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How to Fix “Retrieving Data. Wait a Few Seconds” Error in Microsoft Excel

Learn how to retrieving data wait a few seconds and try to cut or copy again error through different methods.

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While working with online Excel, you may encounter an error saying, “Retrieving data, wait a few seconds and try to cut or copy again”, which can be frustrating while working with sheets when you already have a lot of pressure.

So, in this tutorial, I will address the reasons behind this error and explain how you can solve it in multiple ways.

Possible reasons behind this error

This error usually happens when a user attempts to paste the data into Microsoft Excel Online indicating it needs more time, resources, or both to process the information you want to paste.

So here are some possible reasons behind the “Retrieving data wait a few seconds and try to cut or copy again” error:

  • Data processing delay: By far, this is the most common reason where the data that you would like to paste is a large dataset and your system simply wants you to wait for a little while to process the given instruction.
  • Network issues: If you are working with limited and slow bandwidth, your system may take a while to paste the data and Excel throws you this error due to the network delay.
  • Synchronization issues: When working with Excel or any other office application, it keeps a temporary copy for synchronization purposes. Sometimes, the sync between the temp and the actual file causes a conflict and gives you a “Retrieving data” error.
  • Temporary glitches: Occasionally, Excel online may encounter a bug or a glitch that may throw this error.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can fix this error.

Fixing the “Retrieving Data. Wait a Few Seconds” error

In this section, I will walk you through 4 ways you can fix the “Retrieving data” as giving a single solution is not ideal for every user. In simple terms, if one method does not work for you then you can try the other one and get the error solved.

Method 1: Deselect the text, wait, and then try again

By far, this is the easiest and quickest way to solve the “Retrieving data” error, and there’s a reason behind this.

The most common reason behind this error is that Excel Online is asking you to wait for some time, as the data you are trying to paste here requires more resources than is available.

To follow this approach, you follow 3 simple steps:

  • Step 1: Deselect the text/data that you are trying to copy and paste.
  • Step 2: Wait for a while (one or two minutes are enough) before jumping to the 3rd step.
  • Step 3: Select the text or fields that you are trying to copy and then paste them again.

That’s it.

Method 2: Download the offline copy of the document

For some reason, if you are having trouble pasting data in Excel even after waiting for a while (mentioned in the first method), then downloading an offline copy and then pasting data can solve this error.

To download the offline copy of the Excel file, first, open the Excel online file and click on the File option from the top menu:

Once you click on the File, it will show you various options. From there, click on Save As and choose the second last option saying Download a Copy to download the offline file:

After downloading the file, you can open it in the desktop version of Microsoft Excel and paste the data. If you don’t have access to the desktop edition, then you can use LibreOffice, a free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Method 3: Clear browser’s cache

I know clearing the browser cache may not sound like a huge deal but when I had the “Retrieving data” error, this method solved my problem, so why not share this with others?

If you are using a modern browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, then you can open the Clear Browsing Data prompt by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Delete key:

Here, you can choose the time range and what you want to be removed.

I recommend choosing the All time in the time range section and check the Cookies and other site data so you don’t remove your history and cached images as shown here:

Once done, restart your browser and re-login to Office Online to access your Excel Online sheet and try pasting data again.

Method 4: Change the browser

Yes, I’m dead serious. While most browsers are Chromium-based, each follows a different update cycle. So there might be a bug in your browser that is yet to be fixed by your browser developer, and chances are pretty high that it is already fixed by the other browser.

In most cases, switching to something popular will solve this issue. I would recommend choosing between Google Chrome and Firefox, as they both use a different engine.

If you don’t want to change your browser, then switching to the development branch of your current browser may also solve this problem.

Frequently asked questions

1. Why is Excel saying retrieving data?

The message “Retrieving data” usually appears in the online version of Excel Online, and it simply means that Excel is fetching the latest version of the data before allowing you to paste it.

2. Why my Excel freezing?

Excel may freeze while opening files due to various reasons, including corrupted data, problematic file formats, or extra add-ons that conflict with Excel’s functionality. To solve this issue, open Excel in safe mode and disable add-ons (if any). You can also use the built-in tools to find and repair the problem.


In this tutorial, I went through 4 ways to explain how to solve the “Retrieving data wait a few seconds” error in Excel. As I mentioned earlier, the root cause of this problem is that the data that you want to process is large and needs more resources or time (or both), and for most users, the first method will get the job done.

But if the error still persists, then please drop a comment, and we’ll reach out to you with a solution. If you are going through a different error and want us to write a how-to tutorial on that topic, then feel free to as us through comments.

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Sagar Sharma
Sagar Sharma

Sagar always uses Linux to its core and loves to write the technical side of system administration! While he's not writing for GeniusGeeks, you can find him writing for core linux blogs like IT'SFOSS.com and LinuxHandBook.com

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