“Excel Services is unable to process the request. Wait a few minutes and try performing this operation again.”

On your Sharepoint 2010 site users are uploading Excel files. Excel 2003 files (xls) will work ok and will open in Excel when you click them. On the other hand – when you have xlsx file it will try to open in xls viewer inside your browser. In some circumstances (I will describe it in this post) it will fail. User will get an error:

“Excel Services is unable to process the request. Wait a few minutes and try performing this operation again.”

Investigation steps:

  1. Check if your excel services is running
  2. Check if your server have this hotfix installed : KB976462  – I had this installed but error was still there http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/976462?p=1
  3. Myth busted – you dont need Office Web Apps installed to make it work – don’t bother installing it.
  4. Check if your web application has Excel service connection – this part was missing in my case. Go to Central Admin > Manage Webapplications. Click application that hosts your site collection. Click “Service Connections”. Check if your Excel Service Application is ticked. If not change connections from default to custom and tick this Service.

If, for some reason, you don’t want files to be open in browser but you want them to be always open in client application, you can do it in two ways:

1. All sites at once – this is tricky but you need to go to Central Administration > Site Settings > Site collection features and turn on this feature – “Open Documents in Client Application By Default”. Yes, feature for Central Admin site will influence every site in your farm (interesting…)

2. On document library level – you can go to Library Settings > Advanced settings and change “Default open behavior for browser-enabled documents” to “  – This will change behaviour only for this one document library

12 Responses to ““Excel Services is unable to process the request. Wait a few minutes and try performing this operation again.””

  1. Benjamin Krueger

    I had to enable the feature on SiteCollection Level also. But after that in worked! Great Post!

  2. Surush Cyrus

    Great post after I did all the steps that you and Beni had, I had to restart the SharePoint app pool. Then start working:)

  3. msbuzzz

    Hi Friend,
    I am getting this error in my site also. However as you stated in your step 4. I dont have an Excel Service Application listed there (Even in custom mode).
    Plz help me on this. Thank you !!

    • horsik

      Hi msbuzzz, did you created Excel service application? Go to application management >manage service applications to check this out

    • horsik

      Check if you have Excel service application in your central admin site (“manage service applications”). You may need to create it first.

      • msbuzzz

        Hi horsik,
        Thank u for your reply, however i afraid you already replied to this question. :)

  4. msbuzzz

    Thank you Horzik, That was the problem, since I never created an Excel service application , it did’t appear there. Now everything working great :)

  5. figo86

    dears, I found the solution in this blog.
    Now it’s working with me. :)


  6. Antti Kärki

    Tanks, solved my problem too

  7. terriyaki0212

    You mentioned you don’t need Office Web Apps to make this work. Is there a difference like added functionality to the Excel files if you have them installed?

  8. brandonmichaelhunter

    Is the opening behavior the same for mobile views?

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    [...] Collection Features and activate “Open Documents in Client Applications by Default”. (mentioned here, and yes… it doesn’t make sense as to why this should be the [...]


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