Excel 2010 Dialog boxes hiding behind spreadsheet

Posted on 2013-01-23
Last Modified: 2016-10-05
I have a heavy Excel 2010 user who calls me into her office regularly with this issue.   She says her Excel is locked up.  No matter where you click in the Excel window, it just dings at you.  This is usually caused by there being a dialog box that pops up and is waiting to be answered before returning the spreadsheet.  
the problem is that the diaglog box is either not present or is hiding behind the spreadsheet and won't come forward to take the focus.  

It is almost always the case that closing outlook causes the dialog box to reappear and the user can continue.  I have turned off all of the outlook addins that I can yet still retain functionality and security. the only addins I have left turned on are Exchange, Mcafee and Zixmail.  

in a recent visit, I addressed the problem.  She had one spreadsheet open.  She went to open another spreadsheet that was password protected.  The password dialog box for the 2nd spreadsheet was hiding behind the first spreadsheet and would not come forward.   I closed Outlook and the password diaglog box reappeared.  I opened outlook and tried to recreate the problem, but it would not behave that way again.  

what else can I do here?  I don't want to tell the user that here is yet another problem with microsoft software that I can't fix.  This never happened to her in her 8 years of using windows xp and office 2003.  

anybody have any experience with this or have any ideas of what to try?
Question by:BuddyWeaver
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Expert Comment

by:Stacy Brown
ID: 38814884
We have seen this same issue.  According to what I've found, it has to do with the Outlook Addins.  I'll try to dig up those links for you.

I have found that using the Save and Send feature in Outlook seems to trigger the problem on the second use of it.  We have also found that if you hit ESC, you can at least get control of your workbook back.

I've resorted to, at the moment, creating a shortcut that starts Outlook in Safe Mode.  This seems to solve the problem most of the time.  If you are interested, here is the path you can use to create the shortcut:  

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE" /safe

Another thing that has worked for one of my users is to NOT maximize the Excel windows and to Cascade them.  This seems to allow for access to the dialog boxes.  So far, it has only worked for one of my users and the others promise they will try it.
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Accepted Solution

Stacy Brown earned 200 total points
ID: 38814911
Here are the links I promised: of your Outlook Addins uses Ribbon Designer to modify the ribbon.  Microsoft is now recommending using Ribbon XML instead.

Since the only addins we have in common on this are the McAfee and Exchange....I'm betting that it is the McAfee addin.

If anyone else has any information on this issue, please post it!  I've been trying to find a true solution for months instead of these work-arounds.  

Good Luck Buddy!  Please let us know what you find!

Author Comment

ID: 38814928
Thanks Finalword for that information.  I will forward it to my user and see how she feels about these work arounds.   Are you using outlook with a local .pst or exchange?  we are using it to access exchange account.  

what a shame it is that there is nobody at microsoft that will help us try and keep their products functioning in the real world.

thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:Stacy Brown
ID: 38814948

Author Comment

ID: 38814977
thanks again for that last link.  I had that problem with user also.  after hours and hours of research it was finally down to the HP printer she was using.  Officejet K5400.  She had been using it for years with her Office 2003.  we replaced it with an Epson printer and that problem went away.  Now we are at the previous problem, which I beileve will be either with the mcafee addin or the zixmail addin.  That's where I will go next.

This user used office 2003 for years and she never had any problems.  her new computer with windows 7 and office 2010 has been one headache after another.  needless to say she hates Office 2010 and Microsoft for that matter for completely  invalidating the years of learning she had achieved and replacing her fully functioning product with one that messes up 4 times a week.  

when will they ever learn?
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Expert Comment

by:Stacy Brown
ID: 38814981
We are using Exchange (2007 I think).  I would love to know if the cascading window thing works for your user.  

I hope that someone from MS will read this and know that it is a real problem.  Some addins we just can't do without and the vendors are not willing to rewrite their ribbon code.  It is very frustrating!
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Expert Comment

by:Stacy Brown
ID: 38815016
Minor correction to my original post: " I have found that using the Save and Send feature in Outlook seems to trigger the problem ...."   Should actually say " I have found that using the Save and Send feature in Excel seems to trigger the problem..."

Author Comment

ID: 38815156
After reviewing the Blogs offered by Finalword, I am convinced that the issue is being caused by the Zixmail Outlook 2010 Add-in. This add-in does in fact alter the Outlook 2010 ribbon.  The mcafee addin  may also be the cuase, but I'm not sure it alters the ribbon.  
Zixmail is an addin for encrypted mail.  I must have it and mcafee.  I am using the latest version of each of these addins.  so I will tell the user they will have to live with this problem.  thanks microsoft. If the cascading excel helps, I'll post back here.

Expert Comment

by:Alvaro Ortiz
ID: 41829711
It happens to me with a heavy macro driven workbook, I made this script to hit enter and recover Excel.
set WshShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
  WshShell.AppActivate "WorbookName" 'Don't know how to activate Excel by itself
  WshShell.SendKeys "{ENTER}"

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