[Fixed!] Excel Is Not Opening Files (14 Solutions)

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In this article, we delineate why is Excel not opening files. The main reason for not opening your .xlsx or .xlsm files can be corrupted. However, there are other issues such as wrong extensions, inappropriate add-ins, security risks, protected views, broken files, and so on.

While meeting the deadline, Excel refuses to open important files and becomes our nightmare. This unexpected refusal behavior is quite frequent. Like many of us, if you are a victim of this unwanted situation, this article is fruitful for you.

Excel not opening files

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14 Solutions When Excel Is Not Opening Files

1. Open File with MS Excel

There is a chance of opening the spreadsheet files with different softwares. However, you must open the .xlsx, .xlsm, or .csv files with the MS Excel software.

file is opened with notepad

  • Initially, click on the Excel file >> Then, Right-Click on the Mouse to get the Context menu list >> Next, click on the Open with option >> Finally, select Excel from the pop-up dialog.

file opens with Excel

2. File Has to Be in Correct Extension

Make sure that the file is having correct extension. Basically .xlsx and .xlsm is the correct extension that Excel allows.

file has .txt extension

  • To check the extension, select the Excel file >> Then, Right-Click on the Mouse >> Next, select the Properties option >> Thus a properties dialog appears >> Finally, check the file extension from the Type of file field.

checking extension from Properties

3. Unblock Excel File

Sometimes we get the Security risk alert after opening the Excel file. It is quite familiar when after downloading an Excel file from the internet and opening it. However, it doesn’t create obstacle while opening an Excel file rather disable Macro to execute VBA code.

security risk alert

  • In this case, we must select the Excel file >> Then, Right-Click on the Mouse >> Next, select the Properties option >> Thus a properties dialog appears >> Further, check the Unblock option >> Finally, hit the Apply button.

Unblocking Excel file

4. Repair Corrupted Excel File

MS Excel privileges with an option named Open and Repair that allows you to fix faulty files and open them with Excel software.

  • To begin the procedure, you need to open the Open dialog before opening a file >> select the Excel file >> Expand the drop-down of the Open button >> select the Open and Repair option from the list.

opening and repairing file

5. Use Safe Mode on Windows 10 or 11

Sometimes malfunction may take place in the add-ins that may affect the Excel file. In this case, we require to isolate files from malfunctioning.

  • First, press Windows + R to open Run dialog >> Then type excel/ safe in the text field.

Enabling safe mode

Note: This method is only applicable for Windows Operating System.

6. Disable Protected View

Often you may have noticed that we figure out Protected View once we open files that we download from the internet. In addition, the Protected View doesn’t allow you to edit the file. So, all you need to disable it from the Excel settings.

  • Protected view alertPrimarily, press Alt + F + T to open the Excel Options dialog >> Then go to the Trust Center menu >> Next click on the Trust Center Settings button.

Opening Excel Options dialog and getting Trust center settings command

  • Further, de-select all the options from the Protected View section >> Then hit the OK button.

Disabling protected view

Note: The Protected View secures your computer from the virus or malware that transfers with downloaded documents. So it is recommended to re-enable Protected View from the settings once your editing is done.

7. De-Select Igonre Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)

One of the common issues that may happen in Excel is the enabled DDE feature. By turning off the option you may fix the problem with your workbook.

  • Firstly, press Alt + F + T to open the Excel Options dialog >> Then go to the Advanced menu >> Next deselect the Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) from the General section.

enabling DDE feature

Note: This step is skippable for MS Excel 2019 or the higher versions.

8. Turn Off Add-ins

You have probably noticed that we require to use some third-party add-ins to use more features and enhance productivity. Most of them are not by-default features. However, turning off Add-ins from the Excel Options may allow you to get rid of your problem.

  • Initially, go to the Add-ins menu >> then, select COM add-ins from the drop-down of the Manager field >> Next, click on the Go command.

getting the add-ins list

  • Thus a new dialog named COM Add-ins appears >> After that de-select all the options >> Finally, hit the OK button.

de-selecting add-ins

9. Repair Quickly Microsoft Office

Another possible reason can be related to your Microsoft Office. Often the application can be corrupted or need to be repaired, also reinstallation can be essential.

  • To do so, first, go to the Programs and Features window from the Control Panel of your computer >> Then select Microsoft 365 application and Right-Click on it to get the Context menu >> Further select the Change option from the list.

clicking change option from the Programs and Features dialog

  • Thus a dialog of Microsoft Next select the Quick Repair option >> Finally, hit the Repair command.

Repairing Microsoft Office

Note: Users may require to restart the computer after completing the repairing process.

10. Reset Microsoft Recommended Defaults

File association is the built-in system that makes sure to open the file with MS Excel. Mismatched file association can be an issue that doesn’t allow your Excel files to open.

  • To begin the procedure, type Apps and Features in the search bar of your computer >> Thus a Setting window appears >> Next select the Default apps menu >> Finally, click on the Reset command for default settings.

Resetting defaults applications

11. Disable Hardware Graphic Acceleration

Enabling the Hardware graphics acceleration helps our system to perform smoother. However, in some cases, it prevents to opening files or leads to file crashing.

  • Firstly, from the Excel Options dialog, go to the Advanced menu >> Next select the Disable harware graphics acceleration from the Display section.

disabling hardware graphics acceleration

Note: Microsoft removes the disable hardware graphics acceleration options from the newer Excel versions.

12. Copy Excel File from External Storage to Local Storage

The External device’s connection might not be working well while opening an Excel file which can cause issues. In this incident, you require to copy the files to the local storage and re-launch the Excel file to resolve issues.

13. Open Excel File with Another Spreadsheet Software

It is a pearl of wisdom to use alternative spreadsheet software to check whether there is any problem with the application or not when you are in trouble with your Excel files. Also, you can check it via online spreadsheet software.

14. Ask Support from Microsoft Support When Everything Fails

If the above-mentioned approaches don’t work, it is suitable for you to ask for help from the Microsoft support team using https://support.microsoft.com/contactus/ web address.

On another note, you can post your shortcomings on the many active Microsoft forums. There are a bunch of helpful peeps to rescue.


We produce 14 possible reasons and solutions regarding Excel not opening files. We hope this tutorial provides a concise structure that simplifies your learning. Moreover, we believe you will be able to figure out the reasons for not opening files with Excel and take measures accordingly. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comment section. For a better understanding and new articles, don’t forget to go through our site.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. Why does Excel open but not show file?

You require to Check for hidden sheets first. An Excel sheet can be saved as a hidden document. To check this, go to the View tab >> Then, select Unhide option.

2. Why is Excel unable to read files in Windows 10?

Because of the wrong extension, MS Excel is unable to read files. Further, by correcting the extension after file name and using the Open and Repair feature your Excel application will be able to read files.

3. Why does excel fail to open files when double-clicked?

A dynamic data exchange (DDE) message is sent to Excel once we hit double-click on an Excel workbook. This message dictates Excel to initiate the workbook. The problem may occur if the Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is selected from the Excel Options dialog.

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MD Tanvir Rahman
MD Tanvir Rahman

MD Tanvir Rahman, BUET graduate in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, dedicated over a year to the ExcelDemy project. He is an Excel and VBA Content Developer. Having authored 50+ insightful articles, he actively updates and improves over 80 articles, reflecting his commitment to accuracy and currency, managing day-to-day operations, and analyzing and developing Excel and VBA tutorials. His broad interests encompass Data Analysis, Advanced Excel, VBA Macro, Excel Templates, Excel Automation, and Excel Power Query, showcasing a... Read Full Bio

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