Fixes or workarounds for recent issues in Excel for Windows

Last updated: October 2016

Excel crashes and slow performance

Customers reported that after installing KB3118373, some Excel 2016 workbooks stopped responding and returned the error “Microsoft Excel has stopped working”. Due to the severe outcome, we have stopped further release of KB3118373, update for Excel 2016. If you have already installed this patch please uninstall it. You can reference the uninstall information here.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. The fix for this regression as well as other fixes in KB3118373 will be included in the next public update for Excel 2016.

When opening an Office application, you may see the following error message:

"Microsoft Office cannot find your license for this application. A repair attempt was unsuccessful or cancelled. Microsoft Office will now close."

Important: This error appears if you have this Office 2016 build: 16.0.7167.2040. If you don’t have this specific version and you’re getting this error, or you’re getting a different error, we recommend you create a new post. To check your Office version, choose the Uninstall a program option in the Windows Control Panel, find your Office program in the list, and check the version number.

This licensing issue has been resolved in Office 2016 version 16.0.7167.2055 or later. To get the latest update, please run an online repair of Office 2016:

  1. Restart your computer. Don’t open any Office applications when you’re back on your desktop.

  2. Run an online repair of Office from the Control Panel.

    Important: Please choose the Online Repair option instead of Quick Repair. If you run Quick Repair, the latest build version doesn’t get installed.

  3. Restart the computer again and open the Office application.

  4. Click File > Account, and verify the Office version under Office Updates in the Product Information section. It should be a newer version than 16.0.7167.2040.

If you’ve done the above step and you continue to get the same error message, please do the following:

  • Choose the Uninstall a program option in the Windows Control Panel, find your Office program, and check the Office version.

  • If the Office version isn’t 16.0.7167.2040, create a new post on with the error you’re getting along with the exact Office build version.

When you try to open an .XLS or .XLSX file in Excel 2016, it does not recognize it as an Excel file and open it. Excel may not appear in the list of applications to choose from.

We have released a fix that should solve some of the root causes of this issue in the latest update for Office 2016, version 6965.2053 or later. To get the latest updates, click File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

If the issue is not solved in your computer by updating to the latest release of Excel, please try doing a Quick Repair of Excel. Refer to the instructions on how to do a Quick Repair for your operating system.

If any of the updates or quick repair don't solve this issue, please note that we are continuing to investigate other root causes that may have similar symptoms.

We’ve received reports from Office 365 subscribers who are having compatibility problems with Office 365 and Covenant Eyes software (version 7.2.10 or earlier). If you are using Covenant Eyes and installing the latest update of Office 365, you may receive the following error message during activation: “We couldn't contact the server. Please try again in a few minutes. (0x80072F8F)".

Covenant Eyes is working on a fix, currently in beta, version 7.2.11. For more information and how to obtain the beta, please visit this related post in their Covenant Eyes community: You can also view the Release Notes for Windows Beta Version.

Issues affecting Excel features and add-ins

On October 4th, 2016, we released an Office 2016 Click-to-Run update that included accessibility improvements to Office Form Controls. Unfortunately, these improvements also introduced an issue that causes form controls to display or work incorrectly in various situations, many of which have been reported in these forums. We are deeply aware of the importance of this functionality to our customers and are actively working on releasing a fix as soon as possible.

This issue affects Office 365 subscribers and Office 2016 perpetual customers who use Office desktop apps on a PC, and who have the September feature update installed. Office Insiders on the latest Slow and Fast builds will also experience the issue.

Customers whose companies use Windows Installer technology (MSI) to install volume license editions of Office 2016, such as Microsoft Office Professional Plus, are not affected. In addition, other platforms, including Office Online, are not affected.

Workaround: If you can't wait for the fix, you can revert to an earlier Click-to-Run update by following these steps in KB2770432. If you're a consumer customer on Current Channel (CC), revert to the August feature update, 16.0.7341.2035. If you're a commercial customer on First Release for Deferred Channel (FRDC), revert to the previous FRDC build, 16.0.6965.2084. For version and build history, see this article.

We are aware of an issue with Solver, caused by the initialization of Power Query and Power Pivot. We are working on a fix for this issue urgently. In the meantime, you might be able to get unblocked with the following workaround:

  1. Make sure Excel is not running.

  2. Start Excel.

  3. Open the Blank workbook template.

  4. Launch Solver (click the Solver button in the Data tab in the Ribbon).

  5. Set Objective: will be the active cell by default.

  6. Set the range in By Changing Variable Cells to the same string as is in Set Objective:.

  7. Click the Solve button.

  8. Close the Solver Results dialog.

  9. Open any other worksheet or workbook (do not close empty workbook first).

When using ClearType with the Windows Anniversary update, Excel column widths can be larger than in earlier versions of Windows. This happens in only some fonts, such as Calibri. It can affect all versions of Office 2016. Windows has released a fix, which you can get by installing Windows update KB3197954.

When you save an Excel 2016 file in XLS file format, and then reopen the file in 2016, it will not update all the conditional formatting rules.

We have released a fix for this issue in version 1609 (Build 7369.2024) or later. To update Office, go to File > Account > Update Options >Update Now

The Custom Lists dialog allows you to add sort filter lists, with multiple items entered using the Enter key between items. Recently, the Enter key stopped registering properly and does not function as expected. We have released a fix in 16.0.7341.2032. To get the latest updates, click File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

Workbooks that have multiple sheets containing list-based Data Validation sometimes can get corrupted or a drop-down list gets duplicated. This usually occurs when a user selects a cell with a Data Validation drop-down list on the first sheet, then switches to the second sheet, and finally selects the cell that had the Data Validation drop-down list on the first sheet. After saving the file, the cell on the second sheet will permanently show a "ghosted" Data Validation drop-down list (on all subsequent times the file is opened).

We have fixed this issue in the latest release for Office 2016 update 6965.2053 or later. To get the latest updates, click File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

Please note that the fix should stop new files from getting into the corrupted state. However, any files that were previously corrupted will need to be repaired.

To repair older corrupted files, delete and recreate the cells. You may copy to a new worksheet if individual cell recreation does not work.

You may experience issues with your Excel workbook incorrectly opening in Protected View. This issue usually occurs with the following steps:

  1. Open an old .XLS file format with a hyperlink inside it.

  2. Save the file as a .XLS on a Windows 10 machine.

  3. Workbook is now flagged as potentially harmful and when it is opened again on any machine it is now in “Protected View” state.

For Excel 2016, this issue is now fixed in the latest update Office 2016, version 16.0.6868.xxxx or later. To get the latest updates, click File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

For Excel 2013 and older, this issue is now fixed on the June 7th update, released via the Windows Update.

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