This article describes how to prevent files from
automatically opening when you start Microsoft
When you start Excel, all the files that are located in the XLStart folder are automatically opened. This behavior occurs regardless of the type of file. Additionally, if you specified an alternative startup folder for Excel, every file in that folder is also automatically opened. To specify an alternative startup folder, in Microsoft Office Excel 2003, click Options
on the Tools
menu, and then click the
Microsoft Office Excel 2007, click the Microsoft Office Button, click
, click the Advanced
then locate the General
section. In Microsoft Office Excel 2010, click the File
menu, click Options
, click the Advanced
tab, and then locate the General
This behavior may cause Excel to stop responding or this behavior may cause Excel to take a long time to start if either of the following conditions is true:
- The files in either startup folder are not valid Excel
- The files are stored on a network drive that has a slow network connection
How to prevent files from automatically opening in Excel
Use one of the following methods to manually prevent files
from automatically opening when you start Excel.
Remove files from the XLStart folder and from the alternative startup folders
To remove files from the XLStart folder and from the alternative
startup folders, follow these steps:
1. Start Excel.
2. Follow the path to the options menu based on which version of Excel you are using.
On the Tools Menu, click Options, and then click the General tab.
Click the Microsoft Office Button, Click Excel Options, click the Advanced menu, locate the General section.
Click File, click Options, Click the Advanced menu, locate the General section.
Start Excel in safe mode
When you start Excel, any files that are located in the XLStart folders or the alternative startup folder start to open. To prevent the files in these locations from opening when you start Excel, you can start Excel in safe mode. Starting Excel in safe mode prevents all Excel add-ins, toolbar customizations, and startup folders from loading when Excel is started. You can use a command-line switch to start Excel in safe mode or you can use the CTRL key.
To start Excel
in safe mode, hold down the CTRL key while you start Excel. You will receive
the following message:
Excel has detected that you are holding down the CTRL key. Do you want to start Excel in Safe mode?
If you click Yes
, Excel starts in safe mode.
You can then clear the alternative startup location as described earlier. In all versions of Excel, you can use a command-line switch to start Excel in safe mode.
Use Command-line switches
If there are files in the XLStart folder or in the alternative startup folder that you do not want to open when Excel starts, and you do not want to move the files to a different folder, you can use command-line switches to prevent the files from opening. Both the /safe
switch and the /automation
switch can be used for this purpose. Note
switch starts Excel in safe mode. The /automation
switch disables all automatically opened files and auto-run
To use a command-line switch to start Excel, follow these
- Click Start, and then click
- In the Open box, type either of the
- Click OK.
If Microsoft Windows Installer starts when you use one of these
command-lines switches, click Cancel
to finish starting Excel.
Press the ESCAPE key
When you start Excel, any files that are located in the XLStart
folder or in the alternative startup folder start to open. You can press ESCAPE
after the files start to open to prevent any additional files from opening.
When you press ESCAPE, you may receive one or both of the following messages:
Would you like to cancel opening all files from your Alternate Startup File Location?
Would you like to cancel opening all files from your XLStart Location?
If you click Yes
in either message, Excel starts
without opening any additional files from the startup locations. Note
Do not hold the ESCAPE key. If you do this, the messages will be
closed before you can click Yes
For more information about Excel startup folders, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
How to use startup folders in Excel 2003
Task pane disappears when you start Excel