What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding (10 Handy Tricks)

While working in Excel, you might get the message that Microsoft Excel is not responding. But why are you getting such a message and what will be the solution to fix the issue? In this instructive session, I’ll explain the issue when Excel is not responding with real-life examples and point out 10 tricks for what you should do to fix the issue.


What Causes Excel Not Responding?

Let’s say you’re working with a large dataset containing thousands of cells. In such a situation, there is a greater possibility to see the Not Responding words with the file name.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding

Fortunately, this type of issue can be solved automatically when the data would be loaded fully.

But if you’re opening many files at once where a large number of formulas or add-ins are available, you might see the following message.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding

Sometimes, you may also see the following dialog box showing that The application is not responding.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding

Several reasons are responsible for why Excel is not responding.

  • The old version of Microsoft Office.
  • Corrupted file
  • Having unnecessary add-ins
  • Error in file contents.

However, this type of error might crash your entire output or dataset. Regrettably, if you click on Restart the program or End Process, probably you cannot recover the lost data. Alternatively, if you want to wait until the program is working properly, you may also do that.

But the waiting time is unpredictable. Surely, you do not want to be in such uncertainty.

What You Need to Do When Excel Is Not Responding

In this section, you’re going to see 10 workable solutions to fix when Excel is not responding.


1. Open Excel Program in Safe Mode 

The handy way to fix the issue is to run the Excel program in safe mode. Please do the following steps.

  • Firstly, go to your Windows search box and type ‘Run’ or something like that, immediately, you’ll see the icon of the Run app. So, click on the app.
  • Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + R to open the Run app.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Opening Excel in Safe Mode

  • In the Open box, insert excel.exe /safe and press OK.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Opening Excel in Safe Mode

Note: Remember, there is a space before the slash(/) symbol.

Eventually, you’ll get a new workbook in safe mode that will work amidst the Excel is unresponsive.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Opening Excel in Safe Mode


2. Use Task Manager When Excel Is Not Responding

Another simple way is to utilize the Task Manager tool when you have opened many files at once as shown in the following screenshot.

  • Initially, you have to open the Task Manager tool. For doing this, go to the search bar and type the Task Manager. And, choose the tool.
  • Rather you can press CTRL + ALT + Delete and choose the Task Manager option.

Utilizing Task Manager

Now, you can reduce the pressure by ending the unwanted Excel file.

  • Just, select a file and right-click. Then, pick the End task option.

Utilizing Task Manager

The exclusive feature of the Task Manager is-if you close any file unexpectedly, you can recover it by default. After closing the file, if you open any blank workbook, you’ll get a Document Recovery pane containing the lost file. Also, you have options if the Document Recovery pane is not working properly.

Document Recovery Pane


3. Check the Latest Update of Microsoft Office

If the above two methods don’t work, you can check the latest update of your Microsoft Office suite.

  • To update the version, go to File > Account.

Checking the Latest Update of Microsoft Office

  • Next, click over the drop-down list of Update Options. And, choose the Update Now option.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Checking the Latest Update of Microsoft Office


4. Disable Add-ins When Excel Is Not Responding

Sometimes, you have to use the Add-ins for a specific analysis. However, the unnecessary add-ins are not good for working Excel effectively. So, you can disable the add-ins when Excel is not responding.

  • Primarily, go to File > Options.
  • In the Excel Options, move the cursor over the Add-ins option and choose the COM Add-ins. Then, press Go.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Disabling Add-ins

  • Later, uncheck the box before any add-in and press OK.

Disabling Add-ins


5. Clear Rules and Shapes

In some cases, cell rules and specific shapes are responsible for the unresponsiveness of the Excel program. So, clear rules and delete those shapes.

  • To clear the cell rule, click Conditional Formatting (in the Home tab) > Clear Rules > Clear Rules from Entire Sheet.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Clearing Rules and Objects

  • For deleting any shapes, you need to open the Go To Special by pressing CTRL + G and choosing the Special option.

Clearing Objects

  • Next, check the circle before Objects and press OK.
  • Finally, press the Delete key to delete the selected objects.

Clearing Objects


6. Repair Excel Sheet

When an Excel file contains any corrupted workbook or sheet, you can repair those.

  • Go to File > Open
  • Select the file and pick the Open ad Repair option to repair the sheet.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Repairing Excel Sheet


7. Repair Microsoft Office

Furthermore, you can modify or repair the Microsoft Office suite if there is an error.

  • Just go to Control Panel > Programs.

Repairing Microsoft Office

  • Next, click on the Programs and Features.

Repairing Program

  • Now, right-click on the Office app and you’ll see the Change option in Microsoft 365 and the Repair option in other versions.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Repairing Microsoft Office


8. Change Default Printer When Excel Is Not Responding

If your PC is connected to a default printer which can happen the unresponsiveness of the Excel program. Because Excel considers the layout or other features of the default printer.

  • Just search Printers in the search bar. And chose Printer & scanners setting.
  • Uncheck the box before the Let Windows manage my default printer option.

Changing Default Printer

  • Click on the Manage button over a selected printer.

Changing Default Printer

  • Lastly, press Set as default.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Changing Default Printer


9. Execute Clean Boot When Excel Is Not Responding

Moreover, you may perform cleaning the boot.

  • Check the circle before Selective startup and Load system services.

Executing Clean Boot

  • subsequently, check the box before Hide all Microsoft services and click over the Disable all button.
  • Finally, press Apply > OK.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Executing Clean Boot


10. Uninstall and Reinstall Excel

The last way is to uninstall and reinstall the Excel program.

  • Go to Control Panel > Uninstall Program.

Uninstall Program

  • Right-click over the Microsoft 365 app and choose the Uninstall option.

What to Do When Excel Is Not Responding Uninstalling and Reinstalling Excel

  • Now, you need to reinstall it again.

Conclusion

This is what you should do when Excel is not responding. I firmly believe this article would be highly beneficial for you. Anyway, don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Md. Abdul Kader

Md. Abdul Kader

Hi! I am Abdul Kader and presently working as ‘Excel & VBA Content Developer’ at Exceldemy. I publish my articles related to Microsoft Excel here. In 2019, I completed my graduation in Urban and Regional Planning from Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology. Having extreme eagerness to learn, I want to develop my skills and capabilities higher.

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