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Excel help! I have a table open, but it isn't visible

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Question: "Occasionally in Excel, I have a table open but it isn't visible. I know the table is open because the name bar tells me it is in cell A1, etc., and the formula bar tells me what is in that cell, but the screen is completely gray. You cannot see the table. I can move from cell to cell with my arrow keys, but I cannot see the table or cells on the screen. The only way to view the table is in full screen mode, which doesn't have the task bars available. Does anyone know what the problem is and how to fix it?" - Diana

This is not a frequent problem in Excel, but not unheard of either. There could be several reasons why it’s happening.  I noticed it after I started running both Office 2003 and Office 2007 on the same machine. According to some of the Excel expert message boards, a later automatic update of Windows XP or Office may have fixed my problem. There are also recurring themes of Mac Office and dual monitor usage making this a nuisance. After combing the expert message boards, here are several things to try:

1.  First, make sure you are running with all current Service Packs. Visit Microsoft.com for more information. If you are using a version of Office older than 2003, you may no longer be getting any bug fixes. So, a more current version is recommended.
2.  Open another workbook or two and then switching the active workbook by clicking on the Window menu bar item. Some users have reported that this “eventually” straightens out the problem.
3.  Click on Window, then Arrange and choose Tiled. Be sure Windows of active workbook is selected. Maximize one of the windows. Close the others (if any) that are also open. You’ll see these on the Window drop down menu after tiling them.
4.  Click on View, then Zoom and change the Zoom setting to 99%.
5.  Click on Format, then Row and Unhide, then Format, Column and Unhide. This will make sure rows and/or columns haven’t been accidently hidden.
6.  Also, try Format, Sheet, Unhide. If it’s grayed out, it’s not hidden.

If you have also been having this problem, let me know which if any of these worked for you. (By the way to recreate the appearance of the troubled screen, I switched to Page Break Preview, navigated away from cells with any data, then clicked on Tools, then Options and removed the the checkmark from the Row and Column headers checkbox. Just in case you have to “reproduce” the look for your support staff.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Diana July 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I’m the person who asked the question. I just had it happen again and I followed Nan’s advice to click on View/Arrange All. When I did that, another Excel table came up on screen. It was one I had worked on earlier today and had closed (but it gave me a different kind of problem; apparently it had not closed as it should have). When I closed it again, my current Excel table then became visible. These Excel worksheets/workbooks/tables are not “minimized” at the bottom of the screen. They are supposed to be open or closed, not in some kind of cyber-limbo. I’m working in ProSystem fx Engagement. That may be where the problem is.


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