Excel 2007 bug – Chart disappears

“In excel 2007 you have data on a sheet from which you create a chart. You then move the chart to its own sheet. Then one day you open the file and the chart is gone. The sheet it is still there. The data sheet is still there, but the chart is gone (or not visible?) and you can’t figure out why or how to get it back.”
This may be related to unavailable printers.
For some reason, chart sheets seem to need a printer driver on hand in order to render properly.

For example you usually work on a network. If the network printer set as default on your system is not available you may experience this error. Or your printer driver might be “broken”.

What to do ?
  • Check if your printer is powered on and all cables are secured. Is your default printer “Ready” (Control Panel / Printers)?
  • Quick Fix: Close Excel. Change the default printer to “Microsoft XPS Document”. Re-open the file. Your charts should be there visible.
  • Repair: Try to make your network printer “Ready” on your system or in the case of a local printer reinstall the driver.

About Dr.A

Scientist, tech enthusiast, husband and father. Romanian expat. Dupa 3 ani in Japonia, o noua pagina se deschide la Paris.
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24 Responses to Excel 2007 bug – Chart disappears

  1. j diggles jr says:

    k well just so you know you saved me about 5 hours of work… Thank you so much

  2. Joseph says:

    Hey Dr. A!! I don't know how you figured this out, but it was a lifesaver. I came into work today and none of my charts were visible. I looove Excel and make spreadsheets and charts for everything, so this was a big deal for me when all the sudden they weren't visible. I sent my charts to my coworkers and they could view them perfectly. So, I knew the file was good. The hard part was figuring out why it happened. After reading your post, I tried printing, and sure enough I could not print. (My printer was working fine a couple days ago). I tried printing a word document and that had an error too. I deleted my printer and tried reinstalling it. I actually ran into a second problem there. I use a shared network printer and my Vista software returned an error message "Policy on your computer doesn't allow NT 4.0 drivers" when I tried to reinstall the network printer. The drivers were already on my computer, and had been used fine just a week prior when I installed the printer the first time, but for some reason caused conflict this time around. What finally worked… I used registry mechanic to hopefully fix any incompatibility issues. I restarted. At that time, I still didn't have a printer installed and I checked my graphs, still couldn't see them. I tried reinstalling the shared network printer and this time there was no conflict with NT 4.0 policies. Printer installed successfully, and charts all were visible! I'm thinking that when I installed Vista Service Pack 2.0 this morning, it may have caused a conflict with my printer. After running registry mechanic, and deleting/reinstalling my shared network printer, I was able to see all my charts in excel and print just fine. This post was so helpful in pointing me in the right direction. Back to work finally! Thank you!!!

  3. @Joseph Instaling a Service Pack, can be full of surprises. I am glad I could help and I am sure your input will help others too.

  4. So. You can print ? I don't think they M$ will do something about this.

  5. Drew says:

    Sorry, I am having the same problem but this doesn't fix it. Graphs are perfect when saved and closed, have disappeared upon re-opening file. Any idea if MS is planning a fix for this?

  6. Dr.A says:

    So. You can print ? I don't think they M$ will do something about this.

  7. Drew says:

    Yes, I can print fine. I create the graph, it's fine, I save, and upon re-opening it is blank except for a couple of textboxes I added after the fact. If I do a print preview, it shows more but the axis labels are all crunched together. After the preview, this new version of the chart actually shows up, but the axes are so messed up, and the scale of everything so changed, that it is not usable.

  8. what about on another PC ? what about if you save the file as excel 2003 aka xls ? Did you try a repair (when opening)? Another ideea is to copy/duplicate the tabs into a new file.

  9. Dr.A says:

    what about on another PC ? what about if you save the file as excel 2003 aka xls ? Did you try a repair (when opening)? Another ideea is to copy/duplicate the tabs into a new file.

  10. Adrian says:

    when i print a word document, the bars on my graphs do not appear, although the background does. I can see my bars in print preview, but my printer will not print them. I can print images, and it is not a single printer problem

  11. patty says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought I had gremlins

  12. Sven says:

    Thank you so much for this information!

  13. Ashley says:

    I too have this problem. Till now i get confused why is it happening. I don’t think of printers. After reading the article i can understand and going to check my printer..

    Thanks for sharing..

  14. JassiMostru says:

    Very nice and intrestingss story.

  15. PSmith says:

    You just saved me so much time, angst and several calls to the help support line. Thank you for posting this! I thought I was going crazy.

  16. Teehiett says:

    Thanks for the help — really a great posting.

  17. Wilco says:

    Thanks! I was searching for an answer to this problem. The website of Microsoft Office couldn’t help me, Google couldn’t help me, lots of forums did not help me, but your website was the only one which instantly solved my problems. Many thanks.

  18. NoIT says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I used your “Quick Fix” solution–make Microsoft XPS Document default. I had to close all my XLS files and re-opened. Now I don’t have to open a case at work and wait for someone in IT to call me.

  19. Cameron says:

    Thanks for this page.
    Just to let you and your readers know that the problem also exists in Excel 2010.
    It applies to both .xls and .xlsx files.

  20. Daniel says:

    I just googled my Excel graphing problem and came across this post, which describes exactly what happened to my spreadsheets (I installed a labelwriter at the weekend and Microsoft made it my default printer even though I don’t keep it connected) and gave me the solution.

    Thank you!

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