Unwanted Files Open Automatically When Excel Starts

image Are there files that Excel opens automatically, every time you start Excel? Something changed in your computer, and Excel files are opening automatically, and you want to get rid of them. Keep reading, to see where those files might be located, and how to stop them from opening.

Stop files from opening automatically in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010

To stop files that automatically open in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010, you can remove a folder name in the Excel options:

  • Click the Office Button, then click Excel Options (In Excel 2010, click the File tab, then click Options)
  • Click the Advanced category, and scroll down to the General section.
  • In the box for 'At startup, open all files in', you might see the name of a folder, and its path
  • Clear the folder information from that box (or go to that folder and remove the unwanted files).
  • Click OK, to close the Excel Options dialog box.


Check the XLSTARTUP Folders

If there was nothing listed in the Startup box, the unwanted files might have been accidentally saved to one of the XLSTART folders.

  • C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12XLSTART   (for Excel 2007)
  • C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14XLSTART   (for Excel 2010)
  • C:Documents and SettingsUser nameApplication DataMicrosoftExcelXLSTART

In Windows Explorer, go to those folders, and remove the unwanted files, to prevent them from opening automatically when Excel starts.

Check for Add-Ins

Thanks to Sarah, who commented below. She discovered that her unwanted file had been installed as an add-in. Here's how she fixed it:

"When I moved the file to a different folder, it wouldn't open but I would get an error every time I opened Excel saying that if couldn't find that file. I finally fixed it by going to Options -> Add-Ins -> Manage (Go...) and I saw that file had been created as an add in. From here, I deleted it, and it's working perfectly."

Stop files from opening automatically in Excel 2003 and earlier versions

For earlier versions of Excel, there are instructions in the Contextures Excel FAQs: When I start Excel, why do a million files open up automatically?

More Ways to Prevent Files from Opening

You can also use a command-line switch, or the Esc key, to stop files from opening automatically. For more details on how to block files from opening automatically, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article: How to prevent files from opening automatically in Excel.

For help with troubleshooting other problems when starting Excel, see Jan Karel Pieterse's article: Startup Problems.


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49 Responses

  1. Amaresh says:

    Issue:- when I open excel it is opening with 3 different files.

    I have tried with the steps mentioned above, I found there is no files mentioned either in startup files in excel advance option or in the XLSTART folder the folder is empty, how to handle this issue further?

  2. somesh says:

    Excellent. It worked for me

  3. abramo says:

    Many thanks — this worked for me

  4. pcavers says:

    The above did not work, but i solved this the following way. Open a new Excel. From the unwanted file, select File > Save As> take note of the file location. Use Windows Explorer to locate the file and either delete it or move it to a different location. From this method I identified another location similar to those listed above: C:Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART\

  5. Neal says:

    PCSAVERS Solution worked. My xlstart folder was in this location. I have Excel 2007.

    So if all else fails or even if it does not you can find this folder by doing the file/save as function.

  6. Richard says:

    Still having trouble. I have a file that always opens on the launch of Excel 2010. I can click File > Open File Location and see that the folder is not an XLSTART folder, but just an ordinary location on a networked drive.

    I confirmed that the ‘At startup, open all files in’ entry is blank. I even replaced it with the folder location and the file opened twice.

    I tried changing the file name but Excel evidently still tried to open the file (and now fails). I wonder if I have accidentally set Excel up to us a macro that means it needs to open the file? I’ll inverstigate further…

  7. Dorron Margalit says:

    Neither these nor any other answer anywhere on the web has been able to help me stop a blank workbook from also opening when I open an existing file.

    – All instances of XLSTART are empty (no hidden files either)
    – I’ve even tried appending the “/e” to the target (in Excel properties)
    – Also, the “At startup, open all files in:” box in Options>Advanced>General is empty

    I open 50 to 100 files throughout a day and every time I do I have to manually close the blank “book1” file that also opens. I’ve asked on multiple forums.

    Please help. It’s driving me crazy.



    • JeffUrq says:

      dorron margalit


      Username is your username…

      delete any folders in here, should be blank except for the .xlb file

  8. LollyShu says:

    Dorron, the only thing that helped me was to try the ‘sneak up on it’ method from pcavers — when “book1” opens, click on ‘save as’ to see where in your computer/system it is saved so that you can then navigate to that location and delete it. Good luck – I know how absolutely maddening the situation is!

    • Andre says:

      Hi LollyShu, WOW thx, your comment helped me, I’ve done everything to get Rid of two unwanted files (Pasta1 & Pasta2) so I read your comment, well it worked. THANK YOU.

  9. jarrod says:

    THANK YOU! wish I knew how it happened in the first place, but this helped a user out tremendously. J

  10. Joel says:

    I am having the exact same issue as Dorron. I’ve tried all of the steps, but no success. When I do the “Save As” trick, it just opens up the My Documents folder.

    Anyone else have any suggestions? Dorron, have you found a solution?

  11. Joel says:

    Finally found solution today. I had installed an Add-in for some additional Excel functions. Once I removed the Add-in the problem went away!

    • Charlie says:

      Searched every forum and tried every trick. Turns out it was an Add-in. Unchecked each Add-In separately and reopened to figure out which one. Removing it did the trick. Thanks.

  12. Resolved! says:

    Thank you – don’t know where the problem came from, but this was my solution!

  13. SMCC says:

    What was the add-in?

  14. Angela says:

    I tried all of the above and still have the problem with excel opening an unwanted file, I have located it to XLSTART but if I delete it from there then a macro that I regularly use no longer works as it can’t find it because I deleted it!! so I have to put it back for my macro to work but having the annoyance of excel opening up a sheet before I even do anything!! frustrating :(

  15. Lynda Maynard says:

    Angela – have you tried copying that macro over into your personal macros? And it that is the workbook that keeps opening up, then you probably just need to hide it.

  16. arvind kumar says:


  17. Sarah says:

    I was having this problem, and none of these solutions were working. When I moved the file to a different folder, it wouldn’t open but I would get an error every time I opened Excel saying that if couldn’t find that file. I finally fixed it by going to Options -> Add-Ins -> Manage (Go…) and I saw that file had been created as an add in. From here, I deleted it, and it’s working perfectly.

  18. George Skelton says:

    I tried everything above and nothing worked for me (Excel 2010). Here’s what I resorted to. A couple of pre-requisites:

    1) You need to have a .xlam (excel add-in) which loads automatically on Excel start-up. I had one anyway (containing all my VBA utilities), but if you don’t then you need to create one. Here’s Chip Perason’s guide: http://www.cpearson.com/excel/createaddin.aspx

    2) You need to understand about Application Events. Here’s the Chipmeister again:

    Once you have an Application object which is automatically loaded in memory, then all you need to do is enter the following line of code in the _NewWorkbook(ByVal wb as Workbook) module of the Application object:

    If wb.Name = “Book1” Then wb.close False

    The first workbook that xl automtically opens always seems to be called Book1, so that takes care of that. And then when you open a new blank workbook later that you actually want, it will be called “Book2” (since Book1 was used before) and it won’t get closed by the above line.

  19. Sidd says:

    Thanks pcavers best option is yours easy one. Click on the default opening file->save as and capture the location. Open it in a different folder and delete the contents and hoola its done.

  20. Acr32 says:

    In my computer it was fault in regeditor..
    Go to: HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-3298242413-1472053370-2507520255-13207\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\options
    Look in Open11, it shold be /R “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Library\Analysis\ATPVBAEN.XLAM”

  21. RMac says:

    Thank you pcavers, it worked like a charm.

  22. mara says:

    I had this issue, and resolved it by deleting the unwanted file from this location (as opposed to the one in the article above):


  23. sahba says:

    Simply Brilliant.

  24. Kathryn says:

    Can someone tell me how to do this for MAC with Office? This seems to be PC only.

  25. Peter says:

    Problem solved. Thank you!

  26. Alex says:

    Thanks, Mara – your solution solved my problem!
    I had this issue, and resolved it by deleting the unwanted file from this location (as opposed to the one in the article above):


  1. March 28, 2013

    […] Here is a link to the site I pulled these wonderfully written directions from: http://blog.contextures.com/archives/2010/08/18/unwanted-files-open-automatically-when-excel-starts/ […]

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