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Slicer greyed out in Excel

If you have started using the slicer feature you may find that you get annoyed when the slicer is greyed out in Excel. This can happen when you receive a file from someone else, or if you download data from a source system and try and create it directly in the downloaded file.

The most likely issue is that Excel has decided that the spreadsheet you are working with may need to be used on a version of Excel that doesn’t have the slicer option (e.g. Excel 2003, csv’s etc). Signs that this is the issue is:

  • the file is saved as .xls
  • It mentions compatibility mode in title (or anywhere for that matter) as shown below.

Given that Excel 2003 is no longer supported there should be less and less of this version out there so it is highly unlikely that you need to keep it in this mode. Unless you really need to be compatible with older versions, it would be better to convert to the newer file format to be able to access all the new features.

Enabling the Slicer in Excel

To change it is relatively easy. If you have opened a file like this, when you click on FILE or the Office icon (depending on which version you use) you will see some more options.


One of the options is the CONVERT button (will only appear if the spreadsheet is an older version). If you click this button, it converts the file into the newer version which then enables all the latest features.

To learn more about Dashboards in MS Excel, have a look at the online course

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