Excel document not opening due to circular references.

Occasional Contributor

I am trying to open an Excel document.  When it first opens I get the message:


"There are one or more circular references where a formula refers to its own cell either directly or indirectly.  This might cause them to calculate incorrectly.  Try removing or changing these references, or moving the formulas to different cells."


When I click ok it just goes to a blank screen, no document.   Most everything is greyed out.  This is a multiple page document that I have worked on for days.  Everything was saved multiple times.  Only thing that had happened between the time I closed it and reopened it was an update.


Is my document gone?

14 Replies
Thank you. I got it opened in Safe Mode, no document popped up. I went to circular references under error checking and see the error, but nothing pops up when I click on it. Not one sheet on the document.



Did you open the document after you started excel in safe mode?

I have gone to open document and click on it. It looks like it is opening it, but then it is a blank document called "book1".



which excel version do you have

Could you share your file?
I wish I could. It's a work file.



Oh you're using work computer then.  Then only an administrator can do my previous post.  You'll have to employ the help of your IT Administrator.

Just a small company. I am the boss

@Cinnymon I've had problems like this and found sometime I could open the problem file when Excel was already open as opposed to directly from the finder.  Also under File -> Options you can select Formulas and ENABLE iterative calculations and then set it to something small:


the point being to try and prevent Excel error/crash.

ALSO if you go under File -> Open and then click on This PC and then on the right click on the file folder next to the path all the way at the top (above the search).  That will bring up the file system open dialogue.  Then navigate to the file and click the down arrow next to the OPEN button:



As you can see you can try Open in Protected View or Open and Repair... options.

This didn't work either
Ok, so I sent my document to a friend. She didn't see anything either, but then opened it this morning and there it was so she sent it back to me. I opened it in google docs then tried to download it in hopes it would open and of course no go. All other Excel docs are opening fine.



Now that you're able to open the file, turn the Calculation options from automatic to manual: