What To Do When Excel Not Responding

Have you ever been in the middle of working on a crucial Excel spreadsheet when suddenly the program stops responding? It can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you haven’t saved your work recently. As a frequent user of Excel, I’ve encountered this issue more times than I’d like to admit. In this article, I’ll share some useful tips and tricks for handling the situation when Excel is not responding.

Check for System Updates

The first step I always take is to check for any pending system updates. Sometimes, a simple update can resolve performance issues. It’s essential to keep your operating system and Excel updated to ensure smooth functionality.

Wait Patiently

When Excel freezes, it’s tempting to immediately force quit the program. However, I’ve learned that sometimes it just needs a little time to catch up. I usually give it a few minutes to see if it starts responding again. During this time, I take a deep breath and remind myself to remain patient.

Check Task Manager

If waiting doesn’t work, I open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) to see if Excel is using an unusually high amount of CPU or memory. If it’s consuming a lot of resources, I end the task and restart Excel. This often does the trick and gets Excel back on track.

Restart the Computer

Restarting the computer can work wonders in resolving various software issues, including Excel not responding. A fresh start can clear out any underlying problems that may be causing the program to freeze.

Try Safe Mode

If the issue persists, I try opening Excel in Safe Mode. This can help determine if the problem is related to add-ins or external factors. To open Excel in Safe Mode, I use the “excel.exe /safe” command in the Run dialog box (Windows Key + R).

Update or Disable Add-ins

Add-ins can sometimes interfere with Excel’s performance. I review the installed add-ins and update them to their latest versions. If that doesn’t work, I disable them one by one to identify the problematic add-in.

Perform a Repair

When all else fails, I opt for repairing the Office installation. This can be done by going to the Control Panel, selecting Programs, and then choosing Microsoft Office. From there, I select “Change” and then “Repair”. This process can fix any corrupted files that may be causing Excel to freeze.


Dealing with Excel not responding can be a frustrating experience, but with these troubleshooting techniques, I’ve been able to overcome the issue numerous times. Remember to stay calm and try these steps before considering more drastic measures. By following these methods, you can save time and avoid the stress of potential data loss.