ACL tip: “Unfreezing ACL”

Occasionally when using ACL, the application appears to freeze when I open a dialog box. So I restart ACL and it works fine until I repeat the action that “froze” it in the first place. For me, it always happens when I open the Edit Layout dialog box to create a computed field. Never any other window.

Or in ACL terms, also known as “What happened to the Edit Layout screen?”

Note to non-ACL users: This problem isn’t particular to ACL, so you might want to read the “Finding the Cause” topic below before you blow off this post entirely.

I’ve noticed that this only occurs after I last used ACL on a 2-monitor system. The setup I normally use is my laptop screen plus an additional monitor.  But when I’m at home or on the road and only have my laptop, fire up ACL, and go to Edit, Layout, the problem occurs: apparent ACL freeze with every other application working.

You’ll know you’re having this problem when you notice the following:

  • You can’t do anything in ACL.
  • The main ACL screen is greyed out (in other words, it’s not active because another screen/dialog box is active–more on that later).
  • Checking Task Manager indicates that ACL is “Running” instead of “Not Responding”.
  • You have an urgent ACL project in process that’s past deadline already.

We first look at the fix, then the cause…

Fixing the Freeze

  1. Click the icon in your taskbar (bottom of window) to active the “frozen” application (in this case, ACL).
  2. From your keyboard, hold ALT and press the SPACE BAR.
  3. Then press M once.
  4. Using your cursor keys, press the LEFT and UP arrow keys a dozen or so times (alternate between LEFT and UP). At this point, a portion of the Table Layout window should show up on your screen. If it does not, keep pressing LEFT and UP arrow keys a dozen more times.
  5. Once the Table Layout dialog box appears on screen, press ENTER. You should now be able to use your mouse to drag the Table Layout dialog box back in full view so you can see it.
  6. Close the Table Layout dialog box and save your project. Then open Edit, Layout again to ensure the Table Layout dialog box stays visible.

If this doesn’t work, in step #2, instead of M, press the X key. You can also try RIGHT and DOWN arrow keys in step #3.

Finding the Cause

When I’m using my 2-monitor system, I keep my laptop screen as the primary monitor, start ACL, and then drag it to my secondary monitor, which is larger than my laptop screen. So when I click Edit, Layout, the Table Layout dialog box pops open on my primary monitor.

I don’t like to split an application between 2 monitors, so I drag the open dialog box from my primary monitor to my secondary screen. Because my secondary screen is NOT my desktop (again, I could configure that way, but I don’t for reasons that aren’t relevant here), I just created my “freeze problem”.  The next time I use ACL on my laptop without the secondary monitor, the dialog box pops onto my non-existent secondary monitor and I can’t see it. Because the dialog box is open, ACL appears frozen, because you can’t do anything else before you close the dialog box.

This occasionally happens with applications besides ACL, so the fix above will work for those application also. The reason I positioned this issue as an “ACL freeze” is because I originally thought that this was an ACL-specific problem and figured all those frustrated ACL auditors and users would google “ACL Edit Layout Freeze” like I did.

I realize that most people aren’t going to use  my “strange” 2-monitor setup and have these issues, but for those 5 or 7 others out there in the blogsphere who have a twisted intellect like mine, I found a fix. For all the rest of you, hopefully you found this interesting anyway or you got a good giggle at my expense.

As always, if you’ve experienced this issue with ACL or another application and this fix helped you, let us know. Or take a swipe at me if you want.

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See also in this blog:

Teach Yourself ACL (Skyyler’s most popular post)

ACL tip: Rerun a Join Easily

Other posts that Skyyler wrote or was mentioned in

All ACL-related posts



Filed under ACL, Audit, Data Analytics, How to..., Written by Skyyler

8 responses to “ACL tip: “Unfreezing ACL”

  1. Steve Rummel

    I thank you, my staff thanks you, and my clients, whose work is a week past due thanks to this infuriating issue, thank you!


  2. Steve,
    Glad to help. I know what this is like and I nearly went insane myself. So when I found the answer, I knew I had to get the word out. I get a lot of hits on this post, but you’re the first who has been kind enough to take 37 seconds and leave a comment. So, thank YOU!


  3. Bernard Yong

    Thank you very much for this…I’ve been trying to figure out what was wrong. Uninstall and re-install ACL many times and it didn’t work. You’re a LEGEND!


  4. Ramesh Raman

    Thanks… a perfect solution to an insane problem… saved my day.


  5. Stephen

    thanks so much for this – have had this issue many MANY times and have lost vast amounts of work thanks to it. never been able to get a satisfactory workaround so am bookmarking this page now… many thanks!


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