Top 5 Ways to Fix Excel File Not Opening Error

Summary: MS Excel users sometimes face issues while using the MS Excel application. One such issue is the Excel file not opening error. In this post, we’ve mentioned the reasons that may result in this error and the ways to resolve it. Also, you’ll find about an Excel repair software that can help you repair corrupt Excel files.

Top 5 Ways to Fix Excel File Not Opening Error

Several Microsoft Excel users have reported encountering the ‘Excel file not opening’ error when opening their Excel file. There are several reasons that may cause this error. In this post, we’ll be discussing the reasons that may lead to the ‘Excel file not opening’ error and the top 5 ways to fix this error.

Why Does the ‘Excel File Not Opening’ Error Appear?

Following are some possible causes that may result in the ‘Excel file not opening’ error:

  1. There may be a problem with an add-in that is preventing you from opening the Excel files.
  2. There’s a chance that your Excel application is faulty.
  3. Your Excel program is unable to communicate with other programs or the operating system.
  4. The file association might have been broken. This is a common problem faced by users who have upgraded their Excel application or operating system.
  5. The file you’re trying to open is corrupted.

5 Ways to Fix Excel File Not Opening Error

Let’s explore the ways to resolve the Excel file not opening error:

1. Uncheck the Ignore DDE Checkbox

Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)allows Excel to communicate with other programs. The Excel error may occur due to incorrect DDE settings. You need to ensure that the correct DDE configuration is enabled. Follow the steps provided below:

  • Launch your MS Excel file.
  • Go to File > Options.
options menu
  • Now click on Advanced.
Advanced options
  • Further, find the General option on the screen. 
general option uncheck Dynamic Data Exchange option

  • Uncheck the option ‘Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)’.
  • Click OK to save the changes.

2. Reset Excel File Associations

When you launch your Excel file, the file association ensures that the Excel application is used to open the file. You can try to reset these associations and see if Excel opens after this. Proceed with the following steps to do so:

  • Navigate to Start Menu and launch Control Panel
  • Now, navigate to Programs > Default Programs > Set Your Default Programs.
set-your default programs
  • A new window will open. Herein, find the Excel program in the list and select it. Now, select the option ‘Choose defaults for this program’. Click OK.
set defaults
  • A new window for ‘Set Program Associations’ will open.
  • Check the box against the ‘Select All’ option.
  • Further, click Save to reset the Excel File Associations settings.
set program associations

3. Disable Add-Ins

Many people install third-party add-ins to enhance the application’s functionality. Sometimes, these add-ins can create an issue. Follow the below-mentioned steps to disable the problem creating add-ins:

  • Launch MS Excel application.
  • Navigate to File > Options > Add-ins.
Click on Add ins option
  • In the window that opens, go to the Manage option at the bottom.
  • Herein, select the COM Add-ins option from the dropdown list. Click Go.
Select com addins
  • In the COM Add-ins window, uncheck all the boxes to disable the add-ins. Click OK.
diasble com add ins checkbox

4. Repair MS Office Program

Sometimes the issue is not with your Excel file. Instead, the reason for the error can be a corrupt MS Office application. You can repair the program to fix the Excel file not opening error. Here are the steps:

  • Press the Windows + R keys to launch the ‘Run’ dialog box.
Run Dialog box
  • Enter the text ‘appwiz.cpl’ to launch the program and features window.
appwiz.cpl in the run field
  • Find the MS Office program in the list of applications.
locate Microsoft Office in the list
  • Right-click on it and select Change.
right click and select change
  • In the new window, select the Quick Repair radio button. Click Repair.
quick repair option
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to repair the Office application. Once the repair process is completed, you can try opening the Excel file to see if the problem is resolved.

5. Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration

The hardware graphics acceleration assists in the system’s better performance, especially when you use MS Office applications, like MS Excel or Word. Sometimes, this causes the Excel file not opening issue. You can disable this option to try to resolve the issue. Here are the steps:

  • Launch your MS Excel application.
  • Navigate to File > Options > Advanced.
  • Herein, go to the Display option.
  • Uncheck the Disable hardware graphics acceleration checkbox. Click OK.
hardware accelaration

What If These Solutions Do Not Work?

If you have applied all the methods mentioned above and still cannot open your Excel file, there are chances that your file is corrupted. You can use a specialized Excel repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Excel to repair the corrupted Excel file. This software has powerful algorithms that can scan and repair even severely corrupt Excel files, without any file size limitation. After repairing the file, it restores all the data, including tables, charts, rules, etc. to a new Excel, with 100% integrity.

To know how the software works, see the video below:


Before you proceed with resolving the Excel file not opening error, try to find out the root cause of this error. If you know the real reason, you can try the method right away. If the reason for the error is corruption in the Excel file, the best option is to repair the file using a professional Excel repair software, such as Stellar Repair for Excel.

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