Fix: Microsoft Excel Opens Blank on Windows

There have been reports submitted by users that put light on various issues with their Microsoft Excel 2016. These reports reported an issue where a saved workbook would appear as blank. According to the reports, users would save a spreadsheet and then exit the file. However, to their surprise, the next time they would try to open the file, it would appear as blank and they were all prompted with a grey screen.

Microsoft Excel 2016 Opens Blank

This issue can be caused by several factors which include the corrupt installation of Microsoft Excel, Excel startup preferences, etc. Though the issue sounds critical, it really is not. The issue can be easily resolved by implementing some easy fixes that are mentioned in the article down below. However, before we get into that, let us have a look at what potentially causes the issue.

What causes Microsoft Excel 2016 to open Blank on Windows 10?

Well, the issue can be caused by several things. In the list below, we have pointed out the ones that are most often responsible for generating the issue.

  • Corrupt installation of Microsoft Excel: In most of the cases, the issue is caused by a corrupt installation of Microsoft Excel. In such scenarios, you can easily get over the issue by repairing your installation.
  • Startup preferences: Another thing that could potentially be the cause of the issue would be your Microsoft Excel startup preferences. The folder where your startup preferences are stored often causes such issues.
  • Microsoft Excel settings: The last thing would be your Microsoft Excel settings. This includes DDE, hardware acceleration, etc. Such options usually cause issues, however, they can be easily dealt with.

Now that you have the basic insight of the potential factors that cause the issue, we can proceed to solve the issue. To solve the issue, please follow the solutions provided down below in the same order as given so that you get a hasty resolution.

Solution 1: Disable Hardware Acceleration

In some cases, the excel file appears blank because Microsoft Excel is not able to load the data of the file due to hardware acceleration for the graphics card. In such cases, you can fix the issue by disabling hardware acceleration. Here’s how:

  1. Open up Microsoft Excel.
  2. Click on File and then select Options.
  3. Navigate to the Advanced tab and scroll down to Display pane.
  4. Make sure ‘Disable hardware acceleration’ is checked and then click OK.
    Disabling Hardware Acceleration
  5. Try opening the file again.

Solution 2: Disable ‘Ignore DDE’ Option

Sometimes, the issue occurs when your Microsoft Excel has the DDE or also known as Dynamic Data Exchange enabled. This option lets other applications on your system subscribe to the items of Microsoft Excel. To fix this, you will have to make sure that the ‘Ignore DDE’ option is unchecked in Microsoft Excel. Here’s how:

  1. Open up Microsoft Excel and then click on File.
  2. Select Options and then switch to the Advanced tab.
  3. Scroll down and locate the General pane.
  4. Make sure the ‘Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)’ option is unchecked.
    Unchecking Ignore DDE Option
  5. Click OK and see if it fixes the issue.

Solution 3: Emptying XLSTART Folder

As we have mentioned above, your Microsoft Excel startup preferences can sometimes be the cause of the issue. Your startup preferences are stored in the XLSTART folder. Emptying this folder will reset the preferences and potentially fix your issue. Here’s how to locate the folder:

  1. Open up the Windows Explorer.
  2. Afterward, paste the following in the address bar:
  3. Locate the Excel folder and tap into it.
    Excel Folder Roaming
  4. There, navigate to the XLSTART folder and move all the files from it to another location, for example, your desktop.
  5. Once done, try to open the excel file again and see if it resolves the issue.

Solution 4: Repairing Microsoft Excel

If the above-mentioned solutions don’t fix your issue, then this means you have a corrupt Microsoft Excel installation. In such a case, you will have to repair the installation. This can be easily done by following the steps given down below:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and select Apps and Features from the list.
  2. In the Apps & features page, search for Microsoft Excel. If you are using Microsoft Office, search for that instead.
  3. Highlight it and then select Modify.
  4. Perform a Quick Repair and see if it resolves the issue.
    Repairing Office
  5. If it doesn’t, go for the Online Repair option which should fix the issue.

If none of the above methods work, make sure that you check that the document you are trying to open is indeed valid and readily available. If the document is moved or deleted, it will not accessible.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.