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  • Fix all Excel file issues like blank Excel, Excel not opening, unreadable Excel, Excel running slow, etc.
  • Repair corrupted Excel files with a very high success rate in 3 simple steps.
  • Support Microsoft Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and Office 365.
  • Perfectly compatible with different Windows & Mac system.
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Fast Ways to Resolve 'Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx' Error in MS Excel

“I have uploaded an excel file to my Google Drive and downloaded it into my office laptop. Upon launched the file, i got an error which said that file has some unreadable content and excel is unable to open it. Please help!”

Have you also got the “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx” error? It rarely comes with excel files while opening them.

You may feel confused about how and why the error occurred but don’t worry, as you can quickly fix it yourself. However, the error may come due to corrupt or damaged excel files. Our article will enlist the possible causes of this error, how you can quickly fix it, and some tips to avoid the mistake in the first place.

Part 1. Reasons for Excel Unreadable Content Error

excel file unreadable content error

The primary reason for Excel unreadable content error is a corrupt or damaged excel file. It is necessary to understand the other common reasons for this error. Below is the list that shows why Excel unreadable content error occurs:

  • Corrupt Excel File: Due to corruption of the entire Excel file or corruption in specific parts (such as Pivot Tables, Formulas, Styles, or other objects) in the file, you may receive the error.

  • Antivirus and Malware: Antivirus and Malware do not directly cause this error, but they can damage your Excel workbook. Hence once the workbook is damaged, it throws an unreadable content error on file load.

  • Encrypted Files: Some encryption algorithms can even make it impossible to read the content of your excel file. Once they are encrypted, they also throw this error.

  • Excel Program Issues: If your excel file reader program is outdated or corrupt, then it can also cause hindrance to excel file reading. Upon opening the file through such a program can lead to unreadable content excel file error.

  • Missing Packages: Excel software requires specific packages in place to perform their duty. If any component is outdated, lost, or corrupt, you may encounter an excel file unreadable content error.

While there are more reasons for making your Excel files unable to read, the ones described above are the most common. Users have reported these problems for some time, and Microsoft is aware of them.

Part 2. Multiple Ways to Resolve “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx” Error

There are multiple ways to resolve the “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx” error. The first is by using the manual methods, which require you to fix the excel file error yourself. The second method is automated because you can use software that will automatically repair your excel file.

Let’s see each solution below one by one:

Method 1. View the .xlsx file by Making it Read-Only

The first method lies in the category of manual solutions. Follow the below steps to use it:

Step 1: click ClickFile from the main menu of Microsoft Excel.

Step 2: In the screen that appears, select 'Save' for a new document or 'Save As' for a previously saved document.

saving the excel file

Step 3: Click on Browse, and then a new pop-up window will appear. From the pop-up Window, select Tools and click on General Options.

making the excel file read-only
making the excel file read-only

Step 4: In the 'General Options' dialogue box, select the 'Read-only recommended' box and click 'OK.'

Step 5: Now open your saved excel file in read-mode only again.

Now you will be able to view your excel file with an error. Your best bet is to copy all the content and paste it into a new excel file and use it from there.

Method 2. Fix the Excel file Unreadable Error by Installing the Visual Basic Component

The first method may work for you but is tedious if you have tons of sheets inside one excel workbook. Therefore, the second method works by installing the basic visual component missing on your computer.

Note: Visual basic component method works only for MS Office 2010 suite.

Follow the below steps:

Step 1: Select Microsoft Office 2010 from the "Control Panel > Programs" menu.

Step 2: Select "Change > Add or Remove Programs" from the drop-down menu. At the bottom of the list, click the "+" icon next to Office Shared Features.

Step 3: Now select the “Visual Basic fo Applications” and click on “Run from My Computer.”

Step 4: Wait for the process to complete.

After the process is complete, just reboot your system and open the excel file again to see if the error persists or not.

Method 3. Using Wondershare Repairit to Fix the Excel file Unreadable Error

If the above manual method did not work for you, then don’t worry. Our third method is an automated one in which you can quickly repair your excel file and make it error-free. Wondershare Repairit, a highly trusted automatic software for file repair, is the best way to fix an unreadable excel file.

  • Repair damaged Excel files with all levels of corruption, including blank files, files not opening, unrecognizable format, unreadable content, etc.

  • Support Microsoft Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and Office 365.

  • Perfectly repair corrupted files with a very high success rate, without modifying the original file.

  • No limit to the number and size of the repairable files.

  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/2022, and macOS 10.10~macOS 14.

Follow the below steps:

Step 1: Add your excel file that throws unreadable content error into Wondershare Repairit

add file

Download and install Wondershare Repairit from their official website. Once installed, launch the Wondershare Repairit program. From its main interface screen, click the + Add button to add the excel file that causes the unreadable content error.

Step 2: Start repairing the excel file that has the unreadable content error.

After you've uploaded your excel files to Repairit, click the "Repair" button at the bottom to begin the repair process. The program will check the excel files you've loaded and rectify any minor or major problems it discovers. The interface will show you which files have previously been repaired, are now scanned, and are awaiting repair.

start repair

Step 3: Once repaired, preview the repaired Excel files and then save them on your computer.

You can preview any file after the repair procedure is complete by clicking the "Preview" button next to its icon.

save file

Once you preview that file, you can save it directly on your computer.

Part 3. Helpful Tips to Avoid “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx” Error

By following the simple three steps of Wondershare Repairit, you can quickly repair your excel file. Now you can open it without facing the ‘Excel found unreadable content in filename.xls’ error. Although Wondershare Repairit makes repairing files easy, still you can follow some tips to avoid the error in the first place.

Follow the below tips to prevent unreadable content error excel files from occurring:

  • Save Excel File Properly: Make sure to save your excel file after you've finished working with it. Your excel file might be unable to open if it is closed accidentally.

  • Upgrade Excel Software: Older Excel versions can make your excel file unreadable. Therefore, the best approach is to have the updated excel software.

  • Use of Antivirus: Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software that can scan your computer for malware or viruses regularly. When your system is free of them, the chances of your excel file getting corrupt gets too thin.

  • Backup your File: Always create a backup of your essential excel files. So, you can recover them back if you get yourself into any excel file error.

Although you can not eliminate excel file errors with a complete guarantee, the above tips ensure better results.


Excel files are made up of various values, formulas, pivot tables, etc. Due to its extensive features, Excel files have become highly popular and are business-critical. Therefore, when such essential data in your Excel file becomes vulnerable to errors, you are right to feel worried.

But, when it comes to solving this error, the most feasible way is to use Wondershare Repairit. It is highly reliable and trustworthy software when it comes to file repairing. All you need to do is to perform its three steps.