Excel won’t let me type: Causes and Fixes

Within Microsoft Excel, you as the user may sometimes encounter issues that, though relatively simple to solve, can prove unfathomably frustrating. One such issue is when, seemingly out of nowhere, you are not able to type within the cells of your spreadsheet anymore.

Thankfully, as I said above, this issue is one that is fairly easy to rectify. First though, we will quickly run through some potential causes of why Microsoft Excel prevents the user from typing within the application.

More often than not, the issue that prevents you from typing within the application of Microsoft Excel are add-ins. In case you’re unaware, add-ins are provided in order to offer Excel a wider field of application, making it accessible on the likes of Mac, iPad, or a browser, as opposed to the conventional Windows usage.

From Microsoft’s official website, add-ins aim to:

  • Interact with Excel objects, read and write Excel data.
  • Extend functionality using web based task pane or content pane.
  • Add custom ribbon buttons or contextual menu items.
  • Add custom functions.
  • Provide richer interaction using dialog window.

It is clear as to why they are a desirable feature to add to your Excel application, yet still they can be a cause of the issue that we are discussing today. In order to halt the typing error you are encountering, then you should look to launch Microsoft Excel in safe mode.

Now, if this alone is not enough, then don’t worry. We will first offer you a step by step guide of the process, in the hopes that this will assist some of you with the method. If not though, following that will be a more detailed analysis of the walkthrough, as is the case with every piece we write. Also, there will be accompanying screenshots to further your aid.


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Step by Step: Excel won’t let me type: How to fix

  • From your desktop, look to find your Microsoft Excel application.
  • When hovering over the application, hold the control button and double click, as opposed to simply clicking the application.
  • After doing this, there should be an option presented to you asking if you want to launch the application in safe mode. Click yes.
  • Get Excel for just $6.99 per month from the Microsoft Store!

So, you will first want to find the shortcut you use to access Microsoft Excel. Of course, some of you may not have one, which is completely fine. If you are utilising a Windows device, which we will be throughout this tutorial, then you should look towards the bottom of your screen. Within your navigation bar should be a search bar. If you search for Excel here, it will be the first result.

In case you need further clarification as to what we mean, then you can look to the highlighted screenshot below as an example.

From here, you will need to click on the application to open it, but as was specified in the above steps, you need to ensure you are holding down the control key simultaneously as you go to open the application. Doing so should present you with a small menu in the centre of your desktop, asking you if you wish to open Microsoft Excel in safe mode, as thus:

You can probably guess that here, you will want to select ‘Yes’ as your choice in order to progress further. In case you need it, we have a highlighted screenshot below for those who just want to iron over any worries.

Starting Excel in safe mode makes the entire process that bit simpler, which allows the application to open with minimal to no complications when compared to the standard version of it. The safe mode of Excel bypasses numerous settings and functionalities, such as the xlstart folder, changed toolbars and, perhaps most importantly, add-in features of the application.

Starting up Microsoft Excel in safe mode will establish whether or not it is the add-ins that are causing your issues, as if it runs smoothly without them, it becomes noticeably apparent that the add-ins are the cause.

If you discover that the add-ins you have previously installed are the reason you were unable to type within your spreadsheet cells on the Microsoft Excel application, then the fix is fairly easy.

Exit Excel and relaunch it in its normal mode. From here, disable one of your add-in features to see if that was the cause. Repeat this process of restarting Excel and disabling one of your add-ins to discover which of them is faulty and leading to the error within your application.

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So, to briefly recap, we have today discussed that faulty add-ins are one of the main reasons for Microsoft Excel not allowing you as the user to type. We then covered what add-ins were designed to do and that these could be bypassed by launching the application in safe mode.

Following this, the article ironed out that you could find the faulty add-in by process of elimination, disabling one at a time when launching the regular version of Excel.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it as helpful as you wanted it to be! As is the case with every article we write, if you encounter any sort of issue when following the walkthrough, or simply wish to share some thoughts you may have on the article or process, then please do not hesitate to get into contact with a member of our team.

Below are some links to other articles published on the site that are of a similar fashion. Perhaps they will be of assistance to you if this one didn’t quite answer the questions you were having.

How to stop Excel rounding numbers – Business Tech Planet
(This piece looks to prevent Excel from rounding numbers via the number format settings).

How to fix Excel error 1004 – Business Tech Planet
(Fixing the error 1004 within Excel via Trust Center Settings).

How to fix Excel error 400 – Business Tech Planet
(Fixing error 400 within Excel via the developer tab, or vice versa, pressing Alt and F11 at the same time).

Michael Fontana

Michael Fontana has been the managing director of telecoms and MSP Optionbox for over a decade and has worked in various telecommunication roles over the last 20 years. Michael has been involved in many exciting projects, such as co-founding telecoms and IT businesses and has now built up a team of more than 15 staff, serving over 300 clients nationwide. With a wealth of experience in IT and a passion for technology, Michael is now helping BTP to produce the highest quality guides on the internet. You can connect with Michael on LinkedIn.

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