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Do You Need Some Fixes For 4 Common Excel Errors? (How-To)

How To Fix 4 Common Issues With Excel

Before you give up on Excel or go to a YouTube video for advice, check out these common issues below and how to overcome them. If your business is in or around Cedar City / St. George, Utah, or Idaho Falls, and you get really frustrated with Excel, we’re always here to help.

Issue 1

The Problem:

When copying data in Excel using the Control Key you might get an error that says: “Clipboard cannot be emptied – another program might be using the clipboard.”

The Cause:
In many cases, this is caused by the SKYPE add-in in Internet Explorer.

The Fix:

Disable or remove the Skype add-in.

To disable it:
1.Open Internet Explorer
2. Select Tools >Internet Options
3. Select Programs > Manage Add-ons
4. Select the Skype add-in and disable.
5. Select disable again.

Issue 2

The Problem:

Excel displays #VALUE! when it runs into spaces, characters, or text where it is expecting a number.

Excel requires formulas to contain numbers only and won’t respond to formulas associated with words, so it will show you an error if you’ve included anything else.

The Fix:

Make sure you only used numbers. If you’re still getting the #VALUE! error, look for blank cells, any missing formulas that link to cells, or special characters you might have entered.

Issue 3

The Problem:

When you see ##### in your cell. What this is indicating is that the column isn’t wide enough for the information you’re entering.

The Fix:

This is easy. Just click on the right border of the column header and drag it to the right to increase the column width!

Now for a tough one.  Take a deep breath!

Issue 4

The Problem:

Here’s one that happens a lot. And the issue could be caused by many things. When opening or using Microsoft Excel, it crashes, freezes, hangs or stops working altogether. When this happens you may also get the following error messages:

  • “Excel has stopped working.”
  • “Excel is not responding.”
  • “A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.”

The Fixes (There are 7 you can try!)   If one doesn’t work, move on to the next.

Fix 1: Start Excel in Safe Mode

Safe mode lets you use Excel without startup programs interfering. To do this:

  1. When starting Excel, press and hold the Ctrl key while you start the program.
  2. Or you can open in safe mode by using the “/safe” (that is, excel.exe /safe) option when you start Excel from the command line.

When you run Excel in safe mode, it bypasses settings like alternative startup location, changed toolbars, the xlstart folder, and Excel add-ins. (Note: COM add-ins are excluded.)

Fix 2: Investigate potential issues with COM add-ins.

COM add-ins come in two types:

  • Excel add-ins .xla, .xlam, or .xll files.
  • COM add-in that was installed, including DLLs and registry keys. Note: COM add-ins that were created for one version of Excel aren’t usually compatible with a newer version. This is when crashes can occur if they aren’t disabled by starting in safe mode.

(If you use Windows, Microsoft advises that you run this troubleshooter.)  If the problem recurs, you have to figure out which add-in is causing the problem.

Disable COM add-ins:

  1. Choose File > Options > Add-ins.
  2. Go to the bottom of the dialog box and change the Manage drop-down to COM add-ins.
  3. Select Go.
  4. Clear the checkbox for any enabled COM add-ins. Select OK.

If this works, enable the COM add-ins one at a time to see which one is causing the issue.

If this doesn’t work, move on to Fix 3.

Fix 3: Check Excel file contents and details

Sometimes when you use upgraded versions of Excel files, the problem can travel from one user to another. When a user gets a file, but doesn’t know what version of Excel the file was created in, this can cause crashes.

Formulas that reference entire columns such as:

  • Array formulas that reference an uneven number of elements in the arguments. (Note: Array formulas use standard formula syntax and begin with an equal (=) sign.)
  • Hundreds or thousands of hidden or 0 height and width objects.
  • Excessive styles resulting from frequent copying and pasting between workbooks.
  • Too many and invalid defined names.

Didn’t work? Try Fix 4.

Fix 4: Was your file generated by a third party?

It may have Excel files that were generated incorrectly. When this happens, you’ll have to test outside the third-party application. If this works, let the third know about the issue.

Fix 5:   Perform a selective startup to see if there’s a conflict in a process or program.

Windows applications and services start automatically and are running in the background. These can cause conflicts with software. Time to do a “clean boot.” For Windows 10, go to this link and follow the directions:

Still not working? On to Fix 6.

Fix 6: Is your antivirus software up to date? Could it be conflicting with Excel?

It’s important to always keep up with new antivirus software.  If not, this could be the problem.

No matter, this is how to check to see if your antivirus is conflicting with Excel:

Disable all Excel integrations within the antivirus software by creating exceptions for Excel files. Don’t change the antivirus setting. You may need to contact your antivirus solution provider to do this.

The Last Option

Fix 7: Install the latest updates.

Set Windows to automatically download and install all recommended updates. This can often correct problems with out-of-date files and repair vulnerabilities. Click this link for Windows 10 updates. Go here for Office Updates.

Need help?  Contact the Excel team at SymTec.

In the meantime, if you found this article helpful, there are many others in our Learning Center. Here are a few examples:

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