Troubleshooting Microsoft Excel


Excel has no file like Microsoft Word, so troubleshooting it generally takes steps that are a little more difficult right from the start, but there's only a few things that could be wrong.

If all your applications are acting up, then you should probably clean up your hard drive first.

Files Won't Open

This is often caused by one stupid setting. It's under Tools Options, General tab. Make sure that Ignore Other Applications is not checked.

XLStart Folder Issues

First, if Excel appears to be trying to open a bunch of files when you launch it, check out the information about the XLStart folder. You may not need to come back to this article.

XLB File

What the heck is an XLB file? It's where all your toolbar customization is stored. Sometimes, it becomes corrupt, and hoses up your Excel so that you can't use it. So, with Excel closed, you do a search for *.xlb files and you rename or delete them. Then relaunch Excel.

Dump the Excel Windows Registry Key

There are many people who would rather that I didn't tell you how to do this. But any adult that's paying any attention can follow my steps. What we're doing is removing Excel from the Windows registry. When you launch Excel again, it will re-register itself, so you can expect it to take a little longer to launch than usual.

Hit Start Run and type regedit and hit enter. Browse, just like you would in Windows Explorer or My Computer, to the following folder:

My Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\X.X\Excel

X.X will be as follows, depending on your version of Word:

  • Excel 2000 is 9.0

  • Excel 2002/XP is 10.0

  • Excel 2003 is 11.0

Once you find it, right click the Excel folder, and choose Rename. Rename it to OldExcel. This is a quickie method of backing up your registry. Close the Registry Editor.

Launch Excel.