Personal Workbook Fails to Load

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 28, 2016)


All of a sudden Alan's Personal.xlsb workbook stopped loading whenever he starts Excel. He has confirmed that it is not loading, although it has in the recent past. The workbook is in its correct location and he can open it directly—it just won't load automatically as it is supposed to.

There could be a couple of different causes for this problem. The first thing you want to do is check to see if the Personal workbook has somehow become disabled. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Add-Ins at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Using the Manage drop-down list (bottom of the dialog box), choose Disabled Items.
  4. Click the Go button. Excel displays a dialog box that shows any add-ins that Excel has disabled.
  5. If the Personal workbook is listed as disabled, select it and then click Enable.
  6. Close all open dialog boxes.

Excel disables any add-ins that it thinks are corrupted in some way or that it believes won't work properly with Excel. While the above steps can temporarily make your Personal workbook active, it won't fix the problem in the long run—you need to replace the file with a backup that Excel doesn't think is corrupted. (If you don't have a backup, the you'll need to recreate your Personal workbook from scratch.)

It is also possible that the directory in which the Personal workbook is stored has somehow become "untrusted" to Excel. The workbook is created, by default, in a directory similar to the following:


You should understand that the actual directory may differ, depending on your version of Windows and which version of Excel you are using. This directory is supposed to be trusted by Excel as a repository of "OK to load" workbooks. If the directory is not trusted, then Excel won't load anything it contains.

You can check to see if the directory is trusted by following these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Trust Center at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Click the Trust Center Settings button. Excel displays the Trust Center dialog box.
  4. At the left of the dialog box, click Trusted Locations. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Trust Center dialog box.

At this point you should be able to look through the directories in the dialog box and find the one where the Personal workbook is stored. If you don't find it there, then you need to use the controls in the dialog box to add it.

For a more in-depth discussion of what issues could be causing problems with loading the Personal workbook, check out this website:

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12233) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010.

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. ...


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What is 0 + 7?

2017-08-08 11:17:16


Thanks, personal was disabled.

2017-07-13 10:46:40


Great tip! Saved me a lot of frustration :)

2017-07-11 04:04:00


Thank you! 'Personal' was disabled.

2017-06-19 05:59:42


Just a thank you for the instructions. Worked perfectly as described. Yay for Human Intelligence (HI) !!! Ha !!!

2017-05-16 00:53:23


A simple resolution in Excel 2016 to auto open "PERSONAL.XLSB":

File > Options > Add-ins > Manage: > Select "Disabled Items" > Go > Select "PERSONAL.XLSB" > Enable > Close > OK.
Close Excel and restart it again.

2017-01-18 09:44:28


Well written article that solved the problem of my personal.xlsb not loading (it had somehow been disabled).

Many Thanks

Pete - UK

2017-01-05 18:13:05


Thank you for this tip that allowed me to restore my macros!

2016-12-29 07:50:28


This article is very helpful. Like NickO, I enable my file and it works good. Thank you very much

2016-11-23 14:36:33


Very helpful! Just loaded Office 2016 and had issues with Excel not showing the Personal Workbook. Just had to enable it as instructed above. THANK YOU! I thought I lost all my VBA macros...phew...

2016-11-21 20:58:50


I'm still a little confused. In the Trusted Locations dialog box, how can i tell which directory has my personal workbook? And then, if I need to add it, what exactly do i type when I click on Add new location?

2016-11-13 12:58:37


Perfect tip! This issue has been bugging me for months.

2016-11-08 12:16:52


This was really helpful.

2016-10-22 01:25:00


It works ...
Thank you

2016-09-09 09:29:38


Thank you, this has been annoying me for some time.

2016-07-06 04:31:59


This was very helpful and solved my problem immediately!
Thank you!

2016-05-26 08:50:01


Thanks so much! I just updated my Office 365 Excel and like a week afterward, for some reason my personal XLSB file stopped opening. This worked so hopefully it doesn't decide to disable again. :)

2016-05-25 01:02:16


First tip worked great !!!!

Thanks a lot

2016-05-24 21:09:24

Mike B

Got me out of trouble. Microsoft seems to have many "silent" failure modes.

2016-04-28 17:42:17


Well done my good sir! This helped a ton! thank you!

2016-04-11 14:25:27


Works great. Thanks.

2016-03-01 09:39:41

Brian L.

Thanks for the tip! Like "Alp!", the first 6 steps solved it for me. My personal workbook had "prevented Excel from functioning correctly" -- that's fine & dandy, but I wish it would tell you if it has disabled something!

2016-02-05 19:36:16

Dave Waggoner

Thank you Alan for this tip. I've been looking for the answer for awhile. Yup that resolved the issue.

2016-01-05 22:27:03


Thank you!

2016-01-04 09:24:59


Thank you Allen. Your first 6 steps solved my problem!

2015-11-03 09:26:00


Thank you so much! My personal file had been moved out of that folder

2015-10-30 02:45:06

Brett Spiers

Thank you, very helpful article!

2015-07-12 14:32:37

Cindy Walker

That did it! Thank you so much!!!

2015-07-08 10:59:32


Thanks, Allen! This tip gave me the clue I needed (Trust Center) to resolve a similar problem I had: Excel wouldn't use my Book.xltx for a NewWorkbook... after a fruitless search for solutions, and trying it in both XLStart and Templates, I had resorted to writing a macro and custom button. This is great.

2015-07-08 10:41:46

Dave Kerr


If your Personal workbook opens when you open another file and is visible, here is a suggestion:

Actvate the Personal file window. Then use View, Window, Hide to hide the personal.xlsb. You should now have the "working" file only visible. Close that file and then Exit Excel. You should be prompted with something like
"Do you want to save the changes you made to PERSONAL.XLSB?"

Click Save. Excel will close. Next time you start Excel or open a workbook, the Personal one should not be visible.

2015-07-08 09:23:24

Cindy Walker

My Personal workbook loads, but it always opens when I open an Excel file. I think it used to load so I couldn't see it, but that may have been a couple of versions ago. Is it possible for it to load so I don't see it?

2013-06-10 13:00:37


Thanks for the tip. Personal.xlsb was in fact listed as disabled due to recent corruption. Enabling it fixed the problem.

2012-10-30 20:09:19

Jim Miller

There is no Trust Center on Mac. Any other suggestions?



2012-10-27 08:08:07

Gary Schirmer

There is another event that causes Personal.xls (xlsb) to not load and Macros are not available. This occurs when Access Databases I have created "Output to Excel" while Excel is open. This happens sporadically, but it appears the OutPut Excel File from Access opens a New Instance of Excel. This New Instance of Excel does not "See" the Personal.xls(xlsb) file so Macros do not appear. I resolve this by Closing Excel, reopening the Output Excel File and, voila, there are the Macros: Personal.xls(xlsb) is not loaded properly... Thought this might be helpful.

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