Excel Not Responding – 10 Ways To Fix It!

Sometimes when you launch Excel or are in the process of working with Excel, Excel freezes and returns a message box indicating that Microsoft  Excel is not responding

 Microsoft  Excel is not responding prompt

This tutorial lists some of the causes of Microsoft Excel is not responding errors and shows 10 ways to fix it.

Some Causes of Excel Not Responding Error

The following are some of the causes of Excel not responding:

  1. Insufficient RAM caused by too many programs running at the same time 
  2. Damaged or corrupted Excel file
  3. Keeping source formatting when copying data from web pages
  4. Add-ins that conflict with Excel
  5. Antivirus that conflicts with Excel
  6. Windows and Office not updated
  7. Inaccessible default network printer
  8. Corrupted Office files

10 Ways to Fix Excel Not Responding Error

Let’s have a look at 10 things you can try to fix the Excel not responding issue.

Method #1: Close All Programs and Re-open Excel Only

Sometimes Excel crashes when it runs out of needed system sources such as memory (RAM). 

This could be caused by too many unnecessary programs running at the same time hogging system resources (it’s often the Chrome browser in my experience).  

A simple solution is to close Excel and all the unnecessary programs and re-open Excel only.

Sometimes when Excel crashes, the computer is also frozen and you may not be able to close the programs in the normal way.

You may have to close the programs using the Task Manager App in the following way:

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
  2. Select Task Manager in the window that appears.
  3. In the Task Manager window, select the programs you want to close, one at a time, and click End Task.
End task in task Manager

When you re-open Excel, check its performance and see if the error is resolved. If the error continues then try the next solution.

Method #2: Repair The Excel File

Sometimes Excel fails to respond because the workbook you are working on is corrupted. 

You can try to repair the Excel file using Excel’s built-in way.

We use the following steps:

  1. Select Close the program on the Microsoft Excel is not responding message box.
Close the program
  1. Launch Excel and select Open on the left sidebar of the welcome screen.
Select Open
  1. Navigate to the folder where the Excel file you were working on is stored.
Select the file you want to repair
  1. Select the File and select Open and Repair on the Open drop-down list.
Select Open and Repair
  1. Click the Repair button in the message box that appears. 
Click the repair button

Excel attempts to repair the workbook, opens the Excel file, and returns a message box informing you of the state of the repair.

Repair status of the Excel file
  1. Click the Close button to dismiss the message box.
  2. Save the repaired file to a different file name. 

Continue working with the Excel file and check if the error is resolved. If the error is not resolved, proceed to the next solution.

Method #3: Copy and Paste Data From Web Pages in Excel as Text

Sometimes Excel stops responding when you paste in data from web pages on the internet.

This is because the data is in HTML format and Excel has to decode it to maintain the source formatting. This process is involved and causes Excel to stop responding. 

This issue is resolved when you use the Paste Special Text option.

If you are copying data from the Internet, use the following steps to paste it into Excel as plain text:

  1. Select the data you want to copy from the internet and press Ctrl + C to copy it.
  2. In Excel, select the cell into which you want to paste the data.
  3. Right-click the selected cell and select Paste Special on the shortcut menu.
Click on Paste Special
  1. In the Paste Special dialog box select Text in the Paste As list box and click OK.
Paste as text

The data is pasted into Excel without any formatting and Excel does not freeze.

Method #4: Change the Default Printer

Sometimes if your default printer is a network printer, Excel may have trouble accessing it and stop responding. 

To solve this issue, change the default printer to Microsoft XPS Document Printer, using the following steps:

  1. From the Windows Search box, search and select Control Panel App from the list that appears.
Select Control Panel app
  1. In the Control Panel window, select View devices and printers under the Hardware and Sound option.
select View devices and printers
  1. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the Microsoft XPS Document Writer icon and select Set as default printer from the shortcut menu.
Select set as default printer
  1. Click OK on the warning message box that appears
Click OK

A check mark appears next to the Microsoft XPS Document Writer icon, indicating that it is now the default printer. 

Printer set as default
  1. Close and reopen Excel. Check its performance to see if the error of not responding is resolved. Try the next solution if Excel continues to freeze. 
Also read: How to Change Page Orientation in Excel (for Printing)

Method #5: Temporarily Disable the Antivirus

Sometimes the antivirus installed on the device may conflict with Excel causing it to stop responding. 

To find out if Excel is not responding because of a conflict with the antivirus, disable the antivirus for some time and re-open Excel.

If Excel works just fine then contact the provider of the antivirus for support on resolving the conflict between Excel and the antivirus.  

If the support given by the antivirus provider does not resolve the issue, then proceed to the next solution.

Method #6: Launch Excel in Safe Mode

If Excel repeatedly freezes or stops responding you may try to launch it in Safe Mode.

When you open Excel in safe mode, it bypasses certain functions, excludes add-ins, and starts with only essential services. This can help you isolate the cause of the error.

To launch Excel in Safe Mode, we use the steps below:

  1. Open the Run App using any of the following techniques:

Press Windows + R. Check between the Ctrl and Alt keys for the Windows key.

Or

Type the word Run in the Windows search box and select Run App from the list that appears.

Click on the Run app

The Run App opens:

Run app opens
  1. Type the following command in the Open drop-down list. Remember to input a space character before the forward slash:
excel.exe /safe
Enter excel.exe /safe in run app

Excel opens in Safe Mode: 

Excel opened in safe mode

If Excel opens in Safe Mode and does not crash most likely the cause of the error could be a faulty add-in.

We open Excel in Safe Mode temporarily in search of a permanent solution. If Excel does not crash in Safe Mode, proceed to the next way in search of a permanent solution.

Method #7: Check For Faulty Add-ins and Disable or Remove them

Excel Add-ins and custom Component Object Model (COM) Add-ins provide optional features and commands for Microsoft Excel. Sometimes an add-in can become faulty and cause Excel to crash or not respond.  

We use the following steps to isolate a faulty add-in and disable or remove it:

  1. Select File on the Excel Ribbon to open the Excel Backstage screen.
Click on the file tab
  1. Select Options on the left sidebar of the Backstage screen.
Click on options
  1. Select Add-ins on the left sidebar of the Excel Options dialog box.
Select Add-ins
  1. Disable all the add-ins by doing the following:

To disable Excel Add-ins, select Excel-Add-ins in the Manage drop-down list at the bottom of the Excel Options dialog box and click the Go button:

 select Excel-Add-ins in the Manage drop-down list

In the Add-ins dialog box that appears, uncheck all the add-ins in the Add-ins available list box and click OK.

Uncheck all add-ins

To disable all the COM Add-ins, first re-open the Excel Options dialog box as explained earlier in this tutorial and select Add-ins on the left sidebar of the dialog box. 

Open the Manage drop-down list, click COM Add-ins and click the Go button:

Select com add-ins in the drop down

In the COM Add-ins dialog box that appears, uncheck all the add-ins in the Add-ins available list box and click OK.

uncheck all the add-ins
  1. Enable one add-in and observe the performance of Excel. If Excel does not freeze, enable the next add-in and check the performance of Excel. 

If Excel stops responding after enabling an add-in, then that add-in is the one causing the Excel is not responding error.

You can disable it as explained earlier in this tutorial or you can remove it.

How to Remove an Add-in

We use the following steps to remove an unwanted Excel Add-in:

  1. Open the Excel Options dialog box as explained earlier in this tutorial.
  2. Identify the path of the add-in as in the example below:
Locate the add-in path
  1. Close Excel.
  2. Navigate to where the add-in is stored on your computer. Select the add-in and press Delete.
Delete the add-in
  1. Open Excel.
  2. Open the Excel Options dialog box and select Add-ins on the sidebar on the left.
  3. Open the Manage drop-down list, click Excel Add-ins, and click Go.
  4. In the Add-ins dialog box, select the unwanted add-in in the Add-ins available list -box.
Select the unwanted add-in

A message box pops up informing you that Excel cannot find the add-in, giving you the option to delete it. Click Yes to remove the unwanted add-in.

Click Yes to remove the unwanted add-in

The add-in is removed from the list of available add-ins:

Add-in is removed
  1. Click OK.

Removing a COM Add-in is straightforward. We use the following steps:

  1. Open the Excel Options dialog box and select Add-ins on the left sidebar.
  2. Open the Manage drop-down list, click COM Add-ins, and click Go.
  3. In the COM Add-ins dialog box, select the add-in in the Add-ins available list box and click Remove.
Remove com addin

Method #8: Update Windows and Office

Sometimes Excel freezes and does not respond because either Windows or Office suite or both are not updated.

In this case, ensure to update both Office and Windows. The installed updates can fix the performance issues of Excel.

Update Windows 

To check if Windows updates are available and install them, use the following steps:

  1. Open Settings by clicking the Windows Start button in the bottom left corner of the screen and selecting Settings.
Click on settings
  1. Click the Check for Updates button and if Windows updates are available, click the Download button. This starts the downloading and installation of updates.  
click on check for updates button

Update Microsoft Office

To update Microsoft Office, use the following steps:

  1. In Exel, select File to open the Backstage window.
Click the file tab
  1. In the Backstage window, select Account on the left sidebar.
Click on account
  1. In the Account window, in the Office Updates section, select Update Now in the Update Options drop-down list.
Select update now

After updating Windows and Office, open Excel and check if the Excel is not responding error is resolved.

If Excel continues not to respond, try the next solution of repairing Office. 

Enable automatic updates of Windows and Office

We can set Windows to automatically update Windows and Office so that we do not have to do a manual update in the future.

Do the following to enable automatic download and installation of Windows and other Microsoft products such as Office:

  • In the Settings window, select Advanced options.
select Advanced options
  • In the Advanced options window, enable the update options as shown below.
enable the update options

With the update options enabled as shown, Excel will be automatically updated regularly.

Method #9: Repair Microsoft Office 

Sometimes even after you have updated Windows and Office, Excel continues to crash. A damaged or corrupted Office could be the reason. 

Repair Office and see if the error is resolved.

To repair Microsoft Office, we use the steps below:

  1. Close all running Office Apps. 
  2. From the Windows Search box, search and select the Control Panel App on the list that appears.
select the Control Panel App
  1. Click on the Programs option in the Control Panel window.
Select Programs
  1. Select Programs and Features in the Programs window.
Select Programs and Features
  1. In the Programs and Features window, select Microsoft Office in the list of programs and click on Change.
click on Change
  1. You see the User Account Control prompt that asks Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?  Choose Yes.
  2. In the dialog box that appears, select Quick Repair and click the Repair button. If the problem persists you can later try Online Repair.
Select quick repair

The process of repair takes a while. After the repair, open Excel and check if the error is resolved. 

Method #10: Uninstall and Reinstall Office

If repairing Office does not fix the problem. Try uninstalling and reinstalling Office.

Uninstall Office

To uninstall Office, use the following steps:

  1. Close all running Office Apps. 
  2. Search and select the Control Panel App on the list that appears.
select the Control Panel App
  1. Select Programs in the Control Panel window.
Select Programs
  1. Select Programs and Features in the Programs window.
Select Programs and Features
  1. In the Programs and Features window, select Microsoft Office in the list of programs and click Uninstall.
click Uninstall

The uninstallation process may take a while. 

Re-Install Office

To reinstall Office, use the following steps:

  1. Go to www.office.com and select Sign in. Sign in using the account you connected with your version of Office.
Go to office website
  1. From the home page of Office select Install Office and follow through as you are guided through the installation process. 
Select Install Office

The installation process may take a while. When Office is installed, open Excel and check if the Excel not responding error is resolved. 

Excel can stop responding because of various reasons ranging from insufficient RAM to damaged Office files. This tutorial has explained 10 ways to fix the problem of Excel not responding.

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