For about a week now, I experienced an issue when double-clicking on Excel spreadsheets to load them in Microsoft Excel 2016. Excel would open as expected, but instead of loading the selected spreadsheet, the application opened a blank document instead.
More precisely, it did not open a spreadsheet at all, not even a blank one, but displayed no document in its interface.
I tried different documents stored in different locations, and opening a document after loading one manually, but all efforts returned the grayish no-document loaded interface. Most interface options are disabled in that mode on top of that.
Excel functioned normally afterwards. I could drag and drop spreadsheets, even the one that Excel 2016 would not open, and it would display fine, and file load operations worked as well.
It was clear that "something" was blocking the selected document from being loaded correctly.
As is the case with troubleshooting, there is no single fits-it-all solution available. This guide lists multiple solutions. I suggest you apply one after the other, and check each time you made a change whether it resolved the blank document issue in Excel 2016.
The solutions are sorted by simplicity and likeliness.
Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is not a new feature, as it was introduced by Microsoft in Windows 2.0 back in 1987. It has been superseded largely by other features, but it is still a part of any version of Windows.
The main functionality of DDE is the sharing of data between Windows programs. When users double-click on an Excel spreadsheet document in Explorer for instance, a DDE message is sent to Excel provided that Excel is the associated with the file type.
If DDE is disabled in Excel, Excel won't open spreadsheets that you double-click in Explorer, even if it is the default file handler.
Here is how you check the setting:
These two options are rather easy to check. You can hide Excel documents in Excel, and when you do, all you see is a blank document panel instead of the actual spreadsheet document.
To check this, select View from the menu, and make sure the "unhide" option under Window is not enabled.
You may also want to try and enable fullscreen mode with a click on the Excel window icon, and return to regular mode afterwards.
Excel add-ins may interfere with the loading of documents. You can check whether that is the case in the following way:
This is another option that is easy to check.
Resetting Excel's file associations is another fix that may work for you. How you do that depends on the operating system that you run.
Windows 8 and 10
Microsoft Office 2016 comes with two repair options. The first runs a local (quick) repair attempt, the second an online repair. Please note that you may be asked to re-enter the Office product ID and authenticate the product again if you run an online Office repair.
I suggest you start with the quick repair and see if it resolves the document loading issue in Excel. If it does not, you may try the online repair option, but remember to have your product key at hand when you do as you may need it.
There are a couple of other things admins and users may try to resolve the issue. One is to find out if any recent software installation or update of Windows happened around the same time the issue started.
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