How to Open Excel in Safe Mode [Windows 11 Guide]

Excel in Safe Mode can be achieved via the Run command

by Henderson Jayden Harper
Henderson Jayden Harper
Henderson Jayden Harper
Passionate about technology, Crypto, software, Windows, and everything computer-related, he spends most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. He also enjoys... read more
Reviewed by Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Windows Server & Networking Expert
After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Opening Excel in Safe Mode can fix issues affecting the app.
  • Office corrupt installation files can impede Excel from running in Safe Mode.
  • Repairing Office and switching the file path to always open Excel in Safe Mode will fix the issue.
how to open excel in safe mode

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The concept behind launching apps and systems in Safe Mode is to reduce the number of startup apps or services that run during boot or launch. If Excel crashes during launch or is unresponsive, starting in Safe Mode fixes it. Hence, we’ll show you how to open Excel in Safe Mode as we dive into the article.

Also, users complain about Excel dates showing as numbers on Windows 11.

Why won’t Excel open in Safe Mode?

Microsoft Excel not opening in Safe Mode can occur due to many factors affecting its performance on your PC. Some factors that can cause the issue are:

  • Issues with Office installation files – When the Office installation files on your PC are missing or corrupt, it affects the services and programs dependent on it. Also, corrupt Excel files on Windows 11 can cause issue.
  • Problematic Add-ins on Excel – Add-ins are meant to add more features and functionality to Excel, but they can sometimes be the root of problems. They can become corrupt and faulty, causing issues with their processes and blocking their response to commands.
  • Outdated Windows OS – Running Excel on an outdated Windows operating system can result in many problems. It can cause version incompatibility with Excel if its current version is higher for the current OS build. So, Excel not opening in Safe can be due to an outdated Windows OS.

These causes may vary on different devices. We’ll take you through some basic steps to fix the problem.

How do I force Excel to open in Safe Mode?

Go through the following preliminary checks before trying advanced troubleshooting steps:

  • Temporarily disable third-party antivirus software.
  • Close other Office applications running on your computer.
  • Restart your computer and check if the issue persists.

If you can’t start Excel in Safe Mode, follow the solutions below:

Expert tip:


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To effectively implement the steps to force Excel to open in Safe Mode, fix the factors preventing it from opening:

1. Restart Windows in Safe Mode and start Excel in Safe Mode

  1. Press Windows + I key to open the Settings app.
  2. Select System and click Recovery.
  3. Tap the Restart now button beside Advanced Startup.
  4. Windows will automatically restart into the Choose an option window, then click on Troubleshoot.
  5. Tap Advanced Options and click on the Startup Settings option.
  6. Press the F4 key to enter Safe Mode.
  7. After starting Windows in Safe Mode, press Windows + R key to open the window, type excel /safe, and click OK to open Excel in Safe Mode.

Restarting Windows in Safe Mode will resolve startup apps that may impede Excel from starting in Safe Mode. Read our guide on how to fix the Safe Mode not working on Windows 11.

2. Create a switch in the file path to always open Excel in Safe Mode

  1. Create a shortcut for the Excel application on your Desktop.
  2. Right-click on the Excel shortcut and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  3. Go to the Shortcut tab, add /safe to the file path in the Target text bar. Ensure you add the space character before the forward slash. Without the space character, this switch will not work.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.
  5. Then, double-click the Excel shortcut whenever you want to open Excel in Safe Mode.

3. Repair Microsoft Office

  1. Press Windows + R key to prompt the Run window, type appwiz.cpl, and click OK to launch Programs and Features.
  2. Right-click on Microsoft Office and tap on Change from the drop-down.
  3. Choose the Quick Repair option on the new page, then click the Repair button.
  4. If the Quick repair option isn’t working, select the Online Repair option.
  5. Restart your PC and repeat step 8 in the first solution.

Microsoft Office repair fixes any corrupt installation files causing issues with Excel starting in Safe Mode. Read our guide on adding the Run command to the Start menu in Windows 11.

4. Update Windows Operating System

  1. Press Windows + I key to open the Windows Settings app.
  2. Click on Windows update and click on Check for updates. If there are any updates available, it will search for and install them.
  3. After updating Windows, press Windows + R key to open the Run window, type excel /safe, and click OK to open Excel in Safe Mode.

Updating Windows will fix the bugs and compatibility issues that may prevent excel from running in Safe Mode.

Read about fixing Windows not connecting to update service if the error occurs on your PC.

Conclusively, our readers can check how to fix Excel not scrolling down on their Windows 11. Also, you may be interested in how to troubleshoot SharePoint Export to Excel not working on your computer.

We hope you managed to open Excel in Safe Mode using our guide. Let us know how it went in the comments section below.

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If the advices above haven't solved your issue, your PC may experience deeper Windows problems. We recommend downloading this PC Repair tool (rated Great on to easily address them. After installation, simply click the Start Scan button and then press on Repair All.

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