How to Fix Excel Keeps Crashing on Windows - Windows Basics


Monday, April 4, 2022

How to Fix Excel Keeps Crashing on Windows

Since Excel is developed by Microsoft, you will have no problem using it on your Windows computer. Unfortunately; that's not entirely correct. Sometimes Excel hangs or freezes, leaving you with no chance to finish your work. Instead of turning to Google Sheets or other Excel alternatives, we'll show you how to quickly fix the problem.

First, the article will see how to fix Excel that keeps crashing no matter what file you are opening. In addition, I will also walk you through the steps to get Excel to work again if it crashes or freezes when you are opening a specific file.

A. Update Microsoft Office

Microsoft continuously releases updates to the Office package to launch new features or fix bugs. If it's been a long time since the last update, an Office crash could be the cause of Excel hanging or freezing.

1. Launch Microsoft Store.

2. Click on the three-dot menu icon from the upper right corner and select Downloads and updates.

3. From the Available updates list, select Office.

4. Click the Update button.

How to update Office without using the Microsoft Store

Sometimes, Microsoft Store apps don't work properly and you can face all kinds of problems like apps not opening or not downloading updates.

If this happens to you trying to make Excel stop crashing, the good news is that you can update Office without using the Microsoft Store as long as you can launch the Office apps.

1. Open Excel or another Office application.

2. Select File and go to Account.

3. Click Update Options > Update Now.

After Windows installs the update, it will relaunch Excel or any other open Office applications. If you receive a You're up to date! message, your problem is not caused by an Office error, so you can move on to the next solutions.

Note: If you notice that many Microsoft applications are not working properly, check that you are using the latest version of Windows.

B. Open Excel in Safe Mode

When you launch Excel in Safe Mode, Office applications start without some features and settings, such as add-ins. While add-ins are great at extending Office applications to multiple platforms, they sometimes cause apps to behave differently.

To open Excel in Safe Mode, press and hold Ctrl, and then open the Excel file. In the pop-up window, confirm you want to start Excel in Safe Mode. If Excel stops crashing or freezes after you open it in Safe Mode, the problem may be caused by an installed add-in.

In this case, you should disable the Excel add-ins:

1. Open the File menu and select Options.

2. From the menu on the left, click Add-ins.

3. Open the drop-down menu next to Manage, select COM Add-ins and click Go.

4. Uncheck each add-in and click OK.

Close Excel and open it as usual. If it stops crashing, go through the steps and re-enable each add-in one by one so you can determine which is causing the problem. Once you find the problematic add-in, you can permanently delete the add-in.

C. Check Excel's settings

If you are experiencing high CPU usage, Excel may crash due to insufficient resources. This usually happens if you have added animation to your spreadsheet. To fix it, you should disable hardware graphics acceleration.

In addition to keeping Excel from freezing or crashing, it improves overall performance. 

1. In Excel, go to File > Options.

2. From the left pane, click Advanced.

3. From the Display section, select Disable hardware graphics acceleration

4. Click OK and restart Excel.

D. Microsoft Office Repair
If updating apps and checking settings doesn't fix the problem with Excel, it's time to fix Microsoft Office.
1. Press Windows Keys + I to open Windows Settings.
2. Select Apps.
3. From the list of applications, select Microsoft Office and click Modify.
4. Select Quick Repair > Repair.
5. Click Repair.
After Windows notifies you that it has completed the repair process, launch Excel. If you have the same problem, do the above steps, but this time, choose Online repair. Windows will perform a more detailed repair and pick up any missing, damaged, or corrupted files from Microsoft's servers.

Excel crashes when opening a specific file

Excel may have trouble opening specific files. Especially if those files are old, have multiple authors, or if they are stored online or on external storage devices. Fortunately, there are several fixes you can try.

1. Save the file on the computer

If you're opening files from DropBox or other online storage alternatives, Excel may hang, especially if you're experiencing connection problems or slow Internet speeds. The best way to avoid errors is to save the file locally before opening it.

2. Check if the file was created by another application

Even if you checked the file extension, the spreadsheet might have been created with another application. In this scenario, some features may not work in Excel. Also, there is a chance that the file was not created properly, so you should open the file with the same application or search for a different file version.

3. Check the contents of the file

Excel files can accumulate a lot of data over time, especially if you continue to replace cell contents instead of creating a new workbook.

Alternatively, you may receive a work-related file and be oblivious to its contents. If the file has multiple authors, each of them will add their own formatting, style, object, etc. rules. Here are some things you should do to delete some unnecessary data:

  • Remove formatting rules. In the Home tab, go to Conditional Formatting > Clear Rules > Clear Rules from Entire Sheet.
  • Remove formatting styles. From the Home tab, expand the Clear menu. There, select Clear formats.
  • Remove objects. Even if you don't see any objects, the file may have multiple objects with zero height and width. To remove them, click Find & Select > Select Objects. Then, click Clear > Clear All or just press Delete on your keyboard.

Hopefully you can now edit your spreadsheets without interruption. Sometimes, a small update is enough to fix the problem. To make sure you don't lose any work if Excel crashes again, be sure to make backups of important files.

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