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Excel 2007 Problem: Solved!

By Brian | March 31, 2009 | Share on Facebook

I’ve been using MSOffice 2007 for a few weeks now, and while I’m generally pleased with the enhancements it brings, there was one bug in MSExcel that was driving me crazy.

When I opened an Excel file (.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm), Excel would launch, but the file wouldn’t appear. Instead, I’d see just an empty MDI frame (the Excel title bar and menus, but without any spreadsheet on the screen). I quickly discovered, through trial and error, that I could get the spreadsheet to open by choosing “Open” from the Office icon menu, and then clicking “Cancel” when the Open dialog box came up. This was, however, equal parts weird and annoying, and could not be the best answer to the problem.

Today, I got around to Googling it. As I suspected, others have had the same problem, and have suggested several possible solutions. One was to disable one or more suspicious add-ins, but I had none of the supposed culprits on my machine. The idea did get me thinking, though – the add-ins I did have (both of which were self-made), were in Excel 2003 format (.xla). Excel 2007 creates add-in files with a .xlam extension. Also, I’ve had several minor problems with Excel 2007/Excel 2003 compatibility issues in the past. Maybe the .xla format is the problem?

That solution turned out to be the right one. It also explains why others may find that disabling a certain add-in made the problem go away. Therefore, I’m pretty sure I’ve identified the problem.

So, to make the problem go away, you need to convert your .xla add-ins to .xlam. Here are the detailed instructions:

There you go – problem solved (hopefully). If you have any questions, comments, updates, or corrections, feel free to post them in the comments below.

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