Some Excel users have complained about getting the Cannot open the Clipboard error in their workbooks. Whenever they try to highlight something or copy and paste cells in Excel, this annoying error message pops up. Now, why does this error occur, and how you can resolve it on your PC, let us check that out in this post.
Why can’t I open the clipboard in Excel?
One of the common reasons why you are getting the “Cannot open the Clipboard” error in Excel is a problematic extension or add-in installed. Apart from that, there might be some other application that is continuously accessing or blocking your clipboard and causing this error in Excel. Another reason for the same could be the fact the workbook is corrupted or the Excel app itself is corrupted.
Fix Cannot open the Clipboard in Excel
If you are receiving the “Cannot open the Clipboard” error message in Microsoft Excel, here are the methods you can use to fix it:
- Run Excel in Safe mode and disable add-ins.
- Clear the Clipboard items in Excel.
- Use a clipboard monitor to determine the cause.
- Repair Microsoft Excel.
- Try a third-party tool to repair the Excel file.
1] Run Excel in Safe mode and disable add-ins
This issue turns out to be caused due to a problematic add-in installed in Excel. Some affected users have reported being able to fix the issue by disabling add-ins. Now, to check whether your add-ins are indeed the main culprit, you can open the Excel app in safe mode. Here’s how you can do that:
Firstly, evoke the Run command box using Win + R and enter the following command in the Open box:
Excel will now launch in safe mode without external add-ins. If the error message is fixed in safe mode, you can be sure that some problematic Excel extensions are causing the issue. Hence, in that case, you can disable your add-ins to fix the issue:
- First, go to the File menu and click on Options.
- Now, move to the Add-ins tab.
- Next, select the COM Add-ins option under the drop-down options present next to Manage and then press the Go button.
- In the opened dialog window, deselect all the add-ins that you want to disable.
- If you want to permanently remove an add-in, select the add-in and press the Remove button.
- Once done, press the OK button and check if the error is resolved.
2] Clear the Clipboard items in Excel
If there are too many items on your clipboard history in Excel, this error might occur. Hence, you can try clearing your Excel clipboard items and check if you have stopped receiving the Cannot open the Clipboard error message. Here’s how you can do that:
First, go to the Home tab from your ribbon, and under the Clipboard section, press the small arrow button as highlighted in the below screenshot.
Now, click on the Clear All button to clear the whole clipboard history from Excel.
In case you don’t want to delete all items, select an item that you want to clear, press the drop arrow button present next to it, and click on the Delete option.
Once done, check if the “Cannot open the Clipboard” error message has stopped.
3] Use a clipboard monitor to determine the cause
There might be another program that is blocking your clipboard and causing the “Cannot open the Clipboard” error in Excel. To determine which program is doing so, you can use a clipboard monitor program. There are some free ones available on the Internet. To name a good one, you can use this free application called ClipboardOwnerDebug.
ClipboardOwnerDebug is a tool that helps you debug issues with the Windows clipboard. You can download it from here. Once downloaded, extract the downloaded zip file. Now, you need to run the tool through Command Prompt. Here’s how:
Now, enter the following command to navigate to the folder where ClipboardOwnerDebug.ese file is present:
In the above command, you can replace the folder path of the software accordingly.
Next, enter the common to monitor your clipboard in the following syntax:
ClipboardOwnerDebug.exe <poll interval in milliseconds>
Once the command is entered, it will start monitoring your clipboard and show you a report. From the report, you can check the program with PID which is constantly using or locking the clipboard. And thus, Excel is unable to access your clipboard and shows you the “Cannot open the clipboard” error prompt.
So, to fix the error, you can close the program using the Task Manager and then check if the error is fixed.
4] Repair Microsoft Excel
If the above solution didn’t work, you can try repairing Microsoft Excel to fix the error. It might be some corrupted user data or settings in the app causing the error. Hence, repairing the app will be helpful.
To repair the Excel app, open Settings using Win+ and go to the Apps > Installed apps section. Now, look for the Microsoft Office app and press the three-dot menu button present next to it. After that, choose the Modify option and then choose the Quick Repair or Online Repair option to repair Office apps. Once done, reopen Excel and check if the error is resolved.
5] Try a third-party tool to repair the Excel file
It might be the case that your Excel workbook contains some corrupted data or is gone corrupted. So, in that case, you can use a third-party tool to repair your Excel workbook, e.g., Recovery Toolbox. Hopefully, after fixing a corrupted workbook, the error will be resolved.
Hope this helps!
How do I enable clipboard in Excel?
To enable and access the clipboard in Excel, move to the Home tab on your ribbon and navigate to the Clipboard section. Here, you will see a expand icon (arrow); just click on this icon and you will be able to see all your clipboard items. You can also use the CTRL key + C twice (fast) shortcut to open the clipboard in Excel.