I encountered the same issue yesterday. I'm on Tableau Desktop 2019.4.1 and my Worksheet has 4 Dimensions and 1,448 marks.
When I select Export > Crosstab to Excel, a new Excel workbook is opened in Excel and my cursor continually flashes, and the scroll bar gets shorter and shorter.
If I click a cell in the Excel workbook, the export process is interrupted and the error message (Unable to complete action | Error sending crosstab to Excel) is displayed in Tableau Desktop.
I think the message should be modified to something like "Process was interrupted | Unable to complete action | Clicking the Excel workbook will interrupt the export process"
Typically this behavior have different root causes.
The knowledge base article below document the behavior and provide a set of resolution options.
Hope this helps!
I've had this issue as well. I've learned, once I start an export, do not touch Excel until it is complete. Clicking on a field in Tableau, if it does not become active, I do NOTHING in Excel. Once a field becomes active, it is safe to go into Excel (based on my experience).
According to my IT department, only one version of Excel is running. I even received an upgraded computer. On my previous computer, everything worked fine for about a year. Then I started receiving this error. Could something have changed with one of the updates to Tableau?
The KB article Sebastian links too is a good start. Other things to check before starting the export that might cause the export to stop working, eg barf:
Do you have any open dialogue boxes open in Excel?
Save as dialogue box?
Pretty much anything that requires user input in Excel will cause the export to barf. You can test this out yourself by opening an excel file and hitting save as (don't actually save). Then try to export. it'll immediately barf.
So as a sanity check, I make sure all instances of Excel are closed before the export. To keep from clicking on the file I go grab a cup of coffee.
I still have the issue of doing an export of a crosstab into Excel. A work-a-round I stumbled across gets the data out, albeit not the format I'd prefer, is if I go to the pull-down menu: Worksheet - Copy - Crosstab. Then I can go to any session of Excel, existing or new, and simply paste the data.
If I want to view it in a different format, a simple pivot table will do the trick.