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

Method 1 – Open File with MS Excel

It is possible to open some spreadsheet with different applications. However, you must open .xlsx, .xlsm, or .csv files with the MS Excel software.

file is opened with notepad

  • Click the Excel file.
  • Right-Click to open the Context menu list.
  • Click on the Open with option.
  • Select Excel from the pop-up dialog.

file opens with Excel

Method 2 – File Has to Be in Correct Extension

Make sure that the file has an extension of .xlsx or .xlsm.

file has .txt extension

  • Right-click on the Excel file.
  • Select the Properties option.
  • Check the file extension from the Type of file field.

checking extension from Properties

Method 3 – Unblock Excel File

Sometimes we get a Security risk alert after opening the Excel file.

security risk alert

  • Right-click on the Excel file.
  • Select the Properties option.
  • Check the Unblock option.
  • Hit the Apply button.

Unblocking Excel file

Method 4-  Repair Corrupted Excel File

  • Click the arrow on the Open option before opening a file.
  • Select the Open and Repair option from the list.

opening and repairing file

Method 5 – Use Safe Mode on Windows 10 or 11

  • Press Windows + R to open Run dialog box.
  • Type excel/ safe in the text field and press OK.

Enabling safe mode

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

Method 6 – Disable Protected View


  • Protected view alertPress Alt + F + T to open the Excel Options dialog.
  • Go to the Trust Center menu.
  • Click on the Trust Center Settings button.

Opening Excel Options dialog and getting Trust center settings command

  • De-select all the options from the Protected View section.
  • Hit the OK button.

Disabling protected view

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

Method 7 – De-Select Ignore Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)

  • Press Alt + F + T to open the Excel Options dialog.
  • Go to the Advanced menu.
  • Deselect the Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) from the General section.

enabling DDE feature

Note: This step can be skipped in MS Excel 2019 or higher versions.

Method 8 – Turn Off Add-ins


  • Go to the Add-ins menu.
  • Select COM add-ins from the drop-down of the Manager field.
  • Click on the Go command.

getting the add-ins list

  • A new dialog named COM Add-ins appears.
  • De-select all the options.
  • Hit the OK button.

de-selecting add-ins

Method 9 – Repair Quickly Microsoft Office


  • Go to the Programs and Features window from the Control Panel of your computer.
  • Select Microsoft 365 application and Right-Click on it to get the Context menu.
  • Select the Change option from the list.

clicking change option from the Programs and Features dialog

  • Select the Quick Repair option.
  • Hit the Repair command.

Repairing Microsoft Office

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

Method 10 – Reset Microsoft Recommended Defaults

  • Type Apps and Features in the search bar.
  • A Setting window appears.
  • Select the Default apps menu.
  • Click on the Reset command for default settings.

Resetting defaults applications

Method 11 – Disable Hardware Graphic Acceleration

  • From the Excel Options, go to the Advanced menu.
  • Select the Disable hardware graphics acceleration from the Display section.

disabling hardware graphics acceleration

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

Method 12 – Copy Excel File from External Storage to Local Storage

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

Method 13 – Open Excel File with Another Spreadsheet Software

Use alternative an spreadsheet software to check whether there is a problem with the application or not, or you can check it with an online spreadsheet application such as Google Sheets.

Method 14 – Contact Microsoft Support when all else Fails

If the above methods don’t work, contact the Microsoft support team at https://support.microsoft.com/contactus/


Download Practice Workbook

To practice, please download the Excel Workbook file from the link below.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. Why does Excel open but not show file?

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

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

The wrong extension will prevent MS Excel reading files. Using the Open and Repair feature will allow Excel to read files.

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

This problem may occur if the Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) box is selected from the Excel Options dialog.

Excel Not Opening Files: Knowledge Hub

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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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