, you wait for some time. If you see that the file is still not responding, you must close it forcefully. There are 2 ways to stop any program forcefully.

  • Way 1: Use the keyboard shortcut ALT + F4 or Alt + Fn + F4
  • Way 2: Otherwise, you use Task Manager to close any program. To open the task manager, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Del. In the task manager, you will see the list of running programs then select Excel and Press on End Task.

Excel Not Responding How to Save

8 Possible Approaches to Fix Excel Not Responding

After closing the program, you have to find out the reasons why Excel is not responding and fix the issue. Here I am discussing 8 possible approaches to fix Excel not responding.

1. Open Excel in Safe Mode

If you face the Excel software crashing after using a certain time again and again or just after the opening then you have to open Excel in safe mode. Open Excel in safe mode will enable you to start Excel without certain startup programs. You can start Excel by 2 methods:

1.1 Press & Hold Ctrl Key and Open Excel


  • Go to Start and search Excel. 
  • Press Ctrl and hold it and double click the right button on the Excel option.
  • Now a window will appear. Select the Yes option here.

How to Close an Excel File When It Is Not Responding

1.2 Use the Run Command


  • First, in the Start option in Windows, write Run and press enter. Alternatively, press Windows + R key to start the Run command.
  • Then, in the Run command, write excel /safe and press enter. 

How to Close an Excel File When It Is Not Responding

Notes: You must have to give a blank space before ‘/’ in the command.

Opening Excel in safe mode will bypass some functionalities, set an alternate start-up location, change the toolbars, and xlstart folder, and may stop some add-ins. But it doesn’t include COM add-ins.

2. Disable the Excel Add-Ins

Sometimes, the Excel add-ins may occur issues and stop Excel to respond. So, you have to disable them all and enable them one by one to check which one creating the problem. The steps are as  follows:


  • At first, you have to open  Excel in Safe Mode. Follow the method 3.
  • Then, go to File > Options > Add-ins 
  • Now, press on the manage box and open the drop-down menu. Select COM Add-ins and press Go.

How to Close an Excel File When It Is Not Responding

  • Now, a new window will appear. Uncheck all the boxes here and press OK.

  • Now, if you can open the excel file normally, then recheck the add-in boxes one by one. It will make you understand which add-in is occurring the problem

Read More: Excel Not Responding When Opening File

3. Close Other Programs Which Are Using Excel

You may have some programs running which are using the Excel software. While running the process, the Excel software may get out of memory and will not respond anymore. So if that happens, you have to wait till the end of that program or you should close that program. Then you can start working on the Excel file.

4. Check Details and Contents of the Excel File

Excel software will crash or will not respond if it goes out of memory. Sometimes, we work on an Excel file for a long time and share it with many users and my user may edit or add things. And you may not know what the file contains in it and what is the condition of it. There are some conditions when the Excel Software may get out of memory and will not respond anymore. These are shown below:

  • If you reference an entire column in a formula.
  • If there are hundred or thousands of objects which are either hidden or with zero height and width.
  • There may contain an array formula that is not evenly referenced to cells as per the argument.
  • Excessive copy and paste may cause excessive styles between workbooks.
  • If there contain excessive invalid and undefined cells.

5. Download the Latest Version of Microsoft Office

Microsoft Excel or other office software may crash if they are out of date. If you miss the installation of important recommendations to correct problems. To update the Microsoft office follow these steps:


  • First, You should turn on the automatic download and update feature. For this go to Control Panel > System and Security > Security and Maintenance
  • Then, press on the Start Maintenance. 
  • Now, it will update automatically all the windows drivers and Microsoft office software and keep up to date.

Excel Not Responding How to Save

To install specifically the Microsoft office updates, follow these steps:


  • First, open Excel and go to File > Account
  • Then, press the Update Options button and there will open a drop-down menu. Select the Update Now option.

Download the Latest Version of Microsoft Office

  • It will update the latest features and recommendations and will be up to date.

6. Repair Microsoft Office

Often, due to malware or any other reasons, there may occur problems in Microsoft Excel and you have to repair them. To repair Microsoft Excel, follow these steps:


  • First, Go to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features.
  • Then, Find and press right-click on the Microsoft Office option.
  • Now, select the Change option.  

Repair Microsoft Office

  •  Then, A new window will appear then select the Quick Repair button and press the Repair option. Wait till the repair is done. If it can’t solve the problem select Online Repair.  It will take more time but will solve the Excel not responding problem successfully.

Repair Microsoft Office

7. Perform a Clean Boot

At the time of starting the PC, many applications also start and some of them may have a conflict with Excel software. It may occur sometimes so you should check it if you face Excel not responding. You should perform a clean boot to identify the problem. The steps for this are:


  •   First, Go to Search, and write ‘msconfig’.  There you will see a suggestion named ‘System Configuration’ and press on it.

Excel Not Responding How to Save

  • Then, in the General tab, select Selective startup and check only the ‘Load System Services’  and ‘Load System Services’ options. Leave the ‘Load startup items’ option unchecked.

Perform a Clean Boot

  • Now go to the Services tab.
  • And, check the box named ‘Hide all Microsoft services.
  • Now, press on Disable all button and press Apply.

Perform a Clean Boot

  • Now, restart the PC and check the Excel is responding or not.

8. Check the Antivirus Software

Frequently, if the antivirus software in your computer is not up to date or crosses its activation period, then it may disfunction and affect other software. It also can make conflict with necessary software like Microsoft Excel. So, if it happens like Excel not responding, then try to update or activate your antivirus software or uninstall it.

After solving the issue with antivirus, go and repair the Microsoft office software as described before.

Excel Not Responding How to Save Your Files: 2 Effective Ways

After fixing the issue, the Mircosoft Excel software will start now normally. But you have to recover the Excel file that crashed while working. I am showing 2 effective ways to recover and save an Excel file when the application crashes. I have already shown how to fix Excel not responding and here I will show how to save your work when the application Crashes.

1. Document Recovery Feature to Recover and Save Your Work

After closing the file accidentally or forcefully without saving it, to recover and save the file, you to follow these steps:


  • First, Open a new file in Excel.
  • After opening, you will see an option on the left side named ‘Document Recovery’. There you will see the suggestions of the unsaved files that were closed accidentally. Press on the file and open it then save the file to the location.

Document Recovery Feature to Recover and Save Excel File


This option is available in Microsoft 365 and the latest version of Microsoft Office. If you are using an older version then you may not find this option after opening Excel again.

Read More: How to Fix Excel Not Responding Without Closing

2. Recover from Temporary File and Save Your Work

Excel also saves unsaved files as backup files in Windows 10. You can open this temporary file to recover the unsaved file. For this go to the following path:





Input the username of your own and don’t use the brackets [ ].

here, In the folder, you may find unsaved files. And open it to use.

Without going to the folder you also open the temporary files from excel. Follow these steps:


  • First, Open a new blank book in Excel. And go to File > Info. Then press on the Manage Workbook option. There will open 2 more options. And Select the Recover Unsaved Workbook option.


Document Recovery Feature to Recover and Save Excel File

  • Then it will take you to the ‘Unsaved File’ folder. And then select the temporary file saved that you want to recover. Then save it completely.

Things to Remember

  • If the Excel is not responding, then don’t restart your PC or laptop. Try to stop and restart the Excel software.
  • You may not the reason behind Excel not responding, so try all the possible ways to solve the problem.
  • First, try to fix the issue of why Excel not responding try to recover, and save the file that you are working on.
  • If you have low RAM on your PC, then Excel may crash frequently. Then try to update your PC RAM.
  • Excel may take time sometimes to do large calculations and get frozen. If you immediately shut off the Excel file, it may corrupt the file. So, you should wait some time always to find out the reason behind why it is not responding.  If the Excel is still not responding, then try the mentioned methods above one by one.


Fix Excel not responding and saving your work is a common need for Excel users who does complex calculations with a large dataset. In this article, I have tried to show you how you can fix Fix Excel not responding and save your work. Try these methods one by one and I hope the issue will be resolved.  Lastly, I hope you found this article helpful. Please, drop comments, suggestions, or queries if you have any in the comment section below.

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Osman Goni Ridwan
Osman Goni Ridwan

OSMAN GONI RIDWAN is a marine engineer who loves exploring Excel and VBA programming. Programming, to him, is a time-saving tool for efficiently managing data, files, and internet tasks. He is proficient in Rhino3D, Maxsurf, C++, MS Office, AutoCAD, Excel, and VBA and goes beyond the basics. Armed with a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, OSMAN has transitioned into the role of a content developer. Specializing in creating technical content exclusively centered around Excel... Read Full Bio

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