Excel: Open file, blank window – Change Resolution

A user will occasionally call up saying that an Excel file won’t open.  In this particular instance (through some interrogating), what happens is that the user opens the file, Excel opens, but it looks like the file itself did not open; the background of Excel is visible, along with the ribbon, but you don’t see any cell at all.  You can close Excel and re-open as much as you want, but you’ll get the same results.

What you need to do is change the resolution and the window will appear within Excel, but the window is not maximized.  Once the resolution is changed, maximize the window within Excel and you can change the resolution back.

My theory on this is that someone else was working on the file with the window inside Excel not maximized, and they have a different resolution.  When the person with said issue opens the file, the window is in “Restored” mode, but off the screen.  Changing the resolution (for some reason) seems to move the window to a visible portion of the Excel instance.

This was a problem that was extremely bothersome and really hard to research.  How I found the solution was because one user had a terribly low resolution that was bugging the crap out of me, so I minimized Excel, changed the resolution, and then switched back to Excel.  Low and behold, there was the file’s contents.


  • Windows 7 (so far, I’ve only seen this on 32-bit)
  • Excel 2007 (I don’t ever recall this with 2003 or 2002/XP)