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How to Fix Unable to Open Excel File? Solved

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On April 22nd, 2024
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

Microsoft Excel is used by organizations large and small to manage their financial data, daily work reports, and other tasks. Since Excel is an important program that helps to organize, analyze, and visualize the required information you need to protect your data. However, many users often encounter a common error when opening a file in Excel, especially when they are “unable to open Excel file”. 

It becomes very irritating when users have spent hours of work to make their spreadsheet and due to this error, they can’t have access to all that information anymore. But, you don’t need to worry anymore as in this article we will be providing you with the best solutions to fix cannot open Excel file issue. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What are the Reasons for Excel File not Opening Issue?
  2. Manual Method to Resolve Unable to Open Excel File Error
  3. Automated Solution to Fix Can’t Open Excel File Issue
  4. Step by Step Guide for the Professional Software
  5. Remarkable Characteristics of the Automated Solution
  6. Conclusion & FAQs

What are the Reasons for Excel File not Opening Issue?

When using Excel, you may see the following message: Excel cannot open the file because the file extension or format is invalid. This can happen for the following reasons:

  • Your Excel data file may be corrupted because of various reasons, for example, abrupt system shutdowns, storage media errors, software crashes, etc., and thus it displays the error message upon opening. 
  • There can also be certain compatibility issues, for example, when users attempt to open their old Excel files in new versions of Excel, and this can lead to unable to open Excel file issue. 
  • Many times users’ Excel files consist of Macros or certain add-ins that may be leading to issues because of certain embedded scripts or compatibility errors, which as a result trigger security warnings resulting in blocking access to the file. 
  • It is implicit that large Excel files consist of complex calculations, use of more formulas, etc., and hence require significant system resources to open this file, but if the system lacks adequate memory or processing capability then it is certain to face issues while opening such files. 
  • Certain Excel security settings especially those related to macro security, protected view, etc. can have an impact on the file opening process, hence, these settings can block the opening of files and users cannot open Excel file. 

Manual Method to Resolve Unable to Open Excel File Error

  • To Open MS Excel Application, go to the Start menu and click on the Run option. Alternatively, you can press Windows + R
  • Next, enter excel.exe/safe in the command prompt to Run the MS Excel in safe made
  • Open your Excel File. This time, you will not face Excel not responding to errors anymore.

Take Help of ‘Open & Repair’ Feature

  1. Launch the Excel Application and click on the File button.
  2. Go to the Open option.
  3. From the Open window, Click File and go to the Open drop-down tab.
  4. Hit the button and Choose Open and Repair.

As you can see the manual method to solve cannot open Excel data file error consists of a lot of steps and things that you have to be careful about in order to successfully complete this process without leading to any data loss. Therefore, you should opt for a more secure and automated solution that doesn’t require any technical expertise to solve the unable to open Excel file error with all original data.

Automated Solution to Fix Excel File Not Opening Issue

Manual solutions can’t resolve the “Cannot Open Excel File” error, there is always an option to use the expert suggested Excel Recovery Tool. This application can fix this error occurring in XLSX and Open XML files. This application only focuses on recovering Excel workbook data from corrupted Excel files rather than modifying the contents. This utility will not change the layout, formatting, hyperlinks, formulas, worksheet structure or anything else after the repair process. The user gets the same original content in the resulting file saved in the corrupted file.

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Developed with the latest technology and packed with amazing features, this software is a reliable solution to recover corrupt Excel files compared to the manual method described here. This application is also easy to use. It is compatible with the 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2021 versions. This provides an easy to use interface for naïve users. Try the demo version of this utility available on the website.

Related Blog: How to Recover Data from Corrupt Excel File?

Step by Step Guide to Resolve Unable to Open Excel File

You just have to follow the guidelines given below:

  1. Download Excel Repair Tool on Windows platform.Download the Excel Recovery Software
  2. Select 3 Options : Add File, Add Folder & Search File.Add Excel file
  3. Preview entire Excel sheet. Preview Whole files
  4. Choose desired Excel File from your system location that you need to repair. the, Hit on “Open”
  5. Click the desired Excel file using checkbox, click on “Repair” to proceed with the repair process.Repair

Remarkable Characteristics of the Automated Solution 

The above mentioned tool to solve unable to open Excel file issue has multiple remarkable characteristics that makes it a go to solution for users to resolve this error, in the below mentioned points we have discussed some of the prominent features. 

  • The tool has the capability to recover all the content from single as well as multiple corrupted workbooks and can also auto detect the damaged Excel files in one go.
  • Users can repair the Excel Workbook, XML Spreadsheet, and also retrieve all user data from multiple worksheets of various MS Office versions (2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007).
  • It provides users with a preview of complete data, including graphical charts, pivot table, images, etc. of the corrupt workbook before saving it to the selected destination.  
  • The tool provides users with the original file content after completion of the recovery process without any modification in the layout, formatting, formula, structure, hyperlink, etc. of the Excel sheet and manages the entire process in an efficient manner. 

Final Words

Hope this article helps you to fix this error. Here, we have discussed how to fix the “Unable to Open Excel file” error. We have tried our best to offer a solution to correct the error. However, if you are considering using a manual solution to fix the problem. So think twice. Also, we suggest a solution to eliminate this error. In such a condition, users should go for a professional tool that can easily fix Excel file not opening error.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q.1 What are the common reasons for issues in opening my Excel file?

Ans. There are multiple reasons why users might be facing this error, some of the most common ones are file corruption, macro errors, compatibility issues, insufficient system resources, security settings, etc. 

Q.2 How to resolve the Excel file not opening issue?

Ans. Users can attempt to resolve this issue by using MS Excel’s built-in repair options, that is “Open and Repair”, users can also consider using the automated solution as discussed above to recover all data in its original format. 

Q.3 What measures can I take to prevent these Excel file opening issues?

Ans. The most effective way to avoid Excel file opening issues would be to create a backup of your Excel files on a regular basis and use the trusted sources in order to download the Excel files on your computer. 


By Ashwani Tiwari

I am an Expert Technical Analyst, specialized in assisting users with complex technological challenges. Through my blogs and articles, I offer expert guidance to help tackle these technical issues effectively. My true passion lies in providing valuable insights and simplifying complicated technicalities, enhancing user understanding and confidence.