Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Open Workbooks Don't Display.

Open Workbooks Don't Display


Dan has several Excel workbooks he cannot open and several that he can. When he attempts to open the problem workbooks he is asked about updating links but he does not get any error messages. The open process seems to complete, but the workbook does not display. If he tries to open the workbook again, Excel tells him the file is already open. If he tries to close Excel, he is asked if he wants to save the workbook. Otherwise, there is no evidence that the workbook is open. Dan wonders how he can get around this.

There are two likely scenarios here. First, it could be that your worksheets are hidden. You can check this by following these steps:

  1. Display the View tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Unhide tool in the Window group. Excel displays the Unhide dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Unhide dialog box.

  4. Select the worksheet name you want to unhide.
  5. Click on OK.

Second, it could be that the worksheet is actually visible, but simply off screen. You can check this by simply right-clicking on the task bar and selecting Cascade Windows from the resulting Context menu.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11855) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Open Workbooks Don't Display.

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What is 3 - 0?

2015-10-12 08:18:18

Tom Mullan

I work with double screens and sometimes I close a workbook while the displayed book is on the right-hand screen. This is fine for me, but when someone who has a single screen tries to open the workbook they get a blank screen. To overcome the problem simply go to View and click on Full Screen.

2015-10-12 07:35:51

Vince French

I have the issue on several larger worksheets where they open but none of the details are shown i.e. there is a blank screen under the formula bar.
To get over this I need to click the arrow to the right hand end of the formula bar then - hey presto - all of the information below becomes visible.
Very strange little glitch!

2015-10-12 07:11:32



To precisely avoid this, Excel doesn't let you hide all Sheets. At least one must be Visible.

2012-07-05 16:38:20

Glenn Case

It could also be that the sheet(s) have been hidden using VBA's Sheets(i).Visible = xlSheetVeryHidden statement. To undo that, from VBA (or the VBA immediate window), use Sheets(i).Visible = xlSheetVisible, where i = the index number of the sheet of interest.

If you are not sure of the index number of the hidden sheet, you could just run the following macro:

Sub MakeShtsVisible()
Dim i As Integer

For i = 1 To ActiveWorkbook.Sheets.Count
Sheets(i).Visible = xlSheetVisible
Next i

End Sub

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