Excel freezes when formatting cells

Copper Contributor

When I try to format a cell in Excel - bolding, underlining, switching font size - the program freezes and I need to re-start.  Is a new issue from last 2 days having worked without problems previously.


I've tried program repair, updates and re-installing Office and running in safe mode.  No luck.  Any suggestions for how I solve?


Many thanks!


47 Replies
Suffering same issue on Win11 with Office 365, excel also occasionally takes out my Outlook too... Default Printer trick seems to have fixed it. Odd but amazing solution!
After setting a default printer I haven't had Excel crash and it's been more than a week.
@Emiru, THANK YOU for the workaround.
@Pernille-Eskebo, can you please fix this bug!

@Emiru that is amazing. I have encountered this problem with excel since the beginning of time. I always imagined it was a memory problem, yet it never seemed to go away even with new laptop, upgraded memory, etc. This wizardry of changing default printer to PDF actually seems to have stopped the occurrence of freezes. There's another of my pet hates ticked off! Many thanks.

Thanks A lot, it really works

@Emiru This actually helped instantly, many thanks!!!

@Emiru it's freezing when I am trying to change the printer as well. what to do

this sound like the old games, that you had to something totally random to advance.

i had this issue, i reinstalled everything fresh, same crash.

i just defaulted the printer to PDF and it actually worked... this .. can't believe it.

but thanks! wish to know how this was discovered
Incredible, also fixed an issue starting Libreoffice programs. WORKED!

@EmiruThis worked!! Thank you so much! 

This is great solution. It was the default printer issue. Once i set it to Microsoft Print to PDF it was good.
This is simply AMAZING and WEIRD! hahahaha

@Emirumany thanks it works!

I have a similar issue - Excel crashing when trying to format or print. It also crashes when I copy/paste from Word, websites, or any other source except another Excel file or Notepad. Word crashes too, but only if I try to print. This has been going on for two months, and after trying everything under the sun, I gave up and have just been working around the bug.


I found this thread today and tried restarting the spooler service and setting the default printer as PDF (I had to do it in Windows settings, since Excel crashed as soon as I clicked the Print options). Sadly, it has not solved the problem for me


EDIT: Since posting the above, I tried stopping the printer spooler, and BINGO! Excel was working again! I could format and copy/paste - yay! Sadly, the spooler restarts whenever I restart the computer, even after I set start-up to "Disabled" in Services. It's still a band-aid and not a cure. It means I have to stop the spooler every time I want to use Excel, and then I can't print. I'd love to know why this is happening, and if there's a way to fix it.


@Emiru thank you for your solution! I experienced this bug when using Excel interop from C# code -- my code would periodically freeze at a line which programmatically set a font to bold. But I'm now certain it's the same underlying problem, and changing my Windows default printer fixed it. I've written up a corresponding question and answer at

Setting the pdf printer as default was the solution in a Office 2019!!

@Emiru That's like VooDoo! Works fine now. Gotta ask, "What made you think to change your default printer?" That blows my mind!

My laptop keep freezing trying to connect to my companies printer when connected to VPN so changed setting and voila @BlackMax138 

@Emiru I've registered here to say "thank you"! It works. 

This worked for me too. Removed the university printer as the default (which did seem to have some error associated with it) and excel no longer crashes. Many thanks!

@EmiruI had exactly same issus and changing default printer to PDF solved my problem. Thanks