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An Ultimate Guide to Fix "Excel Cannot Open the Files" Issue: Every Possible Solution

A while back, when I wanted to load an important worksheet on my computer, I kept getting an error prompt instead. For instance, the application kept displaying the message that “Excel Cannot Open the File” due to some or other reason.

Since there could be so many reasons behind this logical error, it is important to diagnose it first. Therefore, to help you fix the “Excel Cannot Open the Files”issue, I have come up with all kinds of solutions to troubleshoot the problem in this post.

excel cannot open files error

Part 1: Common Symptoms and Reasons for Getting these Excel Errors

Before we discuss different solutions to fix the “Excel Cannot Open the Files” issue, let’s quickly have a look at some of the common symptoms behind this error and what could have caused it.

  • Excel File with an Invalid Format

This is the most common instance of the error in which the application is not able to load a file due to an invalid format. That is, the file format for the document could not be supported by MS Excel.

  • The Excel File Extension is Not Valid

You might already know that Excel only supports XLS and XLSX file formats. Therefore, if you are trying to open files of any other extension, then you might get a similar prompt on Excel.

  • Corrupt Excel File

Furthermore, the Excel file that you are trying to load might be corrupted or damaged due to any possible reason (like the mishandling of the document, malware attack, incomplete downloading, and so on).

  • Permission Conflict

Besides that, chances are that you might not have the needed permissions to access the Excel document or make changes in it.

  • Other Reasons

If you are not able to load an Excel file, then it could be resulted due to any other reason like the document could be edited several times, a plugin might have corrupted it, or any third-party application can stop it from loading completely.

excel file corruption error

Part 2: Proven Solutions to Fix the “Excel Cannot Open the Files” Issue

Now when you know the common reasons behind this Excel-related issue, let’s learn how to fix it by applying the following suggestions:

Fix 1: Check and Change the Extension of the Worksheet

One of the most common reasons for getting these issues is when we try to open an unsupported file with MS Excel. Since Excel only supports XLS and XLSX formats, worksheets of any other format won’t be opened on it.

At first, you can just check the present file format/extension of the worksheet. To do that, just right-click the worksheet and go to its properties from its context menu. As the properties window is opened, go to its “General” tab, and check its extension under the File Type feature.

excel file type check

In case the file is of any other format, then you can simply use any reliable online or offline application to convert it to an Excel-supported format. You can simply upload the worksheet and select XLS or XLSX as a target format to make sure it would be supported by Excel.

convert files to excel formats

Fix 2: Use the Open and Repair Feature of Excel to Fix Minor Errors

If there is a minor issue with your Excel files, then you can also use the inbuilt feature of the application to repair your documents. To make it easier for us to fix minor problems with Excel, Word, and PowerPoint applications, MS Office has come up with an inbuilt repairing feature.

Therefore, if you want to fix “Excel cannot open file” issue, then start by launching the MS Excel application on your system. Now, go to its Menu > File > Open and simply locate the Excel file you want to repair.

excel open and repair

Once the Excel file is selected, click on the dropdown button adjacent to the “Open” feature. From here, you can select the “Open and Repair” feature instead that would repair the selected Excel file before loading it on the application.

Fix 3: Change the Group Permission Settings of the Excel Document

If you are not the administrator or have the needed privileges, then you might find it hard to open certain Excel documents. Therefore, to fix “Excel file cannot be opened” issue, you can consider editing its group permissions.

For this, you can just locate the Excel file that you are not able to open, right-click to go to its properties, and visit its “Security” tab. Now, click on the “Edit” button to change the preferences of the Excel document.

excel file properties

As its dedicated window is opened, you can click on the “Add” button to select existing users or add a new one.

excel files add users

From here, you can select the “Everyone” category to implement changes for any user who wants to access the file.

excel files everyone permissions

Once this category is added, you can just select the “Everyone” group from here. Now, you can just provide permissions to read, write, and perform other operations on the Excel document for any user.

change excel file permissions

Fix 4: Use Wondershare Repairit for Fix Damaged or Corrupt Excel Files

Lastly, if there is a more severe issue with your Excel documents, then you can consider using Wondershare Repairit - File Repair. The application is quite easy to use and can fix all kinds of issues with your files like the Excel document is not loading, corrupt file, header issues, and so on. Apart from Excel, Repairit can also fix files of other formats such as Word, PowerPoint, and PDF.

To fix the "Excel file not opening" issue with the help of Wondershare Repairit – File Repair, you can simply follow these instructions:

Step 1: Locate and Load your Damaged Excel Worksheets

You can start by installing and launching Wondershare Repairit on your system and visiting the “File Repair” feature from the side. Now, click on the “Add” button to simply locate and load any corrupt Excel documents.


Step 2: Repair the Loaded Excel Files on Repairit

Once the Excel documents are loaded, you can check their details and can also add/remove anything from here. To start the process, you can just click on the “Repair” button.


You can now just sit back and wait for a while as the application would start the repairing process. The application will let you know the progress of the repairing process that you can halt or stop in between (if needed).

click to start

Step 3: Preview the Repaired Excel File and Export it

That’s it! Once the repairing process has been finished, Repairit will let you know. You can now click on the thumbnail of the Excel file or its preview button to get the preview of the file on its native interface.


Lastly, you can click on the “Save” button to simply export your Excel documents. Here, you can select any preferred location on your system where the Excel file would be exported by Repairit.


By following these smart solutions, you can easily fix “Excel Cannot Open the Files” issue caused by all kinds of possible reasons.

Part 3: How to Avoid these Excel Problems?

As you can see, it can be quite easy to fix “Excel Cannot Open the Files” issue in different scenarios. Though, if you want to avoid the occurrence of these issues in the future, then consider following these suggestions.

  • Install a Genuine Copy of the MS Office Suite

A lot of times, we get these MS Excel errors while working on a pirated or corrupt copy of the application. Therefore, you should consider getting a genuine version of the MS Office Suite instead.

  • Avoid the Mishandling of Excel Files

Besides that, you should keep your MS Excel files safe and avoid restarting or shutting down your system when the document is still being processed in the background.

  • Stay Secure

You should also avoid connecting your system to a public network and scan your external devices beforehand to keep your data secure. You can also use a reliable anti-malware tool to scan your XLS/XLSX documents regularly.

  • Avoid any Forceful Conversion

To further avoid these logical issues, you should avoid converting your Excel documents to any other file format forcefully.

Final Words

There you go! I’m sure that after going through these tips, you can easily fix “Excel Cannot Open the Files” issues. As you can see, I have come up with all kinds of feasible solutions that you can follow to fix these logical errors with Excel documents.

Apart from an incompatible file format or a permission conflict, the issue can also arise due to a corrupt Excel file. In this case, you can simply take the assistance of Wondershare Repairit to fix your damaged or corrupt MS Excel files without any data loss.