Hanging When Opening a Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2012)

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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