Troubleshooting Microsoft Excel

See Also

  • Microsoft Office - Troubleshooting general Microsoft Office problems and links to troubleshooting other Microsoft Office applications

Common Problems and Fixes

Excel is missing all the toolbars and tabs

This happens if excel is in fullscreen mode. Until you undo the fullscreen mode Excel will always start fullscreen. You undo fullscreen by clicking View => Fullscreen.

Formatting a list of ID numbers

When you enter in a number like 00324328 into Excel, Excel usually deletes the leading zeros because they're "not important". Sometimes those zeros are important - for example, on a list of Midd student/staff ID numbers. You can set Excel to include those leading zeros in specific cells with the following steps.

  1. Click and drag to select the area of cells that you want to show leading zeros.
  2. Right-click in the selected area and choose Format Cells.
  3. Under the Number tab, choose the Category Custom. (In this area, you specify the way you want Excel to show cells. By choosing "Custom", you are saying that you want to manually specify the format to be used.)
  4. In the Type: field, erase the default value "General" and enter in 00000000 (eight zeros). (This tells Excel that every number value in these cells should display with at least eight digits, leading zeros by default.)
  5. Click OK and verify that the fields formatted show any entered number shows leading zeros up to eight digits.

How to Open Excel Files on Separate Monitors

By default Excel opens each file on the same window, on the same monitor. To open Excel files in separate windows on separate monitors (to compare spreadsheets side-by-side) you need to change one setting in Excel:

  • For Excel 2003: Click on Tools => Options and click on the General tab. Place a checkmark next to "Ignore other applications". Different Excel files will now open in separate windows and you can compare them side-by-side.
  • For Excel 2007: Click on the Office button (Office button.PNG), then click on Excel options (lower right corner). Click on Advanced (left side of the window), scroll down to the section titled General and place a checkmark next to "Ignore other applications". Different Excel files will now open in separate windows and you can compare them side-by-side.

Disable Green Triangle

  • Problem: How do I disable the green triangle in Excel telling me there are numbers formatted as text?
  • Solution Here's how you can stop the green triangle from displaying in Excel (indicating that a number has been stored in text format):
    • From the Tools menu, select Options.
    • Click the Error Checking tab.
    • Uncheck the box beside Number stored as text.
    • Click OK.
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