Solving Common Setup Problems
This document describes the solution to several common problems involving Excel setup.
Excel crashes when it starts
When Excel is started, it opens an *.xlb file, which contains your menu and toolbar customizations. If this file is damaged, it may cause Excel to crash when it it started. Also, this file may (for some reason) be very large. In such a case, this may also cause Excel to crash. Typically, your *.xlb file should be 500K or smaller.
If Excel crashes when it is started, try deleting your *.xlb file. To do so:
Many documents open automatically
If Excel automatically opens lots of files at start-up, here are two things to check:
Excel's menus are messed up
If your menus change, or if there is a delay before all menu items are not listed, you need to make a change.
Commands are missing from the menu
If the steps in the preceding section don't solve the problem, you can reset Excel's menu bar:
Excel displays extraneous menu commands
Another common problem is extraneous menu items. For example, you may have used an add-in that added a new menu item to the Tools menu. And, for whatever reason, the add-in did not remove that menu item. To remove the menu item:
Double-clicking an Excel file does not work
Normally, double-clicking an XLS file starts Excel and opens that file. If this doesn't work for you, you'll need to re-register Excel. Do do so:
You get a macro warning when no macros exist
When you open a workbook, you may be prompted to enable or disable macros --even though no macros exist in the workbook. Press Alt+F11 to activate the Visual Basic Editor. Locate your workbook in the projects window:
You get an erroneous "file is being edited by" message
When you open a file that is in use, you'll get a message that tells you the file must be opened in read-only mode. In some cases, you may get this message even though the file is definitely not in use. This can be caused by an Excel crash, in which the file was not released. The only way around it is to re-start Windows.
Numbers are entered with the wrong number of decimal places
For example, entering 154 appears as 1.54 in the cell. Somehow Excel's fixed-decimal mode was turned on. To return to normal:
Of course, this feature can be useful when entering some types of data, but most of the time, you'll want to keep the fixed-decimal mode turned off.
Numbers, not letters appear in the column header
Normally, Excel columns are labeled with letters. If they actually appear as numbers, you can change it back to the default: