How to Fix Microsoft Excel not Responding Error

Summary: This guide helps you resolve Excel not responding and frequent Excel freeze issues in Excel on Windows 10. It mentions some effective solutions to repair Excel and resolve Excel is not responding problem. These solutions will also help you fix Excel crashing problem while working on the spreadsheet.

Similar to any other program, you may experience problems with Microsoft Excel while opening or working on a document. Sometimes, it may not start at all or freeze and display an error message such as ‘Excel is not responding’. When it happens, you may want to wait for the program to respond.

‘Microsoft Excel is not responding’ problem

Tip: If you are experiencing Excel not responding problem with a particular Excel file, it’s quite possible that the file is corrupt or partially damaged. And thus, leading to an Excel freeze or crash problem. Use Stellar Repair for Excel software to quickly repair and restore Excel (.xls/.xlsx) file in its original, intact form. You can download the free trial version of the software from the below link.

But if Excel doesn’t respond after a while and remains stuck, you need to force close the program from “Task Manager”. Now, this could be disastrous if happens while you are working on an important Excel document that took you hours to prepare. Force closing Excel due to such error can damage the Excel document and it may fail to open next time.

Why Excel is Not Responding?

Excel may stop responding, freeze, or crash suddenly due to several reasons. It can happen while saving a spreadsheet or opening an Excel document. It may also occur while editing or inserting images, graphs, etc. But usually, it occurs when the system crashes or shuts down abruptly while you are working on a document. Here’s an instance,

Suppose, you worked overnight on a critical document which is to be presented at a meeting the next day. This Excel spreadsheet includes critical graphs and charts, and much more. When you are about to save it, there is a power failure, and your system shuts down without warning. When the power is up, you restarted the system to check your Excel. To your dismay, a message pops up – “Excel Crashed” or “Microsoft Excel not responding”. 

This could be frustrating. However, there is no need to despair as there are solutions to not just overcome this error but other corresponding issues such as Excel freezing, hanging, crashing, etc. Below is an infographic that quickly briefs all the possible solutions to fix Excel not responding error.

Solutions to Fix ‘Microsoft Excel is not responding’ Error

Follow the solutions discussed below in the given order to fix Excel freezing and hanging issues.

Solution 1Open Excel in Safe Mode

If Excel is not working as intended and frequently stops responding, you may try to start Excel in Safe Mode. It is a common DIY way to fix ‘Excel is not responding’ problem.

In Safe Mode, Excel starts with only essential services, bypasses certain functionalities and doesn’t load the add-ins, which might be the reason behind the error in MS Excel . To open and troubleshoot Excel in Safe Mode:

  • Press Windows + R keys, type excel.exe /safe and press ‘Enter’ or click ‘OK’
MS Excel in Safe Mode
MS Excel in Safe Mode

Open the Excel file and check if it still crashes. If not, the problem could be a faulty add-in or formatting and styling error.

Proceed to the next solution to check and fix the problem.

Solution 2: Check for Faulty and Unwanted Add-ins

In Microsoft Excel, there are two types of add-ins:

  • COM add-ins
  • Other Add-ins Installed as XLAM, XLA, or XLL File

Both types of add-ins can cause the freezing problem in Excel . Follow the steps below to disable unwanted and faulty add-ins:

  • In Excel , click File and go to Options to open ‘Excel Options’ window
  • Click Add-ins button to view and manage ‘Microsoft Office Add-ins
  • Uncheck required add-ins to disable them
  • At this stage, you can also click the ‘Remove’ button to remove any unwanted add-ins
Disable COM Add-Ins
Disable COM Add-Ins
  • Now enable an add-in and check the Excel performance. Observe Excel for not responding error or freezing problem

If Excel doesn’t freeze, enable subsequent add-in and then again use Excel to observe it. Repeat the steps until you find the faulty plugin, which is causing the problem.

Then remove it from Excel add-ins to resolve the problem.

Solution 3Install the latest Windows and Office Updates

This problem may also occur if Windows and MS Office are not updated. Therefore, install the latest updates for both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.

You can set the installation and update option to ‘Automatic mode’ in Windows. This will download and install critical updates for MS Office, which might fix the Excel performance issue. The steps to enable automatic updates are as follows:

  1. Go to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update
Enable Automatic Windows updates
Enable Automatic Windows updates
  • Click Advanced options and enable all the toggle switches to automatically download and install updates for Windows and other Microsoft products
Update Microsoft Products
Update Microsoft Products

After update, restart Excel and check if the problem is resolved.

NOTE: From now on, MS Excel will also get the latest update consistently, without the need for manual intervention.

Solution 4:  Check and Disable Anti-virus

Antivirus is important for device safety. However, if your antivirus conflicts with MS Office apps such as Excel, it could lead to Excel freezing and not responding errors.

To check if the problem is due to anti-virus, disable it and reopen the Excel document. Check if Excel performs well or if it still hangs.

Example of Antivirus conflict with Microsoft Excel
Example of Antivirus conflict with Microsoft Excel

If the problem is resolved, contact your antivirus software provider for help to keep antivirus running without affecting the system and other programs such as MS Excel.

Solution 5: Change the ‘Default Printer’

Although it may seem irrelevant, changing the default printer is another easy and effective solution to overcome the error. Reason being, Excel communicates with the printer to find supported margins when we open an Excel sheet.

If Excel doesn’t find the supported margin, it may stop responding or crash. The steps to change the default printer are as follows:

  1. Open Control Panel on your Windows system
  2. Click Printer and Devices
  3. Right-click Microsoft XPS Document Writer to set it to the default printer
Change in Default Printer Setting
Change in Default Printer Setting

Reopen the Excel document to check whether the error occurs or not.

Solution 6: Repair Microsoft Office

A corrupt or damaged Microsoft Office can also cause the ‘Excel is not responding’ problem. You can resolve this by repairing the Microsoft Office files. The steps are as follows:

  1. Close all running MS Office programs
  2. Go to Control Panel on your Windows system
  3. Click Programs and then Programs and Features
  4. Select Microsoft Office and in the Microsoft Office window, click ‘Change
  5. Then select the ‘Repair’ option and click ‘Continue
Repair MS Office
Repair MS Office

This may take a while. After the repair is done, check your Excel program and file for the error.

Solution 7: Remove and Reinstall Microsoft Office

Sometimes, repairing MS Office may not work. In such a case, removing and reinstalling Microsoft Office can resolve the ‘Excel is not responding’ problem. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Close all running MS Office programs
  2. Go to Control Panel on your Windows system
  3. Click Programs and then Programs and Features
  4. Right-click on Microsoft Office and choose Uninstall
 Uninstall MS Office
Uninstall MS Office

Then run the MS Office installation setup to re-install MS Office on your system.

Solution 8: Repair Microsoft Excel (XLS/XLSX) file

In several situations, a corrupt or partially damaged Excel (XLS/XLSX) file is the cause of this error. In such a case, you can download and install Stellar Repair for Excel to repair the corrupt or damaged Excel file. By repairing the Excel file, you can resolve the Excel freezing error quickly without applying much efforts.

Download Now

The steps to use the software for Excel file repair are as follows:

  1. Download, install and launch the Excel file repair software
  2. Browse and select the corrupt Excel file
Stellar Excel repair software
  • Click ‘Repair’ to start repairing the damaged Excel file
  • After file repair, it provides a preview. Check your file
Excel file repaired
  • Then click the ‘Save File’ option in the main menu
  • You can either choose default location or browse a new folder location to save the repaired Excel file
Save repaired Excel file
  • After repair, open the file in Excel and continue with your work
Repaired Excel file saved

And keep Stellar Repair for Excel installed on your system. You never know when you might need this handy tool.

You may also refer to Microsoft support for more details on Excel not responding, hangs, freezes or stops working issues.

Conclusion

Now that the methods for fixing the ‘Excel is not responding’ error are before you, try all these and see which one works for you. If the cause of this error is a damaged or corrupt Excel file, only repairing the XLS/XLSX file can resolve the issue.

For this purpose, it’s recommended to use a reliable software such as Stellar Repair for Excel as it offers an easy-to-use interface, thereby making Excel file repair process a seamless experience.

The software recovers table, chart, chart sheet, cell comment, number, text, shared formulas, image, formula, sort and filter, and other objects. It also preserves worksheet properties, layout, and cell formatting. It can repair multiple XLS/XLSX files simultaneously and fix all Excel file corruption errors.

All these features extend the software capabilities beyond just fixing the ‘Excel not responding’ error.

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