Top 6 Ways to Fix Excel Toolbar Not Working in Windows

Microsoft Excel toolbar gives you access to a range of commonly used commands and tools to improve productivity and simplify complex tasks. However, at times the Excel toolbar fails to work as expected or appears grayed out. That might be confusing and if that happens to you often, you can fix that.

Top Ways to Fix Excel Toolbar Not Working in Windows

Fixing the Excel toolbar can be simple like restarting the program or identifying the problematic Excel add-in. Below, we’ve listed out all the possible solutions for fixing the Excel toolbar not working issue on Windows 10 or 11 computers. So, let’s take a look.

1. Restart Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel toolbar may stop responding if one of its processes encounters issues while running. If it’s just a one-off glitch, you can resolve it by closing Microsoft Excel completely using Task Manager and opening it again. Here are the steps for the same.

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut on your keyboard to open the Task Manager.

Step 2: In the Processes tab, right-click on Microsoft Excel and select End task from the context menu.

Force Close Microsoft Excel on Windows

Reopen Microsoft Excel after this and check if the toolbar works.

2. Reset Toolbar Customizations

On Microsoft Excel, you can customize the toolbar to get to your frequently-used commands quickly. However, a startup issue with these custom preferences could cause the Excel toolbar to become unresponsive on your computer. You can reset the toolbar customization in Excel to see if that resolves the issue.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Excel and click the File menu at the top.

Excel File Menu

Step 2: Select Options from the left sidebar.

Excel Options Menu

Step 3: In the Quick Access Toolbar tab, click the Reset button next to Customizations and select Reset all customizations.

Reset Excel Toolbar

Step 4: Hit Yes to confirm.

Confirm Reset Excel Toolbar

3. Rename the Excel Toolbar File

If resetting the Excel toolbar proves ineffective, the Excel file containing your toolbar settings is likely to corrupt. In that case, you will need to rename the Excel toolbar file on your computer. This will force Excel to create a new toolbar file, effectively fixing any issues.

Step 1: Right-click on the Start icon and select Run from the list.

Open Run Command

Step 2: Type the following command in the text box and press Enter.


Run Command

Step 3: In the File Explorer window that opens, you should see a file named Excel15.xlb or Excel.xlb, depending on your Office version. Right-click on it and click the rename icon.

Rename Excel Toolbar File

Step 4: Rename the file to OldExcel15.xlb or OldExcel.xlb.

Excel Toolbar File

Restart your computer and then try to use the toolbar again.

4. Start Excel in Safe Mode

Sometimes, a malfunctioning Excel add-in can cause the program to run into issues and behave strangely. You can verify this by opening Excel in safe mode, allowing it to run without add-ins.

To open Excel in safe mode, press the Windows key + R shortcut to access the Run dialog. Type excel -safe in the Open field and press Enter.

Open Excel in Safe Mode

When Excel opens in safe mode, try to use the toolbar again. If it works as expected, it means one of the add-ins was causing the issue. To find it, you can disable all add-ins and enable them individually. Here’s how:

Step 1: In Excel, click the File menu at the top-left corner.

Excel File Menu

Step 2: Select Options at the bottom-left corner.

Excel Options Menu

Step 3: In the Add-ins tab, select COM Add-ins in the Manage drop-down menu and click the Go button next to it.

Excel Options

Step 4: Clear all the checkboxes to disable your add-ins and click OK.

Disable Excel Add-ins

Restart Excel after disabling add-ins and then re-enable them one by one. Try using Excel after enabling each add-in to determine which one is causing the issue. After you have identified the problematic add-in, consider removing it to prevent further issues.

5. Update Microsoft Excel

Microsoft regularly releases new updates for all of its Office apps, including Excel. Using an outdated or incompatible version of Excel could prevent the app from working correctly and cause such problems. Here’s how you can check for updates in Microsoft Excel.

Step 1: In Microsoft Excel, click the File menu at the top.

Excel File Menu

Step 2: Switch to the Account tab. Click Update Options and select Update Now from the resulting menu.

Update Microsoft Excel

Wait for Excel to install the latest updates. After that, check if the Excel toolbar works.

6. Run the Office Repair Tool

Microsoft offers a useful repair tool for fixing issues with Office apps. This tool can automatically scan and fix issues with Microsoft Excel that may have caused the toolbar to stop working. Here’s how to run it.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R shortcut to open the Run dialog box.

Step 2: Type appwiz.cpl in the box and press Enter.

Open Programs and Features on Windows

Step 3: In the Programs and Features window, locate and select the Microsoft Office product on the list. Then, click the Change button at the top.

Repair MS Office Suite

Step 4: Select the Quick Repair option and click Repair.

Repair Microsoft Office

If the Excel toolbar remains unresponsive even after this, Microsoft recommends you perform an Online Repair. This will conduct a more comprehensive repair operation and should resolve the issue with the Excel toolbar.

Accelerate Your Productivity

Your productivity suffers when the Excel toolbar stops working all of a sudden. Hopefully, fixing the Excel toolbar didn’t take long for you with the fixes outlined above.

Last updated on 22 March, 2023

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