How to disable Preview pane in File Explorer

To let the add-in work correctly, prevent Excel from crashing, and avoid other issues

The Preview pane in Windows Explorer is a headache for many Excel users, but most of them don't even know about it. Excel may just quietly crash, warn that some workbooks are already open in another application, work slowly, or refuse to run any add-ins. In general, nothing says that the Preview pane is the cause of the problem. One can find plenty of discussion on the Web about the troubles this pane causes starting from Office 2007. A bunch of bug reports has been sent to Microsoft, but the problem has not been solved yet. Therefore, we recommend turning the Preview pane off to avoid unpleasant surprises it might bring you.

Open File Explorer

Note. If you have numerous File Explorers opened, close all of them except for one.

There are several ways to open File Explorer:

  • Press Win + E on your keyboard.
  • Click the File Explorer icon on the taskbar (normally, it is in the bottom left corner near the Start button):
    The File Explorer shortcut on the taskbar.
  • If you like it more complicated or the previous ways didn't work for any reasons, you can use Windows Search. Click the Start button in the bottom left corner and type in "File Explorer":
    Open File Explorer.

Turn Preview pane off

In File Explorer, click on the View tab. In the Panes group, you will see the Preview pane icon. In the screenshot below, the Preview pane in enabled, as seen by the blue background it has and the field on the right:
Go to the View tab.
To disable the Preview pane, simply click it once. Also, you can use the Alt + P shortcut.

Note. If you use Windows 7, find the Organize group, open the Layout context menu, and click Preview pane. Find more detailed instructions for Windows 7 here.

Now the Preview pane is disabled and you can proceed to work with the Ablebits tools:
Preview Pane is disabled.


Tobias Gathergood says:
December 19, 2023 at 1:40 am

As it turns out the viewpane on my desktop was already off. These PDF files will not delete, cannot be renamed or moved. The one thing they all have in common apart from being PDFs , is that their names are really long.

Hey thanks for the help. The preveiw stuff was really getting on my nerves, I mean everytime I wanted to open any document it would take its time, especialy if am selcting it to be copied somewhere else and its pretty heavy

Post a comment

Seen by everyone, do not publish license keys and sensitive personal info!

If you have any questions or issues with this add-in, please feel free to post your concerns in the comments area. As soon as we answer, a notification message will be sent to your e-mail. If you do not want to share your thoughts in public, please contact us at