Excel Not Responding

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 5, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


2

Excel is frequently giving a "not responding" message when Brian is processing any of several workbooks. He wonders about the best way to diagnose and correct such a problem.

There are a number of things that you could check, but rather than reinvent the wheel here, I'll simply provide some pointers to helpful information. The best place to check may actually be the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/2758592

The article focuses primarily on elements external to what is in your workbook, each of which can affect how Excel works with your data.

Of course, the problem may be related to something else entirely. If the "not responding" message comes up when you are running a macro, it could be because of the macro itself. If that is the case, you'll want to dust off your debugging skills and figure out if you have a logic error in the macro that is causing it to go into an infinite loop. (What is an infinite loop? A series of steps repeated forever because the conditions that would stop the repetition naturally are never encountered.) If that is the case, you'll need to change the macro to make sure the infinite loop condition doesn't occur.

Of course, it could be that your macro is working as hard as it can and it just takes a long, long time. In cases like this, Excel seems to "turn off" foreground processing (what you see in the workbook) until the macro running in the background is finished.

One way to moderate this a bit is to place a DoEvents command in your macro code. This causes VBA to take a breath and execute any "events" that have built up while it was so busy running code that it ignored everything else. In other words, it causes VBA to allow Excel to "respond," so the "not responding" message doesn't appear.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13435) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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

Understanding ASCII and ANSI Characters

Two of the most common character coding schemes used in computers go by the acronyms ASCII and ANSI. This tip explains a ...

Discover More

Overcoming Automatic Word Selection

When you select text with the mouse, Word usually selects entire words for you. If you don't want to do this, you can use ...

Discover More

Splitting Cells to Individual Columns

When you are working with data created by other systems or other people, you often need to convert the data into ...

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)

Printing Workbook Properties

Want to create a printed record of the properties associated with a workbook? There is no easy way to do it in Excel. ...

Discover More

Tying Workbooks Together

If you work with multiple workbooks at the same time, you might wonder how to tie them together so they open and close at ...

Discover More

Workbook Loses All Conditional Formatting

Workbooks created in very old versions of Excel can, at times, have issues when opened in later versions of the program. ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 three less than 9?

2022-11-05 06:31:16

Tim Easter

I had a case this week of any spreadsheet that refreshes automatically on opening through Power Query and Power Pivot hanging. This behavior is only happening on my machine (aren't I the fortunate one). It seems that Power Query does its job okay, but it hangs while updating Power Pivot. Repairing the program doesn't affect it. A reinstall last week solved it for a day or two. Anyone come across this before? So far Google hasn't found me any answers. :( Tim


2022-11-05 05:54:35

Malcolm Lloyd

Think you should also be aware that there can be a problem with Microsoft Excel (2021) when using a 4k monitor. Even with a simple workbook (no macros) system will sometimes suddenly freeze requiring an exit of Excel and in some cases a reboot. All system RAM is taken up and not released. This does not occur when using a lower grade monitor. Microsoft is aware of problem but no fix yet issued.


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.