Excel hangs or becomes unresponsive when saving or closing a workbook

This problem isn't a common one, but it is still worth mentioning as there could be other symptoms manifested for this problem. The issue occurs when you try to save or close an Excel file. Excel may become unresponsive or simply hang, requiring you to enter the Task Manager and kill the process.

This problem can occur if you have a bad printer installation. Excel apparently checks the default printer driver when doing a save or close of a workbook. When you try to change the default printer, remove the printer or reinstall it you may encounter difficulties such as an Access Denied error. To resolve the problem, do the following:

1. From the Control Panel go to Programs and Features. Some printers will be listed in here. If yours is listed, right click it and left click on Uninstall.
If the printer isn’t listed, do the following:

2. Click the Windows START button. Click Devices and Printers.

3. What comes up is a list of printers under the ‘Printers and Faxes’. Find the problem printer in the list.

4. Right click on the printer and left click 'Remove Device'. This should uninstall the printer for you. If the printer is still listed, you may have to do it manually:

5. Right click on the printer and left click  Printer Properties. Find the ‘Drivers’ tab.

6. Shown is a list of drivers. These driver DLLs would need to be deleted from the machine. Some of them may exist under System32. I would recommend renaming these to the .OLD file extension instead of deleting them.

7. If removing anything from under System32, a reboot of the machine may be necessary.

Comments (13)

  1. There are several reasons why spreadsheets could be hanging when closing or saving. One reason might be calculation. By default Excel updates links to other documents when a recalculation occurs. This can be turned off under File > Excel Options > Advanced > 'When calculating this workbook' section.

    Calculation also occurs when the spreadsheet is saved. You can try hitting CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+F9 to rebuild the calculation chain or you can try setting calculation to manual instead of automatic and see if that helps.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Awesome! this worked…thanks!

    2. Danielle says:

      Brilliant tip! Worked perfectly. Thank you 🙂

  2. theresa says:

    My printer was removed and re-installed but will not print.  Nothing was sorted out with the unresponsive Excel.

  3. Chris says:

    Thank you for this post, it's good to know that excel check for the printer when closing or saving the workbook.

    Is this documented on technet?

  4. Dave Morgan says:

    What Crap…
    If it hangs just close Outlook then it will work again. It’s just one of those MS things again.

  5. xsadusx says:

    Just go to services and stop printer spooler and restart it (this service not whole system). Should sort it.

  6. nicko says:

    so I’m trying to SAVE the document as a PDF using the inbuilt Save As option, and Word (2013) insists on querying my default printer (in an office miles away, leading to a long hang when I can do nothing in Word).

    I don’t want to print, so why does Word insist on talking to my printer?

  7. Richard says:

    Happens to me too, but none of the solutions help. It always happens when Excel 2013 has been open of more than 2 days. If I explicitly save before I shut it down, then at least nothing is lost and I can just let Windows restart it when it prompts that
    it’s not responding when I click on the window again.

  8. Pankti Shah says:

    This worked for me.
    1. check if the printer server is running. if not then switch it on.
    2.change the default printer to Microsoft XPS Document writer.

  9. Noor says:

    thanks, it worked, when i removed my printer. now my excel works very nice,

  10. E says:

    Thanks so much for your post, removing the printer worked perfectly!.

    Thanks again

  11. Bob Mallette says:

    This is a very real problem. We have Dell 2375dnf and dfw printers that work great printing Office documents and spreadsheets with one driver but won’t print Citrix connected documents for nothing. Install another driver and Citrix stuff prints great but Excel hangs when attempting to edit or close a spreadsheet. Challenge has been finding a driver that works for all apps, and believe me, I’ve tried all (including Dell Open Print Drivers). I believe the Mono is working for us now. PS had issues across Citrix, I believe.

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