Excel Slicer Greyed Out

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In this article, we will explore common reasons behind the Excel slicer greyed-out issue and provide practical solutions to resolve the problem effectively.

Excel slicers are valuable for data analysis and visualization, allowing interactive filtering and segmentation. However, encountering an Excel slicer greyed-out issue can be frustrating and hinder effective data analysis. This issue can disrupt workflow and impede progress.

overview image of excel slicer greyed out


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What Is Excel Slicer?

Excel Slicer is a visual filtering tool in Microsoft Excel that makes it simple to filter and work with data in a table or pivot table or pivot chart. It offers a user-friendly interface with sliders or buttons representing various filter criteria, making it simple to slice and dice data, discover patterns, and analyze dynamic information.

excel slicer use and function


Excel Slicer Greyed Out: 2 Possible Reasons and Solutions

Excel Slicer Greyed Out describes a condition in which the Excel Slicer feature seems faded or deactivated, rendering it unresponsive and unavailable. Slicers that are greyed out are inactive and cannot be dealt with at this time.

There are two main reasons to face such circumstances while working with Excel and Slicers. The details of the problem and the solution is given below.


1. Greyed Out Slicer for Excel Table

Reason: Earlier Version

In older versions of Excel, such as Excel 2010 and earlier, slicers are not natively supported. However, starting from Excel 2013, slicers were introduced as a new feature. However, the availability and functionality of slicers can vary depending on the edition of Excel. For example, in Excel 2013 Standard Edition, slicers are available for PivotTables but not for regular data tables.

In newer versions of Excel (2013 Professional Plus Edition and onwards, including Excel 2016, Excel 2019, and Excel 365), comprehensive slicer features are available for both PivotTables and regular data tables.

excel table slicer greyed out

Therefore, If you are using older versions of Excel or your data is saved in a previous format, it is possible that you may encounter limitations in accessing Excel slicers. Additionally, compatibility issues can arise when opening files created in newer versions of Excel with older versions of the software.

compatibility issues for Excel slicer

Solutions:

If you encounter any of the mentioned Excel issues where the slicer is greyed out and inaccessible, you can follow these steps to resolve the problem.

Go to the File tab and select Info.

Look for the Compatibility Mode section, which is highlighted in pale yellow. This indicates that the file requires your attention and may have compatibility issues.

excel compatibility mode 

Click on Compatibility Mode and a warning notification box will appear, informing you that the original workbook will be deleted and cannot be restored due to file format conversion. Press OK to proceed.

warning notifications from Microsoft excel

Another notification window will then appear, asking for permission to close the current workbook and reopen it. Grant permission by clicking OK and your workbook will reopen.

After reopening, you will notice that the Excel slicer greyed-out problem is resolved and the slicer is now accessible.

excel greyed out slicer problem solved


2. Greyed Out for Pivot Table

When working with pivot tables, you may encounter a similar problem where the slicer is not working in Excel. This can happen if the data is saved in previous versions of Excel or if there are compatibility issues.

excel pivot table slicer greyed out

Solutions:

To resolve this issue, you can follow the same solution as mentioned earlier. By doing so, you will be able to overcome the problem and regain access to the slicer functionality.

You have another option which is to manually save and convert the file type from .xls to .xlsm. Check the following steps to do so.

  • Click on the File tab.
  • Select “Save As“.
  • Choose the desired location to save the file.
  • From the “Save as type” drop-down menu, select “Excel Workbook (*.xlsx)“.
  • Click “b” to confirm the change.

manually save files format to solve slicer greyed-out problem

By performing these steps, you will successfully save and convert the file type, which can help in resolving the Excel slicer greyed-out problem.


Removing Greyed-Out Slicer Options in Excel

When working with slicers in Excel, it is common to filter, delete, add, or manipulate data to achieve the desired outcome. Let’s consider a scenario where we have a dataset and a pivot table at the bottom of the sheet, along with two slicers for the state and product.

datasets for removing greyed out slicer options in Excel

In this case, let’s focus on two specific states, Alaska and California, by using the slicer to filter the data accordingly. However, we may also decide to simplify the analysis by deleting all the data or entries related to Indiana.

Now, here comes the issue. Even though the data related to Indiana is no longer in the table, the slicer still displays the option for Indiana, albeit in a greyed-out state. This can be confusing and may not accurately reflect the current data situation.

slicer options greyed out a problem in Excel

There are two possible solutions to synchronize the slicer options with the data in the table and resolve the situation.

  • To update the pivot table and reflect the changes made to the data, simply right-click anywhere within the pivot table or the slicer. Then, select Refresh from the menu. If the option is greyed out and selecting it shows no data in the pivot table, it indicates that there are no new changes to update.

slicer options greyed out after refresh

  • However, if you want to completely remove the option from the slicer, follow the following steps.

First, right-click on the slicer. Then, choose Slicer Settings from the menu that appears. In the Slicer Settings dialog box, locate the Item Sorting and Filtering section. Uncheck the option that says “Show items deleted from the data source“.

slicer setting dialogue box

Finally, click “OK” to apply the changes. This will remove the greyed-out items and make your slicer display only the relevant data.

Alternatively, you can check the ‘Hide items with no data” box to completely hide cells with no data.

how to remove greyed out options in slicers

By performing these steps, you can ensure that the slicer accurately reflects the data in the pivot table, without showing the options for states or products that do not have any corresponding data entries.


Things to Remember

  • Grayed-out but selectable slicers indicate no data for that category in the visible source data.
  • Slicer interaction may be disabled due to sheet protection settings.
  • Compatibility issues with Excel versions can cause greyed-out slicers.
  • Update and refresh data sources regularly to avoid compatibility issues.
  • An invalid data source (Deleted or Moved) can cause slicers to be disabled and greyed out

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean when a slicer is greyed out in Excel?

A slicer that is greyed out means it is currently inactive or not accessible for usage.

2. Why are some slicers greyed out while others are active in Excel?

Slicers can be greyed out selectively if they are connected to different data sources or if some data sources have issues. If there are multiple slicers, it means no data for that category is present in the viewable source data when slicers are greyed out but selectable.

3. How do I refresh greyed-out slicers in Excel?

To refresh greyed-out slicers, right-click on the slicer and select “Refresh” or use the Refresh All option in the Data tab.

4. Can a slicer be greyed out due to filtered data in Excel?

Yes, if the slicer is connected to filtered data and no items meet the filter criteria, it may appear greyed out.

5. Can a slicer be greyed out if it is protected or locked in Excel?

Yes, it is possible for the slicer to be greyed out and inaccessible if the worksheet or workbook that contains it is protected or locked.


Conclusion

Facing the Excel slicer greyed-out problem is not uncommon, as the software regularly updates itself and introduces new features. Initially, when slicers were still gaining popularity, this issue was more prevalent. However, with the increasing use of more proficient and updated versions of Excel, the problem has become less frequent.

Slicers are commonly used with tables, pivot tables, or charts to enhance visual representation and improve data analysis accuracy.

Despite this, you may still encounter the greyed-out option in Excel due to various reasons. Understanding these causes will assist you in troubleshooting the problem.

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Ishrak Khan
Ishrak Khan

Qayem Ishrak Khan, BURP, Urban and Regional Planning, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh, has been working with the ExcelDemy project for 1 year. He wrote over 40+ articles for ExcelDemy. He is an Excel and VBA Content Developer providing authentic solutions to different Excel-related problems and writing amazing content articles regularly. Data Visualization, DBMS, and Data Analysis are his main areas of interest. Besides, He has passions about learning and working with different features of Microsoft... Read Full Bio

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