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Fix Excel Not Working on Windows 10: 6 Quick Tips

Kelly Sherawat
Kelly Sherawat Originally published May 11, 24, updated May 11, 24

Are you encountering difficulties opening Excel files on your Windows 10 or 11 system? It can be frustrating when Excel refuses to cooperate when you have important data to access or modify. Fortunately, several effective methods exist to address this issue and get your Excel files functioning smoothly again.

In this article, we'll provide practical solutions to resolve the Excel file not opening in Windows 10 problem. You’ll also learn the common reasons behind it. Whether it's disabling certain options, adjusting settings, or utilizing specialized repair tools, we've got you covered with step-by-step instructions.

In this article
    1. Uncheck Excel’s Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) Option
    2. Disable Protected View to Solve Excel Not Opening in Windows 10 Issue
    3. Turn off Add-ins When Excel Won’t Open Windows 10
    4. Reset Excel File Associations
    5. Repair Microsoft Office If Excel Not Opening in Windows 10

Reasons that Excel File Not Opening in Windows 10 & 11

There are various reasons why Microsoft Excel may fail to open:

  • A problematic add-in may be preventing Excel files from opening. In such cases, you may still access the Excel application but encounter difficulties with specific files.
  • Your Excel application could be corrupted. Thus, necessitating repair before file access is restored.
  • Communication issues may arise between Excel and other applications or the operating system. Adjusting settings to enable proper communication can often resolve these issues.
  • Broken file associations may prevent Excel files from opening, typically occurring after upgrades to Excel or the operating system. Resetting file associations usually resolves this issue.
  • The file you're attempting to open might be corrupted, especially if shared by someone else or transferred from a network or external drive. In such cases, ensuring regular backups is advisable for future prevention.

Best Way to Solve Excel File Not Opening in Window 10 Issue

If you can't open Excel on your Windows PC, the most reliable option is to use specialized repair software. A powerful Excel repair tool like Wondershare Repairit is highly recommended to diagnose and fix any issues within the file.

Repairit stands out as an effective tool for fixing Excel files. This tool has advanced fixing algorithms to recover data from files Excel struggles to open for various reasons. Moreover, it functions well with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Here's why Repairit is a standout solution:

  • Repair damaged Excel files with all levels of corruption, including blank files, files not opening, unrecognizable format, unreadable content, files layout changed, etc.

  • Repairs all kinds of data stored in damaged Excel files such as tables, charts, formulas, comments, images, etc.

  • Support all formats of Excel files: XLSX/XLSM/XLTX/XLTM/XLS

  • Perfectly repair corrupted files with a very high success rate, without modifying the original file.

  • No limit to the number and size of the repairable files.

  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/2022, and macOS 10.10~macOS 13.

  • Except Excel, Repairit also supports all formats of PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ZIP, and Adobe files.

To fix Excel files using Repairit, follow the three-step process:

Step 1: On a Windows PC, open Wondershare Repairit and look for the File Repair tab under More Types Repair.

file repair

Step 2: Click "Add" to upload Excel files you can't open. Repairit will fix them and show the progress. After adding, you can see each file's name, size, and where it's stored by looking at the Excel file icon.

import unopenable xlsx files

Step 3: Click "Repair" to begin. The tool will scan and fix the Excel files, letting you monitor the progress and cancel if necessary.

unopenable excel files details

Step 4: After fixing the Excel files, click "Preview" to check the results. If satisfied, click "Save" for individual files or "Save All" for everything. Then, pick where you want to save them.

save repaired excel files
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5 Fixes to Try When Excel Is Not Opening in Windows10

Aside from a quick fix through reliable software, there are other methods you can try without installing third-party tools. Here are the top 5 workarounds to open Excel:

1. Uncheck Excel’s Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) Option

The easiest fix often is to turn on Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), which lets Excel share data like numbers and text with other apps. This enables automatic updates from external sources or sending data to other applications. However, turning on DDE might lead to problems opening Excel files, so adjust the DDE settings as needed.

Here's how to resolve this DDE issue:

Step 1: Access Microsoft Excel from the Start menu.

open microsoft excel

Step 2: Click the File tab, then select Options.


Step 3: Press the Advanced option.


Step 4: Go to the General section below.


Step 5: Ensure that the "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)" setting is unchecked. Then, close the Excel Options dialog box.

uncheck dde

Step 6: If you disabled this setting using the above steps and it caused the issue, it should now be resolved.

If this method doesn't work, keep reading for alternative solutions.

2. Disable Protected View to Solve Excel Not Opening in Windows 10 Issue

Protected View in Excel opens files without allowing edits to protect against malware from risky places like certain websites or email attachments. Sometimes, it might mistakenly block safe files too. To fix this, close all Excel files and the app then reopen the file you're having trouble with. This method might take a while since you have to repeatedly close and open Excel and the file.

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Open the Excel file, go to the File menu, select Options, then Trust Center, and click on Trust Center Settings.

trust center settings

Step 2: Select the Protected View tab.

protected view tab

Step 3: In the Protected View section, uncheck the relevant option and click OK to save the changes. For instance, if your file is an Outlook attachment, uncheck "Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments."

uncheck boxes

Step 4: Now attempt to open the problematic Excel file. If it still doesn't open, proceed to the next workaround.

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3. Turn off Add-ins When Excel Won’t Open Windows 10

Many Excel users rely on third-party add-ins to enhance functionality and access features not included by default.

For instance, during your job, you used 'ThinkCell' to create charts beyond Excel's capabilities. However, these add-ins can sometimes cause issues, preventing Excel files from opening.

Luckily, the fix is simple: disable the add-in. Here's how:

Step 1: Click Options from the File tab of the Excel file. Then, choose Add-ins.

add ins

Step 2: Below the dialog box, select COM Add-ins from the Manage drop-down menu.

com add ins

Step 3: Click Go.


Step 4: In the COM Add-ins dialog box, disable all add-ins. Then, click OK.

disable add ins

Step 5: Now try opening the problematic Excel file again. If the add-in was the issue, the file should open without trouble.

icon note
Note: If enabling the add-in still causes problems, it may be corrupt and needs permanent disabling.

4. Reset Excel File Associations

File associations ensure that when you open an Excel file, it uses the Excel application. But sometimes, these associations become corrupted, causing Excel files not to open properly when clicked.

The solution? Reset the file associations. Here's how:

Step 1: Open the Control Panel. Click Programs.


Step 2: Click Default Programs.

default programs

Step 3: Scroll down and tap Reset all default apps. Then, click Reset.

reset all default apps

Step 4: If mismatched file associations were the issue, this should fix it.

icon note
Note: Resetting defaults affects all applications. If you want to reset only Excel file associations, choose "choose default applications by file type." Then, locate Excel file extensions (.xls, .xlsx, .xlsb, .csv, etc.) and set Excel as the default application for these.

5. Repair Microsoft Office If Excel Not Opening in Windows 10

The last possible reason Excel files won't open is a corrupt Microsoft Office application that needs repair or reinstall. Since reinstalling is more involved, let's start with the repair option.

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Press the Windows and R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog box.

run dialog box

Step 2: Type 'appwiz.cpl' in the run box and tap Enter to open the programs and features dialog box.


Step 3: Locate Microsoft Office in the list.

microsoft office

Step 4: Right-click the Microsoft Office option and select Change.


Step 5: Select Quick Repair. Then, click Repair.

quick repair

Follow the on-screen instructions, and Microsoft Office should be repaired within minutes.

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Tips To Prevent Excel Not Opening in Windows 10

Facing problems with Excel files not opening on your Windows 10 system can be frustrating. To assist you in overcoming this challenge, we've gathered a comprehensive list of proactive measures and strategies. Explore these expert tips below to ensure smooth access to your Excel files.

  1. Keep Excel and Windows 10 updated.
  2. Avoid opening Excel files from suspicious sources.
  3. Disable unnecessary add-ins in Excel.
  4. Regularly reset file associations in Windows.
  5. Perform periodic repairs or reinstallations of Microsoft Office.
  6. Ensure proper configuration of Excel's Protected View settings.
  7. Use reputable third-party repair tools like Wondershare Repairit for corrupted Excel files.
  8. Back up important Excel files regularly.


Struggling to open Excel files on your Windows 10 or 11 system can be frustrating, but there's no need to worry. Effective solutions exist to fix this issue and restore your Excel files.

In this article, we've shared practical tips to resolve the problem of Excel files not opening on Windows 10 and 11. We've also discussed common reasons behind this issue. If you need to disable certain options, adjust settings, or use specialized repair tools, follow the instructions mentioned.

With this knowledge, you can confidently address Excel opening issues and ensure uninterrupted access to your important data.

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  • Can Excel file extensions impact file opening?
    Yes. Having the correct file extension (.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, etc.) is essential for Excel to recognize the file format. Double-check that your file has the right extension and hasn't been renamed incorrectly.
  • What if Excel isn't installed correctly on my Windows system?
    Reinstalling Excel can fix installation issues. Make sure you have a valid license and follow the installation instructions carefully.
  • Are there other programs to open Excel files on Windows?
    Yes. Alternatives like LibreOffice Calc or Google Sheets can open and edit Excel files. Try opening the file with one of these programs to see if the issue is specific to Excel.
Kelly Sherawat
Kelly Sherawat May 11, 24
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Kelly Sherawat
Written by Kelly Sherawat
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