Run Excel safely

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

Q: I am using Windows 7, and I have installed several Excel add-ins (Analysis ToolPak, Solver, PowerPivot, Power View, Inquire, and QuickBooks Excel Report Updater). Unfortunately, these add-ins make Excel launch much slower. I don’t always need to use these add-ins, so I’d like to know if there is a way to launch Excel without loading these add-ins so that it launches quicker. ( Note: The QuickBooks Report Updater add-in the reader mentioned installs from QuickBooks when the Intuit Statement Writer is used for the first time.)

A: To launch Excel faster without loading any add-ins, use the Windows Run command, and be sure to add the “ /s” switch at the end of that command. Here’s how:

Launch the Windows Run dialog box in Windows 7 by selecting the Windows Start button, All Programs, Accessories, and Run. Then type excel /s (be sure to include the space) in the Run dialog box and select OK, as pictured. ( Note: The Run option may appear on the All Programs menu or elsewhere, depending on your specific Windows 7 edition or based on setting changes you made to the Start menu.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(To launch the Run dialog box in Windows 8, select Apps, press Windows Logo Key + F, type run, click the Search button, and then select Run from the search results.) The resulting icon will launch Excel very fast, almost instantly on my computer.

If you plan to launch Excel without add-ins frequently, you should probably create a shortcut icon for quick access to this functionality, as follows.

1. Locate the Excel application file. Press Windows Logo Key + E to launch File Explorer (in Windows 8, or Windows Explorer in previous editions of Windows), and in the upperright corner search for Excel. Then in the Type column, click the Type dropdown arrow and check the box labeled Application, as pictured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(If you installed Excel using the default settings, it should appear in a folder path similar to the following: C:UsersCarlton Microsoft Office 15rootoffice15).

2. Send the application to the Desktop. In File Explorer (or Windows Explorer), right-click the application and, from the popup menu, select Send to, Desktop (create shortcut), as pictured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Edit the shortcut. On your Desktop, right-click on the shortcut, and, from the pop-up menu, select Properties. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, in the Target field, add a space followed by /s at the end of the target path, as pictured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Rename the shortcut. On your Desktop, right-click on the shortcut, and, from the pop-up menu select Rename, and then enter a new name such as Excel without Add-ins.

5. Add shortcut to Quick Launch (author’s recommendation). Because I use the Quick Launch toolbar to launch my most frequent applications, I would then click and drag the new icon to my Quick Launch toolbar and position it next to my Excel icon; this way I have the choice to launch Excel with or without addins, according to my specific needs (as pictured below).

 

 

 

Note: Be aware that this procedure launches Excel in Safe Mode, which means Excel will be subject to the following restrictions:

  1. Any options you previously set will not be applied, and while in Safe Mode, Excel’s options cannot be changed or saved.
  2. Toolbar and command bar customizations are not loaded, and customizations cannot be saved.
  3. AutoCorrect is not loaded.
  4. Recovered documents are not automatically opened.
  5. Documents with restricted permissions cannot be created or opened.
  6. Templates cannot be saved.
  7. Additional features and programs are not automatically loaded.
  8. If you are using Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer, the last used website is not opened.
  9. If you are using Microsoft SharePoint Workspace, synchronization, awareness, notification, messaging, and task scheduler are disabled.

 

 

 

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