Hanging When Opening a Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 8, 2017)


Kary wrote about a problem she was having with a workbook—whenever she would double-click it in Windows, Excel would start, but then freeze before opening the workbook completely.

If this is a problem that happens whenever you open any workbook, it could be because one of the startup files being opened by Excel is corrupted. You can determine if this is the case by instructing Excel not to open these files when it starts. Use the Run option from the Start menu, and run Excel by entering in either of the following lines:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /Automation
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /Safe

The quote marks are mandatory, and there is a good chance you will need to change the path to the Excel.exe file. When Excel starts with either the /Automation or /Safe switches, it doesn't load the startup files it normally does. Once Excel starts, turn off automatic recalculation by choosing Tools | Options | Calculation tab and making sure the Manual option is selected.

Now try to open your workbook. If it opens, then you can assume that the problem is somewhere in the startup files. Track them down and make changes or deletions, as necessary. (Other ExcelTips issues have discussed startup files and their locations.) If the workbook doesn't open, then the problem is with the workbook itself; it may be corrupted and you may need to recreate it.

Finally, it could be that there really is no problem with the workbook at all. If the workbook is very large and was created in an older versions of Excel, and you are opening it in Excel 2003, then there could be a long delay as the workbook is opened. This is because the newer versions of Excel rebuild the calculation tables associated with the workbook; rebuilding those can take some time to do for workbooks with lots of calculations.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3359) 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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What is 4 + 4?

2014-04-30 07:04:09


Dear sir,
I am shivaprakash I am working at ABC company I had one problem in excel file that means in that file sheet 1 no problem but sheet no 2&3 hanging, freezing I dono why its happening otherwise other files are working fine only these two sheets only problem please guide me how to correct this problem

2014-04-14 02:11:23


I've had the same issues with slow starts and thus far could only remedy it by setting a local printer as default.
See also http://superuser.com/questions/32457/how-can-i-prevent-word-excel-from-trying-to-reach-the-printer

2012-11-04 12:11:25


I had, for the longest time, experienced and intermittent and seemingly unpredictable very slowwwww opening of any Excel files. This was Office XP, running under Windows-XP (SP3) on an otherwise fast PC. No other applications, including the other Office apps, were experiencing the problem. Then, just by chance, I realized the Excel slow stating was happening only when my networked inkjet printer was powered off (offline/unavailable). Apparently Excel was searching for the unavailable printer before fully loading.

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