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JGIT
New Member

Excel Task remains running after Close Excel Command completed

Hi. I have multiple PAD flows running that work with excel spreadsheets. If the spreadsheets are saved only in a local folder, then closing excel command completes fine but if the spreadsheet is saved to a synced sharepoint folder then close excel command completes ok in PAD but I get errors in subsequent runs as the excel task is still running (Task Manager confims it is still running but using 0% memory etc). If i stop the task running manually all works well again. 

I do need the spreadsheets to be synced as I access them from elsewhere too. I could move the spreadsheets to dedicated local file and then add a later step in the relevant PAD flows to copy the updated file to sharepoint but was wondering if anyone clever has worked out how to properly close excel when working with sharepoint located files?

 

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

Accepted Solutions
VJR
Multi Super User
Multi Super User

Hi @JGIT 

 

Try killing/terminating Excel.exe process after the first work is done and before reusing Excel for something else.

View solution in original post

Agnius
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

@JGIT , this is a completely different issue. It's not closing the Excel that fails, its the Sync with OneDrive or SharePoint that makes your Excel flows fail. This happens a lot when writing (updating content) to Excel on such auto-synced network locations. We generally avoid doing that and if it ever is relevant, we copy the files locally, do any required adjustments and then push it to OD/SP afterwards.

 

Reading such files is more or less okay. But as soon as any updates are involved, it tends to crash because of the auto-sync happening in the background. The only viable workaround for this is changing your SP settings to disable auto-sync and then manually pushing the files in.

 

If you terminate the Excel process, you will actually end up with your files not getting synced properly, meaning that the next flow will use outdated files in SP.

 

The other option is to do it via PA Cloud flows, which have direct integrations with files on SP, meaning you can read/write files from SharePoint in a safer way.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If I have answered your question, please mark it as the preferred solution. If you like my response, please give it a Thumbs Up.
Regards, Agnius Bartninkas

View solution in original post

12 REPLIES 12
VJR
Multi Super User
Multi Super User

Hi @JGIT 

 

Try killing/terminating Excel.exe process after the first work is done and before reusing Excel for something else.

Thanks - that makes sense! Will try it and advise. 

 

I'm guessing that the Close Excel action follows other Excel actions? Try inserting a Wait before closing.

I've had similar issues, where PAD seems to try to close the file, while still reading from it or something. This results in the process locking up - not failing, but not continuing either. Resulting in a complete halt of the entire robot.

Adding Waits before the Close Excel fixed it.

Seems to be a problem with shared files (we sync all local files with OneDrive).

Terminating gthe process excel.exe has worked as one solution. I think excel is staying open after the close command as it is checking to see if its in sync with sharepoint/onedrive. Ive tried a wait before close and a wait after close but it seems to need a terminate process command to really close. 

Agnius
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

The excel.exe process does end properly after some time. Also, usually takes a little longer if you save when closing, rather than explicitly saving changes via the Save Excel action.

Terminating the process should not be considered as a 'Solution', because that is in general one of the worst ways of going about it. It is the app that is not closed right away, not the document. You can verify that by trying to launch it again right after closing and you will see that there are no issues with the document being open.

So, by terminating the process, you're basically braking the normal flow of Excel as an application, which is never a good thing. You should only do that in cases where not doing it prevents your flow from operating properly. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If I have answered your question, please mark it as the preferred solution. If you like my response, please give it a Thumbs Up.
Regards, Agnius Bartninkas

Thanks - I have explicitly saved the excel instance/file. I have then set wait periods then set excel to close the instance and have then set further wait periods before attempting to continue with the flow/starting another flow that requires excel. In every case I end up with flow fails and multiple excel processes remaining open. 

Agnius
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

You should also investigate the root cause behind the failure. Perhaps it fails before it actually closes the Excel instance?

Also, you might as well continue with the flow even if the Excel process is running. As noted, some Excel processes continue running after closing the document. This simply means the app itself has not stopped yet, but the document is closed, meaning it should not affect any further actions in your flow whatsoever. You can thus continue, regardless of whether the process is running or not.

 

You can also check if the specific Excel instance is alive or not by checking the handle on the instance variable.

If %ExcelInstance.Handle% is not empty (can only be empty before opening Excel) and is not equal to 0, the Excel instance is alive. If it is equal to 0, the instance has successfully been closed, meaning the document is no longer open.

 

We usually do it as follows:

IF the instance is alive, we give it up to 5 seconds for the process to stop.

If it then does not stop, we run a PowerShell script to close the Excel app:

$excel = [Runtime.Interopservices.Marshal]::GetActiveObject('Excel.Application')
$excel.Visible = $false
$excel.DisplayAlerts = $false

$excel.Quit()
[System.Runtime.Interopservices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($excel)
Remove-Variable -Name Excel 
[GC]::Collect() 
[GC]::WaitForPendingFinalizers()
if ($excel.Workbooks.Count -eq 0)
{
    Stop-Process -Name EXCEL -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
}

 If this still does not close all Excel processes, then we terminate it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If I have answered your question, please mark it as the preferred solution. If you like my response, please give it a Thumbs Up.
Regards, Agnius Bartninkas

Thanks again. Very useful. The flow continues and finishes fine. It's the next flow that fails as it is unable to open an excel file. The excel process is open and alive and effectively blocking opening another excel file (which happens to have the same name as the web backend always calls the downloads the same name - for the avoidance of doubt, i have deleted the previous file and even tried adding in a renaming step so that the subsquent flow can succeed - which it does but I then end up with multiple excel processes remaining live and the problem is exacerbated).

 

Closing excel works fine when the excel files are locally saved and not synced elsewhere. It only occurs with excel files that are autosaved to sharepoint. 

Agnius
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

@JGIT , this is a completely different issue. It's not closing the Excel that fails, its the Sync with OneDrive or SharePoint that makes your Excel flows fail. This happens a lot when writing (updating content) to Excel on such auto-synced network locations. We generally avoid doing that and if it ever is relevant, we copy the files locally, do any required adjustments and then push it to OD/SP afterwards.

 

Reading such files is more or less okay. But as soon as any updates are involved, it tends to crash because of the auto-sync happening in the background. The only viable workaround for this is changing your SP settings to disable auto-sync and then manually pushing the files in.

 

If you terminate the Excel process, you will actually end up with your files not getting synced properly, meaning that the next flow will use outdated files in SP.

 

The other option is to do it via PA Cloud flows, which have direct integrations with files on SP, meaning you can read/write files from SharePoint in a safer way.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If I have answered your question, please mark it as the preferred solution. If you like my response, please give it a Thumbs Up.
Regards, Agnius Bartninkas
Anonymous
Not applicable

Ashleypettit1_0-1659576399473.png

Ashleypettit1_1-1659576437975.png

Importantly this works most of the time yet not all the time. Thus I'm going to use the powershell script someone provided above. 

 

I also use OneDrive so perhaps this is related. That said what I'm doing is running terminate excel and yet under task manager -> details I can see excel is still running. Perhaps this is the sync to Onedrive discussed above. 

 

The reason this is annoying for me is I run rather long/complex flows. These flows occasionally run into random errors and if they do and the error is not locally handled then it restarts the flow. If excel remains open from the failed run then the subsent run will error saying the file is already open somewhere else.

 

Anonymous
Not applicable

On terminate excel, excel getting corrupted, is there any way to to close all running excel safely

@Anonymous 

The only way of properly closing excel which also works fine is by the in-built action given by PAD ie; Close Excel which closes the ExcelInstance opened by the Launch Excel action.

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