Hidden dialogs cause Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 to appear to hang

By Amber Mertes

Recently, we’ve seen an issue frequently occuring where the dialogs such as Save As, Print, File Open, etc. are being hidden behind the Excel 2010 application randomly. Additionally, the issue can occur with other
Office applications such as Word.

This issue occurs when third party add-ins are loaded in the Outlook 2010 application. 

The steps to reproduce the issue consistently involve using the functionality to ‘Save & Send’ a document from the Excel application. Once you do that process, the add-ins in Outlook appear to be keeping focus and
not allowing the Excel dialogs to move to the front.

To work around the issue for now, remove any third party add-ins you may be running in Outlook 2010 and add them back in one at a time to determine which one is the root of the issue.  Once determined, contact the
developer of the add-in for any updates or solutions they may have.

For more information, see the following blog which covers the hidden dialogs with Outlook add-ins and using Email functionality within the Office apps:



  • This issue does also occur with Office 2013
  • The Ribbon Designer is one way in which add-ins can introduce this behavior. However, we've found it has been introduced in a few other ways:
  • If a third party add in is incorporating Outlook Form Regions into an Inspector, you might see this behavior.
Comments (19)

  1. Anonymous says:

    We have several add-ins in Outlook. Add-ins turn off is fun to see what caused this, but does not solve anything, because these add-ins are required to work properly.

    Will Microsoft fix this?

  2. redlegcraig says:

    I experienced this issue on Office 2010 64 bit.  Turned out to be the add in for Egnyte.

  3. Neil Good says:

    Hello,  We are running Excel 2010 on Windows Server 2008 and Outlook is not running.  The same thing happens, the Save As Dialogue does not appear.  So that does not sound like the answer.

  4. thomas says:

    This issue might be related to Outlook – but this cannot be the only root cause. Actually the context menu in Excel 2010 is already causing the trouble when you are choosing one of the following commands after right clicking:

    – Format Cells…

    – Insert Cells…

    – Delete Cells…

    Any idea how to solve this malicious behaviour aka Pop Under?

  5. LMitchell says:

    This is driving me nuts on a daily basis and I've lost data due to the inability to see the dialog boy – it there any resolution to this?

  6. Leoz says:

    "contact the developer…" : I am the developer…

    If you're not the developer and just want to see your dialog, the quick fix is to close Outlook.

    If you are the developer, Microsoft acknowledges that there is an issue but the issue is that you didn't rewrite your add-ins to not expose flaws with their new code. So. Start looking for Unix based employers is really the only solution there.

  7. Brian says:

    I heard from my co-worker that he started Excel 2010 64-bit in Safe Mode.  Cane out and launched it normally and this stopped the issue.  He repeated this 6 times while on the phone with the customer with the improved behavior.

  8. ronny says:

    Also causing this is the MS CRM 2013 Add-in…

  9. Peter says:

    This has been happening to me as well. Turned off Nitro PDF Pro Add In in Outlook and problem solved.

  10. Wurlitzer says:

    The same as the above, we also found that the Nitro PDF plugin was the cause.

  11. Rainer says:

    Hmph. I don’t run Outlook, and Outlook 2010 was never installed on this computer. Yet I have the problem a lot with Excel 2010. I also see windows appearing behind the main window in Delphi programs I have written, and these programs do not use any add-ins or DLLs. It has to be a Windows bug.

  12. tmott says:

    Agree with others here. Even w/Outlook not running the dialog box issue makes Excel virtually unusable. If MS won’t fix this it’s time for class action law suit!!

    1. OSToolsProgrammer says:

      Indeed, just ran into this with my excel-based mining tool. This level of quality is a reflection of the lack of intellectual rigor and attention to detail typical of the undisciplined, clueless programmers in Redmond. MS will not likely fix this until it becomes a thorn in some MS Oraffice programmer’s side and they decide to fix it out of purely selfish motives.

  13. Chris Shalbert says:

    When this occurs to me, I simply close my instance of MS Outlook and the dialog boxes appear fine. I can then reopen MS Outlook without any issues.

  14. Milo says:


    I have this problem on my machine and I’ve found a quick way of seeing the hidden dialog box is to right-mouse the Task bar then select show windows side by side or show windows stacked. You’ll see the hidden dialog amongst these windows.

  15. Avrum says:

    I agree with other comments that this affects a large number of functions, including saving, formatting cells, and printing.

    Isn’t there a a “control” or “window” key that cycles through the windows until the pop-up is back on top?

  16. Eric Desjardins says:

    This issue seem to happen in Office 2013 as well. Though I cannot uninstall the 2 plug-ins that are used. I just close Outlook and that premets the Excell Save As screen to come to the front!

  17. Mueez says:

    I have experienced this issue as well but was able to fix it by clicking CTRL+ALT+ESC keys together. This step makes the dialogue box visible.

    Please try and share your feedback if it works for you.


  18. G. Shainfeld says:

    Before you remove add-ins, maybe try this
    choose another open workbook – the hidden window appeared for me

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