Personal.xls File Not Opening

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 12, 2016)

Fred has noticed a change in how his Excel works, and it is not clear what is going on. All of a sudden his Personal.xls workbook no longer loads automatically when Excel starts. Fred didn't change anything; the file just started not loading. He can open the workbook manually, and everything works fine.

There are a couple of things that can be tried to get operations back to normal. First, examine your Personal.xls file when you open it manually. Look specifically at the title bar; if it indicates that the file is read-only, then you may want to get out of Excel and use Windows to remove the read-only attribute from the Personal.xls file. This may solve the problem, but it may not. (You'll know the next time you start Excel.)

The other possibility is that, somehow, the location of where Excel expects Personal.xls to be located has changed, or possibly the file has become corrupted in some manner. Try these general steps:

  1. Using Windows, locate and rename your Personal.xls file.
  2. Start Excel and run the macro recorder (Tools | Macro | Record New Macro).
  3. Specify that the macro you are recording should be stored in your Personal.xls workbook. (Select "Personal Macro Notebook" in the "Store Macro In" drop-down list.)
  4. Click OK, which starts the macro recorder.
  5. Select a different cell in your worksheet.
  6. Stop the macro recorder (Tools | Macro | Stop Recording).

These steps create a brand new Personal.xls file, in whatever location Excel expects it to be located. You can, in the workbook, delete the macro that you just created. You can then open the old Personal.xls workbook (the one you renamed in step 1) and copy all the macro code from it to the new Personal.xls workbook.

Once this is done, you can save Personal.xls, hide it, and delete the old one. The next time you start Excel, the new Personal.xls workbook should load just fine.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2888) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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