Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Saving Changes in the Personal Workbook.

Saving Changes in the Personal Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 23, 2019)


Every time Jason closes Excel, he is asked "Do you want to save the changes you made to the Personal Macro Workbook? If you click Yes, the macro will be available the next time you start Microsoft Office Excel." This is supposed to happen if he made a change to Personal.xls, but it happens even when he make no changes at all.

More than likely, this comes about because there really are some changes being made to the Personal.xls workbook. For instance, the workbook may have a dynamic function in some cell, such as =Now() or =Today(). These are updated immediately after opening a workbook, so Excel thinks there has been a change to the workbook. If such is the case, you will need to make Personal.xls visible and remove the dynamic functions. (This assumes, of course, that they are not needed by anything else in the workbook.)

Another place to look for changes is in any macros in the Personal.xls workbook. Pay particular attention to macros that automatically run when you first start Excel. These macros may be saving temporary information somewhere within Personal.xls, which Excel sees as a change worthy of possibly saving. Check your macros to determine if this is the case.

If this doesn't do it, then get out of Excel and rename the Personal.xls file to something else. Start up Excel and use the macro recorder to create a simple macro that you store in Personal.xls. This creates a new file, and when you exit Excel you should see the prompt asking if the save should be made. Make the save, exit Excel, restart, and exit again.

If the same problem exists, you know it is not because of the Personal.xls file, but due to another cause such as an add-in. You could then try some of the things listed in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

If the new Personal.xls does not have the problem, copy all the VBA code from the old to the new and test again. If the problem is solved, you can delete the renamed version. If the problem returns it is something with the code, and you can repeat the renaming and retesting, checking each macro until you find the one causing the problem. Its code will have to be changed or deleted.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3092) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Saving Changes in the Personal Workbook.

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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What is nine more than 5?

2019-11-18 09:44:03


I have added a new 'Sub' in my Excel 2016 'Personal.xls' file that is protected by password from Excel 2003, but (though I have saved my changes) when exiting Excel it asks me to Save (or not) my 'Personal.xls' file.
But when I select “Save”, it refuses to do it, claiming that :
"This workbook contains Excel 4.0 macros or Excel 5.0 modules. If you would like to password protect or restrict permission to this document, you need to remove these macros".
Due to the fact that my 90% of macros have been made by Excel 4.0 and 5.0 (and I have about 60 macros) you understand that this is a real madness.
This happens for the first time in Excel 2016 (I have many times add macros in Excel 2016 'Personal.xls' and save it without any problem).
What is the reason for this problem and how can I solve it ?
Pls. respond.

2014-12-10 08:48:44


I searched all of my drives for personal.xls & came up empty. Cogitating, I looked at ADVANCED SEARCH. There was a HIDDEN FILES option. Bingo. Found it & it's gone.

So, about a week ago & started studying personal.xls, added it, got frustrated & deleted it. I'm back where I started. But in the interim I got some very specific, well-directed help. Thanks to all for that.

2014-12-09 08:59:50



Personal.xls is a workbook file the same as any other workbook file. It may be hidden within Excel, but it should not be hidden within Windows.

Exit Excel completely and use Windows to search for Personal.xls. When you find it, either delete it or (if you think you might want to hold onto it for some reason) rename it to something else.

When you restart Excel, it won't find Personal.xls and therefore it won't be loaded.


2014-12-09 08:46:53


Paul writes: Personally I like to have my macro attached to the worksheet, so it works when sent to someone, not in the Personal which is fine if you just use your own PC and want the macro for different workbooks.

After fiddling with this for a while, I think I agree. I'll forgo personal.xls. (Although I do appreciate Paul's hand holding & instruction.)

But now, with personal.xls still hidden & uneditable, a warning shows up when I open a spread sheet referencing personal.xls.

HOW DO I GO BACK TO LAST WEEK? HOW DO I DELETE PERSONAL.XLS? Because it continues to be hidden, I can't edit or (simply) delete it.

2014-12-08 18:23:22


This may help -
With your worksheet open in Excel, hold
Alt key down and press F11 key . This will display this tree -

lvl1 VBAProject(PERSONAL.xls)
lvl2 Ms Exc Obj
lvl3 Sheet1 - 9
lvl3 This Workbook
lvl2 Modules1 - n

lvl1 VBA Project("currentworkbook".xls) lvl2 Ms Exc Obj
lvl3 Sheet 1, 2, 3
lvl3 This workbook

You can double click , then cut and paste between these. (Module"n" is the default name holding the new macro you created using "Personal" as the destination when creating it.

Personally I like to have my macro attached to the worksheet, so it works when sent to someone, not in the Personal which is fine if you just use your own PC and want the macro for different workbooks.

2014-12-08 09:45:31



I open a spreadsheet. @ TOOLS/MACRO I see personal.xls. It's there. Opening any existing .xls file now informs me that personal.xls is hidden.

From any worksheet FORMAT/SHEET gives me the option to HIDE. UNHIDE is grayed out. There is no list of hidden sheets.

In a blank file I did FORMAT/SHEET/HIDE of a blank worksheet. It disappeared. Now, FORMAT/SHEET/UNHIDE (no longer gray) shows that single hidden worksheet, not personal.xls.

2014-12-07 10:28:36


See here, Dave:


2014-12-07 09:33:18


I've been perpetually frustrated with recording new macros. I just TOOLS/RECORD & then STOP RECORD. Then EDIT & write my code.

I created a PERSONAL.xls as Paul instructed. (Thanks, Paul.) Now I want to CUT & PASTE some earlier macros.

It tells me PERSONAL.xls cannot be edited because it is HIDDEN. Simple it says. "Unhide the file." Grr.... HOW does one 'unhide' the file so that it can be edited?

2014-12-06 18:34:05


With Excel open, Try Tools/Record new macro.
In the pop-up box at "Store macro in" select 'Personal Macro WB' from the dropdown list(default is 'This workbook'). Then Tools/Stop Recording.
You will have created a dummy macro in PERSONAL.xls(b).
Tools/Macro - select PERSONAL.xls from dropdown macro (default is 'All open WB).

2014-12-06 08:52:01


The Microsoft link yielded "Support for Office 2003 has ended."

I searched all my disk drives for PERSONAL.XLS. No luck. It doesn't exist. It sounds as though it would be a site for commonly used macros. How I might access it (if it existed)remains a mystery.

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