How to Fix Microsoft Excel Crashing When Opening Files

Wondering why Microsoft Excel is crashing when opening files?

Microsoft Excel is the leading spreadsheet tool that you can use. It is developed by Microsoft and has been around for more than 30 years. Having tons of experience in the market, we’d think that Microsoft has already perfected Excel. 

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Like any software or application, Microsoft Excel can run into issues during use. 

If you are here, we can assume that Excel is crashing when you are trying to open files. 

Most of the time, this problem occurs due to improper configurations on your device or system. On the other hand, corrupted data, missing resources, third-party apps, and outdated software can also cause this problem. 

In this guide, we will show you what to do if Microsoft Excel is crashing when opening files on your computer. 

Let’s get started!

1. Restart Your Computer. 

When you encounter issues with Microsoft Excel, it is highly recommended that you restart your system first before tweaking your configurations. This way, you can rule out temporary errors that might be causing the problem. 

  1. First, save your progress and ensure that Microsoft Excel is closed. 
  2. After that, access the Start Menu and click on the Power Options tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose Restart and wait for your computer to reboot. 
Restart your PC

Once done, go back to Microsoft Excel and check if the problem is solved. 

2. Run Excel as Administrator. 

Microsoft Excel might not have the right permissions on your computer to access resources, which causes it to crash once you access files. To avoid this issue, try running Excel as an administrator to bypass any restrictions. 

  1. Locate Microsoft Excel on your desktop and right-click on it. 
  2. Next, click on Properties and go to the Compatibility tab. 
  3. Finally, enable the ‘Run this Program as an Administrator’ option and save the changes. 
Microsoft Excel Crashing When Opening Files

Relaunch Excel on your computer and check if the problem still occurs. 

3. Install Software Update. 

The version of Excel you’re using might have an underlying issue that causes the program to crash. If this is the case, we suggest updating the app to the latest version to patch bugs and other issues. 

Here’s how you can update Excel: 

  1. First, open Microsoft Excel and access the File tab. 
  2. Now, go to Accounts
  3. Lastly, click on Update Options and choose Update Now or Enable Updates
Microsoft Excel Crashing When Opening Files

Try opening your file again and see if the issue is solved. 

4. Clear Microsoft Excel Cache. 

Like any application, Microsoft Excel uses caches to improve its overall performance. While caches help enhance performance, they could also pose problems when they accumulate or get corrupted. 

If Microsoft Excel is crashing when opening files, try clearing its cache. See the steps below to guide you in the process: 

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows + R keys to open Run
  2. Next, type ‘%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Wef\’ and click OK
  3. Finally, delete all the contents of the folder. 

Go back to Microsoft Excel and see if you can now access your files. 

5. Remove Conditional Formatting.

Conditional formatting on Microsoft Excel can put a lot of load on your system when copying them from one cell to another. Due to this, we recommend disabling conditional formatting on your file if you encounter performance issues. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. On Microsoft Excel, go to the Home tab. 
  2. Next, click on Conditional Formatting under the Styles tab. 
  3. After that, hover your cursor over the Clear Rules option. 
  4. Finally, select the option you need to clear. 
Clear Conditional Formatting

Once done, go back to your worksheet and check if the problem is solved. 

6. Close Unused Applications. 

There might be some background applications or third-party software running on your computer which prevents Microsoft Excel from opening your files. If this is the case, try closing unused applications. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. On your keyboard, press the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys to open the Task Manager
  2. Now, go to the Processes tab and click on Memory. This should sort your apps based on their memory usage. 
  3. Identify the applications you’re not using and close them. 
microsoft excel crashing when opening files

Restart Microsoft Excel and check if you can now access your files. 

7. Disable Your Antivirus. 

Third-party antivirus are software that protects your system from malware and other viruses. While they work great for preventing viruses, they also tend to get overprotective and cause issues with legitimate applications. 

If you can’t open files using Microsoft Excel, try turning off your antivirus first or include Excel in the whitelist or allow list. 

8. Update Your System. 

For your last option, you can try updating your operating system if Microsoft Excel is still crashing when opening files. This should ensure that there are no compatibility issues with your system and you have the latest working version of Windows. 

Check out the steps below to update Windows: 

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows + I keys to open Windows Settings
  2. Now, click on Update & Security and access the Windows Update tab. 
  3. Finally, click on Check for Updates or Download and Install
microsoft excel crashing when opening files

Restart your system to apply the changes. Go back to Microsoft Excel afterward and see if it still crashes when accessing your files. 

That ends our guide for fixing Microsoft Excel if it keeps crashing when opening files. If you have other concerns, please drop a comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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