How to Force Close Excel (Quit Application)

- Written by Puneet


Let’s say you’ve been working for hours finalizing your monthly sales data. Then you notice the screen freezes, and you can’t click or type anything.

This can happen if the workbook is very large or has a software glitch. Force closing means shutting down Excel immediately without waiting. This helps you restart Excel and often recover your work.

Using Task Manager to Force Close the Excel

On a Windows computer, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, then select Task Manager. In the Task Manager, find Excel in the list of running programs, click on it, and then click “End Task.”


On a Mac, press Command + Option + Escape, find Excel in the list of applications, select it, and click “Force Quit”. After force quitting, you can reopen Excel, which will often recover your work. This way, you minimize the time lost and can continue working on your report without waiting indefinitely for Excel to respond.

Force Quit Excel using Command Prompt

In Windows, you can also use a command prompt to force the Excel application to close. To do this, Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box. And then, type cmd and press Enter. Type taskkill /f /im excel.exe in the Command Prompt and press Enter. It will force close Excel.


Windows PowerShell

To force close Excel using Windows PowerShell, you can follow these steps.

  • First, open PowerShell by pressing Windows + X and selecting Windows PowerShell from the menu.
  • In the PowerShell window, Type Stop-Process -Name excel -Force and press Enter.

The moment you hit enter, it will close Excel.

Note – You can also use the keyboard shortcut Alt + F4 to close the Excel Application.

Things to Consider Before Force Closing Excel

As I said, when you force close Excel to quit, it closes immediately without saving any unsaved work.

  • Loss of Unsaved Data: Any data you haven’t saved will be lost. It’s important to save your work frequently to minimize this risk.
  • AutoRecover Feature: When you reopen Excel, it often tries to recover your unsaved work using the AutoRecover feature. You’ll see a Workbook Recovery pane with versions of your file that can be restored.
  • File Corruption: In some rare cases, forcing Excel to close can corrupt the workbook, mainly if it performs a critical operation when you force quit.

Recovering Data When Force Close Excel

There is a way to recover lost data after forcing Excel to close. When you reopen Excel, it often shows a Document Recovery pane. This pane lists the unsaved files it managed to recover.


You can click on the file you were working on to open it and save your changes.

Last Updated: May 30, 2024