Excel 2007 workbook window not visible

Anyone seen this?

Open a workbook in Excel 2007, and there seems to be nothing open. But the formula bar (and name box) update as you move around this inivisible sheet?

The workbook is open but its window is not visible, but as you arrow around things update – but you can’t see the grid. Switching to this workbook does not display it.

Generally a bit of messing with opening other files and eventually this missing one reappears.

It is not a hidden workbook, seems to be intermittent between users and workbooks. I have mainly seen it when this is the only workbook open.

The workaround I have found so far is to open a new window on the workbook (:2) (if you close it :1 does not appear) then click arrange, this gets both visible, then close 2 and that original partially hidden window appears and is fine.

I did try deleting the .xlb, but then the next person with the same issue did not have one – which shot the ‘corrupt .xlb’ theory out of the water

Anyone else seen this?

anyone got a fix, or a more simple workaround?




80 Responses to “Excel 2007 workbook window not visible”

  1. Jayson Says:

    I’ve seen this quite a bit. I attributed it to having multiple monitors but maybe that’s not the case. I find that the file is open, just restored (not maximized) outside the main Excel window. Restoring the Excel window (so it is not maximized) then moving it and resizing (making it bigger) until you find it usually does the trick. Your suggestion is a good one, but I think would rather create a new workbook than a new window, then tile. I have issues closing the correct window and end up losing a lot of formatting!

  2. Charles Says:

    Yes I have seen that too. It goes away if you fiddle around long enough.

    Roll on 2007 SP2 and XL14.

  3. Bob Flanagan Says:

    I have not seen the problem, but I have heard of it. Two solutions I have heard: change the sheet zoom to 99%. Another is to insure you have at least one Excel VBA add-in installed.

  4. Jayson Says:


    I can’t say that having a Excel VBA add-in has helped me at all. I have at least one installed and I still see the problem on occasion.

  5. sam Says:

    More 2007 wierdness.

    1) Create an XLSB file – Data.xlsb
    2) Create a small table – Name , Region, Amt
    3) Save and close the file
    4) Open another file, build a Pivot Table on Data.xlsb as External Data source… and an amazing message

    The file was created in a previous beta version of Excel 2007. Open the file with Excel 2007 to save it in the most recent version of Excel 2007 file

  6. sam Says:

    Opp pressed the submit button early

    “The file was created in a previous beta version of Excel 2007. Open the file with Excel 2007 to save it in the most recent version of Excel 2007 file format before opening it in Access 2007”

    I never had a beta version of 2007 on this machine…and whats this Access 2007 for

  7. Bob Phillips Says:


    The connection engine seems to assume an Access OLE DB provider. Did you change it to Jet?

  8. jonpeltier Says:

    I had a similar issue. I could see the window, but what was highlighted was the outline of the active cell on a different sheet. I could navigate the visible sheet by clicking or using the arrow keys; the name box and formula bar reflected the cell which was actually selected.

    There had been some shapes (rectangles) added to the workbook in Excel 2003, and the shapes had been assigned to a no longer present macro. Perhaps I’d clicked on one of these rectangles (they were formatted to match the background of the sheet, a blue fill color), but there had been no “macro not found” error.

    I discovered the rectangle when I changed the fill color with code, by changing the color associated with that color index on the Excel 2003 palette. All text and cell fills using this color index in 2003 properly updated in 2007, but the shapes did not change color with the changing color index. Deletion of the shapes stopped the phantom selection problem on the worksheets, but not until I learned that the color system in 2007 did not allow workbook-wide color changes as they did in 2003.

  9. Harlan Grove Says:

    ‘ . . . but not until I learned that the color system in 2007 did not allow workbook-wide color changes as they did in 2003.’

    I suppose that’s the prevent you from propagating unprofessional color schemes too broadly.

  10. jonpeltier Says:

    I think it’s inadvertent, but its effect is to spread the new unprofessional graphics system throughout everything you do.

  11. Simon Says:

    never close window 1: and you won’t lose zoom settings
    I have heard elsewhere about resizing the Excel window, so if I see it again I’ll try that.

  12. Jayson Says:

    Thanks Simon:
    Unfortunately that’s one I know, but my fingers betray me every time :)

  13. Simon Says:

    Are you using Ultramon?

  14. Jayson Says:

    I am using Ultramon. Would that have something to do with it?

  15. Randy Dyck Says:

    It was the Excel Patch KB958437 that disabled using OLEDB to write to an excel document. Right after I removed that patch everything worked as before. Thanks for the help.

    from: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vsto/thread/2bc297b5-a5ab-4f3b-b98e-8d7209192522

  16. Randy Dyck Says:

    Apparently, rather than uninstalling the offending hotfix, there is a new one released Feb.24 – KB967699 – which restores the functionality of Excel xlsb to OLEDB transfers while keeping the new Excel code:


  17. Randy Dyck Says:

    one more note:


  18. Excel 2007 screen / video issues « Smurf on Spreadsheets Says:

    […] I discussed disappearing workbooks on open here. I have only seen reports of this on multi screen setups. If you maximise the Excel window it will […]

  19. akuma Says:

    Hello everyone … just FYI if nothing else works check to see if the workbook is protected – then unprotect it in excel 2003 or 2007 and you should be fine.

  20. gypcjes Says:

    Yes, I am having this issue right now and it is driving me CRAZY! Every excel doc I go to and open is just a blue screen. I have to click around, minimize, maximize and then the “hidden” worksheet will finally appear. This just started happening to me yesterday. I must have accidentally changed some setting. I think it was somewhere in the freeze panes, split window, view thingy box. I am new to 2007 so I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to freeze panes. Now every time I open a new workbook it stays inside the current excel window. I used to be able to open many excel windows at once. Now they just keep piling on top of each other. It makes it very difficult to multi-task. I hope someone can PLEASE help me with this. I work for a big college and I had our computer people here and still have no answers.


  21. Brad Says:

    Thank you. That was immensely frustrating and I thought I had lost vital data.

  22. Lois Says:

    My copy of the “invisible” document showed up when I clicked on the Office Button (the big circle) in Excel. Another user did have same problems and was using dual monitors but this user was not. Very strange!

  23. Sandra Says:

    The most helpful answer I found to this problem, which I also had, was the one which talked about split view of spreadsheets. I can now view mine every time by opening any other spreadsheet, going to window, arrange, horizontal and then selecting the one I need and changing it to full screen.

  24. Brenton Says:

    I fixed the problem!!!! Go to c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\xlstart\ and delete the file pdfmaker or pdfcreator, or something like that. If you are working with roaming profiles you will need to do the same under c:\documents and settings\username\application data\microsoft\excel\xlstart\

    Delte this file from both locations.

  25. Greg Says:

    Ok guys this is really simple to recover from. The window is minimized off you viewable screen.
    Open the file .
    Got to view
    Click the arrange windows button
    check the box that says “Windows of active workbook
    click ok
    data is there


  26. Simon Says:

    Soz, I should have updated the post or comment to point to other possible reasons/fixes
    here is one
    Similar to Gregs point – that wb is off the visible area somewhere

  27. Jeff Vandehey Says:

    Wow, this was odd. I had the same issue. Once I opened a file, I could hit the Office Button to make my worksheet appear. I eneded up deleting c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\xlstart\pdfmaker. This worked for me. Thanks to Brenton for the suggestion.

  28. Lisa Says:

    Brenton is the only one on this page that had useful information. Thanks Brenton you fixed my annoyance:

    I fixed the problem!!!! Go to c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\xlstart\ and delete the file pdfmaker or pdfcreator, or something like that. If you are working with roaming profiles you will need to do the same under c:\documents and settings\username\application data\microsoft\excel\xlstart\

    Delete this file from both locations.

  29. FvdWel Says:

    Brenton’s solution is the right one! Check c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\xlstart\ and look for xla files. This file must me deleted or initiated correct. Thanks for the solution

  30. NotGeniusBar Says:

    I had this problem. The spreadsheet did the calculations and I could access the macros, but the spreadsheet was nowhere to be seen.

    Turned out I had been sloppy when writing my macros and forgotten to negate a ActiveWindow.Visible = False with a “True”.

    The solution was to simply to go to the Excel menu Window >> Unhide while the file was open but not showing.

    But I spent a good hour complaining about Microsoft before realising it was my own fault.


  31. Bob Phillips Says:

    @NotGeniusBar – we’ve all been there, but having a good rant at MS does at least make us feel better :)

  32. Simon Says:

    You know they did some research that show swearing really can reduce the pain felt?
    Perhaps they need to look at whether cursing MS, or other vendor of your choice, helps in debugging your own code?

  33. Rich Says:

    “C:\program files\microsoft office\office12\excel.exe” /e “%1”
    in the excel open dialog fixed this

  34. Gas Says:

    I’ve read all your comments but, for a newbie as me, didn’t help. So, i’m trying to submit my problem:
    I’m new to Office 2007. No problm installing, worked good for a couple of days.
    Today, I opened a worksheet that I use 3 or 4 times a day and poof, Excel opens but no trace of my worksheet.
    I closed Excel and got a message asking if I want to keep the changes ( can’t change anything, don’t see the worksheet !!!! )
    I opened another one, wich was fine and tried to see the first one, no way.
    I tried different views, nothing to do.
    Then, trying to save the problem worksheet on another name, I can’t, the sheet doesn’t look open but, again, closing Excel, asks me if I want to keep the changes.
    I’m really going crazy with that matter. Never had any problem with that worksheet when working on good old Office 2003.
    Can somebody help ?
    Thanks in advance.

  35. Simon Says:

    check the view tab to see if your wb is hidden. try view arrange too

    and try this stuff
    let us know how you get on

  36. Andrew Says:

    Ahh dude, thanks for the workaround. I was really stuck for a while =).

  37. Tony Says:

    I have the fail to open problem with Excel 2000 (in XP) so it’s been around a long time. I get the Excel window box and toolbars, but the worksheet doesn’t draw. But the worksheet appears when I View-FullScreen! Then a second View-FullScreen to return to normal display and everything is OK. Not a permanent fix, but a simple work-around.

  38. Jc1305a Says:

    I have seen this quite a bit as well. What I found to work on a XP computer is to rename the windows profile and create a new one.

  39. kristin Says:

    The “arrange all” option worked perfectly. Thank you!

  40. Kevin Finn Says:

    If it helps, I found another way trigger and then fix this issue.

    I was migrating from Excel 2003 to Excel 2007. This problem occurs if you just copy Excel 2003’s Personal.xls into your Excel 2007 XLSTART directory.

    I fixed the problem by:
    – exporting modules from Personal.xls
    – removing Personal.xls
    – creating a new Excel 2007 personal workbook (Personal.xlsb)
    – reimporting modules into Personal.xlsb

    Not sure if just plopping in Personal.xls is really supported in Excel 2007, so possibly this was user error.

  41. KevDoginCA Says:

    Hi All!

    We are having a similar issue with one particular Excel document. I’ve read all the replies and solutions.

    I have many users that access this document. On most it opens normally. But on a couple it opens up off screen and one of them is our Executive Director. She is concerned that when we send this file to others, that it will behave this way.

    So, here are my questions in regards to this;

    1) Is this caused by the End User computer’s excel preferences?

    2) If we delete the pdfmaker files, will that kill the ability to create pdf’s from Excel?

    3) Is there a way to fix this in the source (the excel document in question) to make sure this does not happen when it is sent to others? Does the original person delete their pdfmaker files then re-save this document and send?

    Thank you all in advance!

  42. Armando Says:

    I run into this problem several times and I keep forgetting what the solution is…for my latest, click on VIEW tab and then ARRANGE ALL…good luck!

  43. osssman Says:

    Go View, arrange all and select tiled – they re-appear then!

  44. Virendra Velingkar Says:

    Just create new excel file and try to copy any one blank sheet before/after the hidden sheet from new file in into file which has problem. That solves Microsoft bug…..

  45. Abhra Says:

    Close the excel file. Open a blank excel file and try to use Open workbook functionality. Browse and open the same file again. It worked for me. Hope this works for you!

  46. Isabel Says:

    The same thing just happend to me right now and what I did was go to VIEW then I selected ARRANGE ALL selected TILE and now I can see my worksheets again. I was messing with some VBA which would allow me to load information from this workbook without the user seeing it and when I had tried accessing the information the sheets weren’t visible. Hopefully this helps you out.

  47. Richard R Says:

    Hi had a similar issue, If u try everything they say hear and it doesn’t work then your problem is like mines.
    Step 1: Select Home or press Alt + F
    Step 2: Select Excel Options
    Step 3: Go to Addins
    Step 3b: Under the active addins if u see type document inspector running that is your culprit he has locked up your excel
    Step 4: Watch the location path of the file navigate to it and delete it
    Step 5: Retry the file and it will work

  48. de210 Says:

    Thank you people, this has been bugging me for weeks! I’m using a multi-screen setup as others have found and the problem exists in Excel 2003 too, I think it’s to do with if you had Excel open over two screens and saved the file when it was ‘restored’ in the second screen, followed by closing it.

    My solution in Excel 2003 was:
    -Open the problem file
    -Open a new workbook
    -‘Restore’ the new workbook so as it isn’t full screen
    -Right click the top bar of the new workbook, select Arrange –> tiled
    -The problem workbook appears!

    You can then maximise it and save it, and it will open normally next time :)

    It still bugs out when restoring on it’s own though, unless you move it to your main screen and save it. Excel is annoying!

  49. rlo Says:

    awsome, this works for me!


  50. Rob K Says:

    Have encountered this problem a number of times…..

    Mainly, it’s a problem caused by people working with dual Monitors. A user opens the workbook, re-arranges their windows, so as to view it on their right hand monitor, and then closes/saves it again.
    A subsequent user then opens the workbook on a single monitor, which views from the left and so the workbook appears invisible becasue it now sits to the right of their viewable area.

    1. Therefore, if you are faced with this problem, the the first thing to try is the “VIEW tab and then ARRANGE” method as described above.

    2. If there is still a problem or if Excel will not allow you t o do this, check the file directory, to see if there is an excel temp file that is locking behaviour. You should notice it quite easily, as the name will start with ” ~..” and contain the same workbook name.

    3. The next main culprit for this problem is that the workbook is actually hidden. so, click on and check the Display options.

    4. Still no luck? — advanced excel users should look to the vba. The next likely culprit is an error in the vba code, such as on such as a Hide Workbook on Close. (Check the workbook properties to see if the workbook is hidden) [In response to KevDog – your only solution is to write vba On Open code that mimics Step 1]

    5. If all else fails, try disabling any active Add-ins that may be causing the problem.

    (Finally, I have no experience of the pdf problem described by Brenton (above) but it’s worth a try, particularly if your problem occurs when working with xlsb (Excel binary files).

    Hope that helps.


  51. Sridhar Says:

    Eurekha! Solution found… This happens when the workbook is hidden…

    Go to the View Tab and look for the “Unhide” workbook.

    The workbook came up.

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  53. Michael Says:

    Maybe found the fix? — I just ran into the viewing problem, where everything is blank, but you can see cell contents in the formula bar… I thought it was a compatibility issue etc. I don’t know why it happens, but I do know how I was able to easily fix the problem. Select all cells by clicking top left of sheet or CTRL+A. Locate the ‘Cells’ section on the toolbar under the home Tab. (in between Styles & editing) – Click the Format button, then in the drop-down, select Hide & Unhide – then Unhide Columns/rows/sheet as they apply. Fixed it for me.

    I believe this problem was generated by an excel document that was created in earlier versions of excel, and opened in compatibility view.

    Hope this helps.

  54. Rob Says:

    Another irritating Microsoft “feature” – Arrange Windows appears to offer a consistent and quick work-around…but it is JUST a work-around!

    A permanent fix would be appreciated. Helloooooo MS, anyone home???

  55. David B Lyon Says:

    I am experiencing this same problem but none of the solutions posted here have permanently fixed the problem.

    Once I’ve open a spreadsheet I can make it appear by simply switching to another screen and when I switch back the spreadsheet appears.

  56. TTTT Says:

    Thanks, saved my spreadsheet!

  57. dan Says:

    thanks, it did the trick…thank you so much!!!

  58. CaptMitch Says:

    Arrange windows worked. I think I had a version of the 2 monitors problem. I am working with 2 computers while I transition off the older to the newer one. The older, which had the problem, with one workbook, has a screen which uses a lower resolution. When I saw that the same file was fine on the Win7 computer I realized what was going on (the sheet was “off screen”) but couldn’t fix it until I Googled the problem and came here. Still, this is stupid behavior, all too typical of MS.

  59. Chris Says:

    This happened to me today and really got on my nerves. I have dual monitors, however this has never been a problem in the past. Also, it was one specific spreadsheet (it had macros in it) that would not display. I did find that if I open another spreadsheet, maximize it, click on the “View” tab, then switch windows to the invisible spreadsheet, it would then appear in maximize mode only. This was simply not good enough for me…

    My remedy was to open an empty excel spreadsheet with the invisible one already open. Click on the “View” tab, then click on the button “View Side by Side”. Once I did this, the invisible spreadsheet became visible in non-maximized mode and everything appears to be back to normal.

    What an annoying day…

  60. Richard Says:

    Just happened to me too with an inadvertant keystroke. Thought I’d lost everything!!! Opened file up, but nothing was visible inside the Excel window (ie not even a blank sheet)
    Turned out, the workbook window was hidden. On the “View” tab, in the “Window” section, there is a “Hide” and an “Unhide” button. These control the whole sheet window.

  61. Craig Says:

    The way I fixed it for me was to click the “View” tab, then in the ‘window’ area click the “Arrange All” button and when the ‘Arrange Windows’ box pops up select ‘Tiled’ and click “OK”. The worksheet pops up where I can see it and maximize it like normal. Then the important thing was to save it before closing so that I wouldn’t have this problem again. Hope this makes sense and works for eveyone.

  62. Felix Atagong Says:

    I receive a daily file per mail from a client and this behaviour really drove me nuts. The weird thing is that on one PC the Excel page would be invisible, but on a second PC (identical to the first one!) the page would be visible. The ‘View’ – Arrange All did the trick. Thanks.

  63. Ken Fenske Says:

    Click “Arrange All”. The spreadsheet is outside the viewable area and this fixes it.

  64. Web User Says:

    ONLY SOLUTION THAT WORKED!!! I am using Excel 2013 for windows. None of the above fixes worked. Believe me, I tried all of the above fixes and read through every post. But this one worked. I clicked on “Hide” three times until it was greyed out. Then I clicked unhide to unhide window 1, And window 1 appeared!

    You can now click unhide to unhide window 2. Then close window 2 and save. Close it by clicking the red “X” in the top right hand corner. When you open the file again, you will only see Window 1. I’m not suggesting this is a better fix than the others. This was the only fix! The other “fixes” did not work at all!

    • Web User Says:

      To clarify my solution above, the “window 2” that I am referring to is a new window I created as follows: I clicked on View | New Window to create a new window 2. I created a window 2 because that’s what the original solution suggestion—but it didn’t work.

      It may not have even been necessary to even create a new window 2. It might have worked just by clicking “Hide” until it was greyed out. I say “might” have worked because I don’t know how to re-create the problem to try an alternative solution without creating a second window. It would be great if someone can figure out the cause of the problem to begin with. I don’t believe in the multiple-monitor theory because I have only one monitor.

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