Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Starting in Safe Mode.

Starting in Safe Mode

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 15, 2017)

3

If you are having problems with Excel, it could be because of the files and add-ins that are loaded whenever you start Excel. To test this theory, you can start Excel in "safe mode." Here's an easy way to start Excel in safe mode:

First, make sure Excel is not running. If it is, exit the program entirely. Then, display the Search box in Windows (you may need to display the Start menu to do this) or simply click in the Cortana box (if you are using Windows 10), In the box, type the following:

excel.exe /s 

When you press Enter, Excel starts, but in doing so it bypasses all the files in the various startup folders (such as XLStart). You know you are in safe mode because the words "Safe Mode" appears in the title bar. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Running in safe mode.

You can use Excel as you normally would, and then exit the program. The next time you start the program—without the safe mode switch—it runs as it normally does.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11632) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Starting in Safe Mode.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Mimicking Small Caps in Excel

Word provides a much wider range of formatting tools and options than you can find in Excel. One example is when it comes ...

Discover More

Referencing the Last Cell in a Column

When developing formulas, you may need to reference the very last value in a particular column. This can seem perplexing, ...

Discover More

Entering Calculations in a Form Field

One of the many uses for Word is to create forms that can be easily filled in by other people. This is made possible by ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Speeding Up Large Worksheets

If your worksheet gets large enough, you may notice a severe slowdown when it is recalculated. This tip provides some ...

Discover More

Dividing the Screen Unevenly between Two Workbooks

When working with multiple workbooks, you'll typically want to resize the workbook windows so you can see the data from ...

Discover More

Using a Single Instance of Excel with Two Monitors

Working on a computer system that has multiple monitors can help increase your productivity. If you want to work with ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two more than 9?

2018-08-01 10:27:41

Martin Yates

Thank you !


2017-06-03 04:59:07

Parag Shah

Sir, also in safe mode key board short cut of Alt+= (Auto sum) not working in OS Windows 10 & MS Office 2016, kindly suggest the possible solutions


2017-04-15 09:51:01

1695814

The method displayed in this tip by Mr. Wyatt is probably the easiest way to start Excel in safe mode. However, if you'd rather click things...Press and hold the Ctrl key and double-click the Excel shortcut (or single click if it's in your taskbar, e.g.). You should get a pop-up message confirming that you want to start Excel in safe mode.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.