This article published on MiniTool official web offers you 11 ways to solve your Excel files won’t open at all problem. Most of these solutions come from Microsoft’s official page, and some of them are tested to be useful. Just try them one by one and find your fix.

Have you ever encountered such a problem that when you double-click an Excel file, there is no change and excel won’t open? If so, how to fix it? Or, are you looking for solutions for the problem? Read the following contents and find the right method for you.

Why Won’t Excel Open?

The excel file won’t open issue happens more often since Excel got security updates. Within the upgrade, there are changes in the behavior of certain types of files in the way they open in Excel. Those security updates include KB3115262, KB3115322, and KB3170008.

For example, the way for Excel to open XLA or HTML files with .xls extension is changed. In the past days, Excel will caution over the disconnect between the file and contents but open without Protected View security. Yet, after those updates, Excel will not open those files and shows a blank screen for those files that are incompatible with Excel’s Protected View feature. Moreover, Excel even won’t warn you about the failure.

How to Solve Excel Won’t Open Problem?

Knowing the reason for Excel files won’t open, then, shall we just accept the fact and give up opening those kinds of files with Excel? No, where there is a problem, there is a solution. Several easy fixes can deal with your issue and enable you to open those files again.

Solution 1. Right Click to Open the Excel

If there is nothing changed after double-clicking the target excel file, or, the excel program starts up but it comes with a blank white screen, you may try to right-click on the file and select Open. Maybe you should further choose Workbook after selecting Open to solve the problem.

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Solution 2. Maximize and Minimize Excel Window or Vice Versa

If the Excel program launches but shows a blank screen instead of the normal content, you may try to maximize the window (if the original window is not full-screen) or minimize the window (if the original window is full-screen). This may refresh the Excel page and push hidden data showing up.

Solution 3. Uncheck the Ignore Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) Box

One of the causes of Excel won’t open Windows 10/11 is that your Excel is set to ignore other applications that use DDE. The function of the DDE is to send a message to Excel once you double-click a file. Thus, Excel instructs to open the file. By ignoring those applications, Excel won’t receive their messages, so, Excel cannot open the files.

Therefore, close the ignoring feature will fix Excel can’t open problem.

Step 1. Open the Excel program by creating a new Excel file.

Step 2. In the new Excel file, navigate to File > Options > Advanced > General.

Step 3. Uncheck the “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)”.

Step 4. Click OK to exist.

Uncheck the Ignore DDE Box

Solution 4. Reset Excel File Associations

To reset the file associations of Excel to default settings will also solve the “Microsoft Excel won’t open” problem.

Step 1. Open Windows Control Panel by searching it in Taskbar.

Step 2. In Control Panel, go to Programs > Default Programs.

Step 3. Under Default Programs, click Set your default Programs.

Select Set Your Default Programs in Control Panel

Step 4. Then, it will open the Default apps screen in Windows Settings. There, scroll down and click Set defaults by app.

Choose Set Defaults by App

Step 5. On the next screen, click on Excel in the app list and click Manage under Excel.

Step 6. On the next screen, click behind the file extensions of the won’t open files and set their default App as Excel.

Set the Default App of Certain Files as Excel

Or, you can simply change the default open app of the target file by right-clicking on it and select Open with. Then, in the app list, find and choose Excel. Finally, check “Always use this app to open .xlsx files” (for instance) and click OK.

Always Use This App to Open .xlsx Files

Solution 5. Repair Microsoft Office

Since Excel belongs to Microsoft Office, so, repair office may also deal with Excel won’t open issue.

Step 1. In Control Panel, under Programs, click Uninstall Programs.

Step 2. In the next window, right-click on Microsoft Office and select Change.

Tip: If you have installed more than one edition of Microsoft Office, just right-click on the one that you currently use and encounter the “Excel will not open” problem.

Step 3. In the pop-up window, select Online Repair and click Repair button.

Online Repair Microsoft Office

Wait until the repair finishes. Then, restart your PC.

Solution 6. Repair User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)

If you encounter Excel does not open issues while running the UE-V, just install the Hotfix 2927019. If you are not sure whether you are running UE-V or not, just check whether there is an entry for “Company Settings Center” in the program list of Programs and Features in the Windows Control Panel.

Programs and Features in Control Panel

Solution 7. Disable Add-ins

Some add-ins will result in Excel won’t open a file, such as Excel add-in and COM add-in. So, turn off these add-ins is also a way to fix the problem.

Step 1. Launch the new Excel file and move to File > Options > Add-ins.

Step 2. Click to show the drop-down menu of the Mange in the Add-in tab. Then, choose COM Add-ins and click Go.

Step 3. In the pop-up box, uncheck one of the checked add-ins in the list and click OK.

Excel COM Add-ins

Double-click the target file to see whether you can open it or not. If not, repeat the above steps to try another add-in until you find the one that causes your Excel can’t open files. Once you find the culprit, keep it unchecked until there is an update for the add-in. Or, if you won’t use it anymore, you can just remove it from your add-in list.

Solution 8. Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration

The hardware graphics acceleration function may slow down the load process of Excel or just causes Excel doesn’t open files. Therefore, disable it might fix the issue.

Step 1. Open a new Excel file and navigate to File > Options > Advanced.

Step 2. Under the Display tab, tick “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” box.

Step 3. Click OK to save the changes.

Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration

Solution 9. Check for Hidden Sheets

If an Excel sheet is saved as a hidden file inadvertently, when you try to open it, you might come across Excel won’t open problem. Follow the below guidance to fix the issue.

Step 1. Open a new Excel file.

Step 2. Switch to the View tab and select Unhide.

Step 3. In the pop-up box, select the target file and click OK.

Unhide Excel File

Solution 10. Open the File with the Right App

There is also a chance that the type of the target file doesn’t support Excel. In such a situation, you need to save the file with a type that can be opened by Excel. Actually, change the type of a file will cause the file unreadable in most cases, such as you save a system file with another extension, open it with Text Document, and you will see a page of unknown signs.

How to deal with such an issue? Simply, just open the file with its compatible app!

Also read: Excel supported file types on different mobile devices >>

Solution 11. Contact Microsoft Support

If none of the above solutions solve your problem, you are recommended to contact Microsoft Support for more solutions.

How to Deal with Excel Won’t Open Situation?

Since the Excel file won’t open problem will cause great inconvenience for users, it is urgent to solve the problem using one of the above solutions. Yet, there are still some other actions you should do.

If your Excel files can’t be opened for they are destroyed, you need to recover them with some reliable data recovery program like MiniTool Power Data Recovery. Moreover, to avoid such thing happens on the files that are currently unaffected and intact, it is recommended to make a back of them and save the backup copy in another safer place. Thus, you’ll need a professional and powerful data backup software such as MiniTool ShadowMaker.

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