Microsoft Excel: Failure to launch

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. Recently, whenever I launch Excel, it no longer launches a blank workbook—only a blank screen appears (an example of which is pictured at right). How can I get Excel to open a new blank workbook upon launching the program?

A. Excel is opening a new blank workbook just fine, it's just that your workbook's worksheets are hidden. To correct this problem, from the View tab select Unhide. In the resulting Unhide dialog box, select the file labeled Book, and then click OK. Next, save the file as your default workbook as follows. From the File tab, select Save As, This PC, Documents; select Template from the Save as type box (this action will navigate the file save as location to the XLSTART folder); enter Book as the file name and click Save. Thereafter, this newly saved template will open by default whenever you launch Excel.

Bonus tip: While you are at it, you may also want to modify your file further before saving it as Excel's default template by inserting default footers with page numbers, changing the default font, adjusting column widths, adding more worksheets, turning off gridlines, and making other preference changes.


About the author

J. Carlton Collins ( is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2007 through 2016 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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