Excel Not Responding

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2016)

3

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. There are two articles there that will be helpful. The first article you'll want to check out is this one:

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. If you think the problem may be more with what is inside your workbook (the data itself, how it is formatted, and additional objects), then you'll want to refer to this article:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2735548

Of course, the problem may not be related to your data or external elements at all. 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, and 2016.

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 Font Sizes

Want to change the size of the font within a worksheet? Excel allows you to choose from a list of sizes, as well as ...

Discover More

Limiting Precision

There may be times you need to limit the amount of precision Excel uses in its calculations. Here is one way to ...

Discover More

Hyperlinking to a Specific Excel Worksheet

Creating a hyperlink to an Excel workbook is easy. With the information in this tip you can discover how to hone that ...

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)

Stopping a Workbook from Persistently Auto-Loading

Excel has the capability to automatically open workbooks when you first start the program. You may not want to have one ...

Discover More

Forcing a Workbook to Close after Inactivity

Tired of your workbooks being left open on the screen where they can be seen by anyone passing by? Here's a way to have ...

Discover More

Merging Many Workbooks

If you need to combine the contents of a bunch of workbooks into a single workbook, the process can get tedious. Here's a ...

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 nine minus 4?

2016-02-23 17:22:59

Lynda

I have found that if you are doing any manipulating or updating of data that doesn't need to be recalculating all the time, macros run faster if the worksheet is set to manual recalc & have the macro recalculate when necessary. This can make a HUGE difference in time to run a macro.


2016-02-22 10:16:32

Andrew Mills

Great tip. Thank you very much!


2016-02-20 11:36:40

Allen C

Perfect timing! I was experiencing the "not responding" message while running a complicated sub procedure - that calls two other complicated sub procedures. I inserted the DoEvents command into each of the three sub procedures just after the start of a For Next loop, and the message did not appear. Thanks.


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.