[SOLVED] Excel Cannot Open The File Issue on Windows 11/10

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Excel is a powerful widely used tool deeply related to our daily work. It would be frustrating to see the message: Excel cannot open the file ‘xxxxx.xlsx’ because the file format or file extension is not valid. We need working fixes to solve the problem as soon as possible! And this post is here to help.

In most cases, Excel cannot open the file error happens when the file is corrupted or the version is not compatible which leads to the Excel application running error. You can solve the problem by repairing the file or changing it to a compatible version. However, sometimes other elements lead to the error and we have possible methods to help.

Method 1: Change the file format

When the file is not compatible with the excel-version, you may receive this error message. There is a simple fix you can try, it has helped many users.

Note: This method may cause accidental damage to files, so try this method on a copy!
  1. Copy and paste the file to your desktop to prevent accidental damage.
  2. If you can’t see the file extensions, open File Explorer.
  3. Click View on the top menu, click Show and check File name extensions. Then you’ll see extensions appear on your file name.
  4. Right-click on your file and rename the extension from ‘.xlsx’ to ‘.xls’. You’ll receive a warning, click Yes.
  5. Press the Windows key + R together on your keyboard to open the Run box.
  6. Type excel.exe /safe and press the Enter key, or click OK.
  7. In the Excel application, click File > Open to open the renamed file.
  8. You’ll receive another warning. Click Yes and you’ll see the contents of the file.

If this method doesn’t work, move to the next method.

Method 2: Use the Open and Repair feature

When the file is corrupted, you may encounter the excel file cannot open issue. You can try Excel’s Open and Repair feature to solve the problem.

  1. Launch Excel on your computer.
  2. Browse the folders to find the file you wish to use.
  3. Expand the Open drop-down menu. Choose Open and Repair… option.
  4. Choose Repair to fix it.

If the Excel repair feature doesn’t fix the corrupted file or recover the data, you can use a third-party tool to repair the Excel file so that you can access its data.

Stellar Repair for Excel software can help repair severely corrupted XLS and XLSX files. Also, it helps recover all the file components, including tables, pivot tables, cell comments, charts, chart sheets, images, formulas, etc., without impacting the original structure of the Excel file. 

  1. Free download and install the Stellar Repair for Excel.
  2. Run Stellar Repair for Excel.
  3. Click Browse to select your corrupted excel file. If you don’t know the file location, you can click Search to search for the file.
  4. Select the file you want to repair and click Repair and the Stellar Repair for Excel will start the process.
  5. The software scans the file record and list on the tree view in the right panel. Click on a file on the right, you’ll see its preview in the middle pane.
  6. Select the file that you want to recover and click Save file to save the repaired excel file.
  7. Open the excel file.

If this method doesn’t help, you can move to the next method.

Method 3: Edit the file permissions

Did you receive the excel file from others? If so, you may receive the error message because of lacking sufficient permission to open the file. Follow the steps to grant permission to open the excel file.

  1. Right-click on the Excel file and select Properties.
  2. Choose the Security tab, and then hit the Edit button.
  3. Click Add > Advanced.
  4. Click Find Now and find Everyone in the list. Hit OK.
  5. You can see Everyone in the box. Click OK.
  6. Choose Everyone and hit Apply > OK.
  7. Open the excel file again to see if it works.

Method 4: Relaunch OneDrive

Is the file synchronized by OneDrive? If it’s a Yes, then OneDrive could be the culprit for the issue. When the file of OneDrive is not yet synced to your machine, you can’t open the file and receive the error message.

  1. Launch the OneDrive app and log in.
  2. Locate the file and double-click on the file to download it from the cloud.
  3. Open the file.
  4. If the file can’t open, you can right-click on the file, and click Version history.
  5. Try the prior versions until you find the one that works.

Repair Excel files on Mac OS

Excel cannot open the file because the file format or file extension is not valid error could also bother Mac users, and methods are way less than Windows system users. But don’t worry, this all-in-one tool would help restore corrupted excel files easily and efficiently on Mac.

Wondershare Recoverit is a great tool to help you get back your data on Mac system, only 3 steps and missing files are back!

  1. Download and install the Wondershare Recoverit for Mac.
  2. Launch the app and click File Repair tab. Add your broken files.
  3. Click Repair to start the process.
  4. You can preview the files to see if it is what you need. Then save the repaired file.

That’s it. Hope you can open the Excel file without any problems. Thanks to different devices and environments, these methods may not work for everyone.
If you have other working fixes or questions, you can leave a comment below.

By Iris Zheng

Iris is a writer who covers almost everything from beauty to technology, fitness, home decoration and etc. No matter what she wrote, she always brings true and useful information for readers.

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