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

Changing the Number of Columns

If you need to change the number of columns used in a portion of your document, it's easy to do when you use the Columns ...

Discover More

Locking a Field

When you use fields in your document, you may want them to not change from a particular displayed result. You can lock ...

Discover More

Freezing a Table

Tired of Word changing the dimensions of table cells to accommodate what you place in those cells? You can instruct Word ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Closing Excel when Closing the Last Workbook

Have you noticed that when you close the last workbook in Excel, the program window itself often stays open? This ...

Discover More

Arranging Workbook Windows

If you find yourself working with a number of different workbooks at the same time, you may want to arrange your desktop ...

Discover More

Disabling a Function Key

Function keys are used to perform common tasks in Excel. If you want to disable one of the function keys, it's rather ...

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 7 + 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.