WORKAROUND: Excel for Mac toolbars "trapped" off the screen

If you hook up an external monitor to your Mac OS X machine and run Excel 2004 for Mac on it, you might move your toolbars completely or partially over to the second desktop area. If you then remove the external monitor, it is possible for the toolbars to get “stuck” such that only a corner (like the resizing corner) is visible. You can resize them, but not move them back onto your main screen.

You can try to use “Reset” in the View:Toolbars:Customize Toolbars/Menus, but that doesn't work. There's some other reset-to-defaults choice somewhere that I tried (and can't find now) that didn't work either. Quitting and restarting does nothing.

Try going into your home directory (/Users/username) and nuking this file:

/Users/username/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Excel Toolbars (11)

Upon restarting Excel, they were back to normal location. Problem solved (except for the braindead engineering).

5 Responses to “WORKAROUND: Excel for Mac toolbars "trapped" off the screen”

  1. Jimbo McFly (my real name) says:

    Wow. I didn’t have that exact issue, but instead, using an external monitor on a Mac with Excel 2004, I would open an xls and it would be minimized. Massive pain! I’ve been cursing Excel for months!

    Thank you so much!!! And thanks for taking the time to post this on New Year’s Eve in 1969. You waited 42 years for someone to respond … but finally your insight is getting recognition!!


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  3. Dale Taylor says:

    … an alternative solution –1) leave Excel open, and disconnect the external monitor. All windows will relocate themselves to your primary monitor (laptop screen in my case). 2) Reopen the “trapped” window (the “Format Cells” window in my case), and it should no longer be partially off screen. 3) Move the troublesome window to a spot near the center of your primary screen. 4) Reattach your external monitor, and the troublesome window should remain where you moved it in step 3. 5) close the troublesome window, and reopen to confirm it again pops up where it was located after step 3. Done, you’re back in business!

  4. Han Kim says:

    Thanks! This was helpful.

  5. Jim Janky says:

    Mr. Taylor: your fix works perfectly. Thanks for posting this elegant solution.
    Cheers! Jim

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