Fix error: Excel cannot complete this task with available resources

Summary: While Microsoft Excel is widely used across the world, errors are common in the application. This especially happens if your workbook has a lot of complex formulas and macros, and is filled with tons of data. Resolving Excel errors is usually an easy task, but before fixing an error, it is essential to identify its root cause. Through this post, let us try to troubleshoot “available resources” errors in Excel.

Excel repair resources error
Error Message

While working with Microsoft Excel, a lot of users report that they get “Excel cannot complete this task with available resources” error. While this is a common error, it is not easy to identify the actual cause behind it. This error may occur if your Excel spreadsheet has lots of macros, data, and formulas in it. Therefore, it is possible that your computer doesn’t have enough resources to process the spreadsheet, and hence, throws this error.

Why this error occurs?

The error typically occurs while performing the following actions with Microsoft Excel:

  • Try to open a new Excel file or save an existing Excel file
  • Try to use a particular defined name in a formula while using Excel sheet
  • Open an Excel file which is referencing a relative name from another excel file
  • Try to delete or define a name in the excel file
  • If you have opened more than 1 active instance of Excel on your computer or laptop
  • If your RAM is too low for processing the Excel spreadsheet easily

When this error occurs?

This error occurs when an Excel file has a very large spreadsheet in it. Suppose your spreadsheet has more than 10,000 rows in it, then you might get this error.

It can also occur once your total number of characters in a cell exceeds 32,767. You can’t go above that limit or else you will receive this error. You will also get this error if the nested loop of functions used in a calculation exceeds 64. The maximum defined limit is 64.

Now that we have enough background knowledge about them, let us proceed to troubleshoot “available resources” errors in Excel.

How to resolve this error manually?

Follow these methods in the given order to resolve the Excel error, before proceeding to the next method.

Method 1: Check if you are exceeding defined limits in excel file

There are certain limits for Microsoft Excel while dealing with a large number of calculations and functions. You need to work within the defined limits while using the Excel spreadsheet so that the functions and calculations can be executed smoothly.

The limits are defined in the previous section. For more details, you can check the full list of limitations and specifications at this reference.

If you have checked that the Excel workbook is within limits but are still getting the error, move to the next method.

Method 2: Open only one instance of Microsoft Excel at a time

You need to check if there are multiple Excel instances running on your system. This error can come if more than one Excel workbook is opened at a time. Therefore, the best way is to close all the running instances of Microsoft Excel by using Task Manager, and then reopen the workbook and check.

  1. Go to Task Manager by using Alt + CTRL + DELETE keys.
Open Task Manager
ALT+CTRL+Delete Keys
  1. Go to Applications Tab.
  2. Click Task bar to sort all the applications in alphabetical order.
  3. If there are more than 1 Microsoft Excel rows in the Task Manager, it means multiple instances are running in your system.
  4. Go back to Excel and save all your work. Now close the excel sheet and check in Task Manager again.
  5. Repeat the same process until you see no more Microsoft Excel appearing in the Task Manager’s applications tab.

If the error is still there, continue to the next method.

Method 3: Close all other applications

If your system’s RAM is not sufficient due to other applications working in the background, you will get this error. Therefore, you need to close all other applications like Google Chrome/Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, MS Outlook, etc. which are running, and then try opening the Excel workbook to see if it works.

Task Manager
Task Manager

Method 4: Turn off Preview pane in Explorer

The preview pane helps in checking the content of all the files in Windows Explorer. For example, it will give you a preview of any picture or video when you click on the file without actually opening it.

By default, this feature is turned off. But if it is turned on, it can cause conflict with the Excel workbook and lead to this error. Therefore, you need to turn it off by using these steps:

  1. Go to Start, and click on “Computer”.
  2. Click on “Organize”. Now select “Layout”.
  3. Click to clear “Preview Pane”.
  4. Now launch the Excel workbook and see it if works.

If the error is still present, move on to the next method.

Method 5: Use reference cells directly instead of defined names

This error can happen if the names defined by you are indirectly referring to other nested names which are more than 20 levels deep. You can do the following to resolve the issue.

  1. Add or use a name which exceeds the indirection level present in the formula.
  2. Delete a name which is being referenced by more than 20 levels in the defined names.

Method 6: Hardware and Software upgrade

If your current RAM is less than 4 GB, then you need to increase your RAM to 8 GB or more. Also, you can upgrade to 64 bit Microsoft Excel which can handle larger workbooks easily.

Hardware and Software Update

Method 7: Repair Excel workbook by using Stellar Repair for Excel .

If none of the solutions mentioned above works, avoid wasting any more time and download Stellar Repair for Excel software which is declared as a tool with 100% integrity and precision. This Excel Repair software scans damaged Excel files and easily repairs all its components. The software offers an interactive GUI along with several helpful features to resolve Excel related problems.


To Conclude

So you don’t need to worry if you get the “Excel cannot complete this task with available resources” error while working with an Excel workbook. You can follow the above-mentioned methods to troubleshoot “available resources” errors in Excel. If the manual methods don’t work, don’t hesitate to place your trust in Stellar Repair for Excel.

  1. George S Lantte September 15, 2019
    • Eric Simson September 22, 2019
  2. David Gay August 22, 2019

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