Excel: Send Error Reports

This page is an advertiser-supported excerpt of the book, Power Excel 2010-2013 from MrExcel - 567 Excel Mysteries Solved. If you like this topic, please consider buying the entire e-book.

Problem: I keep getting a fatal error on a particular workbook.

Strategy: If Excel crashes and offers you the chance to report the problem, please do so: All you have to do is click Send Error Report. Millions of people are using Excel, and if everyone reports their errors, Microsoft will get a good statistical picture of the errors.

Sending an error report is particularly important if you are using a new version of the program or have recently installed a service pack.

If you keep getting a particular crash, check the Microsoft Knowledge Base. One version of Excel would crash about three steps after you had used the Edit, Find command in Excel. By the time I realized the trend, Microsoft had acknowledged the problem and offered a hotfix that was downloadable from the Knowledge Base.

After you send an error report, Excel will reopen and offer to load the last version of your workbook. You might also have the choice to open previously saved versions of the workbook.

There are certain things that I know will cause Excel to crash. For instance, in Excel 2003, I added a cell comment in the GPF.xls workbook and then ran a simple Excel macro to delete all the shapes on the worksheet. When I got the cell pointer near the red triangle in the commented cell, Excel tried to display the comment shape. Because the macro had already deleted the shape, Excel 2003 crashed with a GPF. I reported this error, and the behavior was fixed in Excel 2007, so this problem no longer causes a crash.

Sometimes, particularly in Excel 2000 and earlier versions, I would encounter spreadsheets that had simply become corrupt. I was able to open these worksheets, but if I tried to use File, Close or File, Save, Excel would crash. I learned that the following sequence would save the data:

  1. Open the corrupt workbook.
  2. Create a new blank workbook.
  3. Copy data from the bad workbook to the new workbook.
  4. Use File, Save As to save the new workbook.
  5. Close the new workbook.
  6. Close the corrupt workbook, knowing it will crash. You can then use the saved version of the new workbook without having it crash.