Excel is Not Opening: How to Fix It in 5 Steps

Corrupted files are a major factor in Excel not opening errors

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Microsoft Excel users have reported having issues opening their files.
  • This is likely caused by security updates or file corruption.
  • We will show you five solutions on how to fix this problem.
microsoft excel Insert Data from Picture

There are many issues that may occur with Microsoft Excel when it comes to running accordingly on your Windows 10 or 11 PC.

As an example, it’s possible that your Excel application will not open because it gets corrupted due to problematic add-ins or faulty system files.

Even more, you may encounter Excel not opening errors due to operating system issues, which means it can’t communicate with Windows services that allow the application to launch normally.

There are various causes for this Excel issue that may happen on your Windows device, and the most frequent scenarios are:

  • Excel won’t open after an update (on Windows 10 frequently)
  • Excel files won’t open when double-clicked
  • Excel not opening files directly
  • Excel is not opening correctly

In addition, you can experience opening errors on both Windows 10 and 11 because of application running issues or operating system malfunctions.

For instance, some users reported an Excel-related failure that seems to occur after installing Windows 10 Creators Update.

After the system update, certain files can’t be opened with Excel for no apparent reason. It’s needless to say that everything was functioning fine before.

How do you fix Microsoft Excel not opening?

  1. Make sure that the files are supported and not corrupted
  2. Disable Protected view
  3. Repair Excel
  4. Restore Component services values to default
  5. Reinstall Office

1. Make sure that the files are supported and not corrupted

The first step you should take when addressing issues with specific file formats is to check their eligibility. So, make sure that the file is supported and, also, not corrupted before we move to the additional steps.

Moreover, some users reported the Office update was the culprit, rather than the system, so take that into account also.

Updates for Office are too often as same as the ones for Windows in general: full of issues. If you’re positive that the Office update instigated issues, make sure to send a ticket to support.

On the other hand, you can update it, since the problem may have been already sorted out with the latest available release.

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2. Disable Protected view

Some protective measures are known to cause issues. Namely, in order to protect your surroundings, Excel (and other Microsoft Office programs, too) may prevent certain files from opening. Protective View might be completely blocking Excel from accessing your files. Therefore, disabling it could fix the problem.

1. Open Microsoft Excel.

2. Go to Options.

3. Navigate to Trust Center.

navigate to trust center excel

4. Click on Trust Center Settings.

trust center settings microsoft excel

5. Navigate to Protected View.

microsoft excel protected view

6. Uncheck the boxes for all 3 options. This will completely disable Protected View.

disable protected view microsoft excel

7. Click OK to apply and save the changes.

8. Launch the Excel file and check whether it runs without problems.

That should help you overcome possible issues inflicted by the overprotective Protected View.

Protective measures look great on paper since there’s not too much security, to be fully honest. But things in practice beg to differ.

3. Repair Excel

Office 365 has its drawbacks but online support is not one of them. At least, for the majority of users. One of the nifty features that should help you substantially with this Excel issue is Repair.

Namely, you can repair an individual program from the package by using Online Repair. In this case, we’re of course referring to Excel. If the update changed something within the Excel installation or even rendered it unusable, you can fix that with this tool.

Follow the procedure below to repair the Excel:

  1. Right-click the Start menu and open Programs and features.
  2. Right-click Excel and select Change.
  3. You should see the How would you like to repair your Office Programs screen.
  4. Click on the Online Repair and wait for the procedure to finish.
  5. Restart your PC and look for changes.

4. Restore Component services values to default

In addition, besides some common bugs that the update induced into the system, it also may have changed some essential settings. These can impact the usage of all 3rd-party programs, including the semi-native Office 365 or older variations of Microsoft Office.

There is one option that may impact file issues, and that’s Component security. For that purpose, follow the instructions below to restore it to default values and, hopefully, resolve the issue:

  1. In the Search bar, type dcomcnfg and open it from the list of the results.
  2. Under the Component services in the navigation pane, navigate to Computers > My Computer.
  3. Right-click My Computer and open Properties.
  4. Under the Default Properties tab, make sure that these options have these values:
    • Default Impersonation Level: Identify
    • Default Authentication Level: Connect
  5. Confirm with OK and try accessing the files again.

If this wasn’t the thing that affected the misbehavior of Excel, move on to additional steps.

5. Reinstall Office

If the problem is persistent and you’re certain that it lies in the Office corruption, reinstallation is the next obvious step. However, have in mind that some of your custom settings may be gone once you delete Office.

Additionally, you’ll need to redeem your code in order to obtain Office from Microsoft’s official site.

Follow these instructions to reinstall the Office:

  1. Right-click Start Menu and open Programs and Features.
  2. Right-click Office 365 and uninstall it.
  3. Restart your PC.
  4. Go to this Office official site.
  5. Sign in with the Microsoft Account connected to Office.
  6. Select the preferred version, architecture, and language, and click Install.
  7. Once the setup file is downloaded, double-click to start with the installation.
  8. After the installation is finished, activate your Office and you’re good to go.

The brand-new installation should relieve you of the issues at hand. However, if the system is the culprit and you’re in a hurry to use Excel, there’s nothing else left to do but perform a reset or clean reinstall.

We’re perfectly aware that this isn’t the best-case scenario for all of us, but sometimes it’s obligatory in order to make things work as intended.

Until then, we hope that Microsoft will release some of the fixes for various issues reported by users around the world.

Why Excel is not opening in Windows 10?

The Excel app hasn’t been updated or installed correctly on your PC, which is why it won’t launch with Windows 10.

Because this problem may prove as a hard nut to crack, you can apply multiple solutions we tested and provided here in order to resolve Excel launching errors on Windows devices.

Why Excel is not opening in Windows 11?

One of the reasons why Excel won’t open in Windows 11 is that it is configured to disregard other apps that use DDE. When you double-click a file, the DDE’s purpose is to send a message to Excel.

As said before, another factor can be the third-party add-ins that run on your Excel application. You may consider disabling this feature to quickly fix the issue.

Finally, we conclude this article. Don’t forget to post your questions or alternative solutions in the comments section below. It will mean a lot.

Also, in case you’re still unable to resolve the problem, we advise you to contact Office support as soon as possible and provide them with details regarding the problem you’re experiencing.