Subtotals Option Grayed Out

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2017)


Katherine, using Office 2003, reports that when she is working with a table of data in Excel, she can't choose the Subtotals option from the Data menu. When she displays the Data menu, the option is grayed out, and she cannot select it.

When things are disabled in a workbook there is usually some setup which prevents it in some way. If it happens with all the workbooks (even a new one) there is probably a problem with Excel, and you should look at fixing it or reinstalling it. (How to do this has been covered in other issues of ExcelTips.)

If the problem occurs only in a single workbook, then the problem is probably with the data itself. For instance, Excel 2003 allows you to create formal data lists, which are generally used for generating XML data. If there is a blue border that appears around your data, then you have probably created a data list, and the Subtotals option will no longer be available for that data. To get rid of the data list, select one of the cells within the list, and then choose Data | List | Convert to Range. The Subtotals option should be available as soon as the conversion is complete.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3074) applies to Microsoft Excel 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. ...


Selecting Formulas

Want to select only the formulas in your worksheet? It's easy to do using the Go To Special dialog box.

Discover More

Copying a Hyperlink to Lots of Worksheets

Copying information from one place to another in a worksheet is easy. Copying hyperlinks may not seem that easy, but you ...

Discover More

Unwanted Vertical Lines in a Table

When you print a table that includes borders, those borders should be crisp and clear on the printout. If you get some ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Formatting Subtotal Rows

Excel automatically formats subtotals for you. But what if you want to change the default to something more suitable for ...

Discover More

Using Subtotals and Totals

You can insert subtotals and totals in your worksheets by using either a formula or specialized tools. This tip explains ...

Discover More

Excel Refuses to Put Page Breaks between Subtotal Groups

Page breaks not appearing where you expect them in your subtotaled data? It could be because of a setting you made in ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 9?

2016-12-28 14:48:27


Information to convert to range did it. Excellent advice and thank you very much. Nothing like getting the results sought.
thank you very much

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.