Wondershare Repairit
File Repair

Perfectly repair Excel files with different issues in minutes.

  • 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.
file repair

4 Handy Fixes for Excel Found Unreadable Content Error

“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.

Fortunately, there are several solutions available to fix this issue, and in this comprehensive guide, we'll explore various methods to help you resolve the "Excel unreadable content" error and regain access to your valuable data.

Part 1: What is Excel Unreadable Content Error?

The "Excel found unreadable content in xlsx" error occurs when Excel encounters corrupted or unreadable data within an Excel file. This issue can arise for various reasons, such as hardware or software malfunctions, unexpected system shutdowns, or even virus infections.

When this error appears, Excel will typically display a warning message informing you that it has found unreadable content within the specified file and may not be able to open or save the file properly.

Part 2: What Triggers the Excel Unreadable Content Error?

Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of the "Excel file found unreadable content" error. Here are some common triggers:

  • Abrupt system shutdown or power failure: If your computer or laptop shuts down unexpectedly while Excel is running, it can lead to file corruption and trigger the unreadable content error.
  • Hardware or software issues: Faulty hardware components, such as a failing hard drive or RAM, or software conflicts can also cause file corruption and lead to unreadable content errors in Excel.
  • Virus or malware infection: Malicious software, like viruses or malware, can corrupt your Excel files and cause the Excel file unreadable content error.
  • Damaged or corrupted file storage: If the storage medium (e.g., hard drive, USB drive, or network drive) where your Excel file is stored is damaged or corrupted, it can lead to an unreadable content error.
  • Incompatible file format: In some cases, the unreadable content error may occur if you're trying to open an Excel file created in an incompatible or unsupported file format.

Part 3: How to Fix Excel Found Unreadable Content

If you encounter the "Excel found unreadable content" error, don't panic. There are several methods you can try to resolve this issue and regain access to your valuable data.

Method 1: Use a Reliable Repair Software

One of the most effective ways to fix the "Excel file unreadable content" error is by using reliable repair software like Wondershare Repairit. This powerful tool is designed to repair corrupted or damaged Excel files, allowing you to recover your data and restore the file to a usable state.

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

  • Repairs all kinds of data stored in damaged Excel files such as tables, charts, formulas, comments, images, etc.

  • Support all formats of Excel files: XLSX/XLSM/XLTX/XLTM/XLS

  • 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 13.

  • Except Excel, Repairit also supports all formats of PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ZIP, and Adobe files.

Wondershare Repairit is an easy-to-use and user-friendly application that can repair a wide range of file types, including Excel files. Here's how you can use Wondershare Repairit to fix the "Excel found unreadable content" error:

Step 1: Launch Wondershare Repairit and select the “File Repair" option from the “More Types Repair” menu.

wondershare file repair

Step 2: Click the "Add File" button and navigate to the location of your corrupted Excel file. Select the file and click "Open". Once the scanning process is complete, the software will display the identified issues and provide you with repair options.

add corrupt files to repair it

Step 3: Choose the appropriate repair option and click "Repair" to initiate the repair process. After the repair is complete, Wondershare Repairit will save the repaired file to a location of your choice. You can then open the repaired Excel file and access your data.

repair process

More Related Articles

Method 2: Make the File Read Only

Here comes another simple Excel found unreadable content fix that you can try. Sometimes, the error can occur due to conflicts or issues with file permissions. In such cases, making the affected Excel file read-only can help resolve the issue.

Here's how you can make an Excel file read-only:

Step 1: Go to the File option from the main Excel menu.

Step 2: In the File screen, choose 'Save' for a new document or 'Save As' for an existing one.

save the excel file

Step 3: Click 'Browse', and a pop-up window will open. From there, navigate to the Tools menu and select 'General Options'.

excel file general options

Step 4: In the 'General Options' dialog box, check the 'Read-only recommended' box, then click 'OK'.

make excel file read-only

Step 5: Now re-open your saved Excel file in read-only mode.

You should now be able to view your Excel file with the error. The best approach is to copy all the content and paste it into a brand new Excel file to use going forward.

After making the file read-only, try opening it in Excel again. If the issue is resolved, you can edit the file and save it with a new name or remove the read-only attribute once you're done.

Method 3: Move the Excel File to a New Folder

Sometimes, the location where the Excel file is stored can contribute to the "unreadable content" error. Moving the file to a new folder can help resolve this issue by isolating it from any potential conflicts or corruptions in the original location.

Here's how you can move the Excel file to a new folder:

Step 1: Create a new folder on your computer.

Step 2: Copy the problematic Excel file to the new folder.

move excel file to the new folder

Step 3: Try opening the file from the new location.

By moving the Excel file to a new folder, you can isolate it from any potential conflicts or corruptions in the original location, which may help resolve the "unreadable content" error.

Method 4: Reinstall the Visual Basic Package

In some cases, the "Excel found unreadable content" error can be caused by issues with the Visual Basic package installed on your system. Reinstalling this package can help resolve the issue and restore normal functionality to Excel.

Here's how you can reinstall the Visual Basic package:

Step 1: Open the Control Panel on your computer. Navigate to "Programs" > "Programs and Features."

Step 2: In the list of installed programs, locate "Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications" or a similar entry related to Visual Basic.

reinstall the visual package

Step 3: Right-click on the Visual Basic entry and select "Uninstall" or "Uninstall/Change." Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation process. Once the uninstallation is complete, restart your computer.

Step 4: After restarting, launch Microsoft Office or Excel, and it should automatically prompt you to reinstall the Visual Basic package.

Step 5: Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the Visual Basic package.

Step 6: Once the installation is complete, try opening the Excel file causing the "unreadable content" error.

By reinstalling the Visual Basic package, you can resolve any conflicts or issues that may have been causing the "Excel found unreadable content" error.

Part 4: Tips to Avoid "Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx" Error

While the methods mentioned above can help you fix the "Excel found unreadable content" error, it's always better to take preventive measures to avoid encountering this issue in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid the "Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx" error:

  1. Use autosave and backup features: Enable the autosave and backup features in Excel to create periodic backups of your files. This way, if you encounter the "unreadable content" error, you can revert to a previous version of the file.
  2. Update your software: Keep your Microsoft Office suite, including Excel, up-to-date with the latest patches and updates. Software updates often include bug fixes and security enhancements that can prevent file corruption and other issues.
  3. Scan for viruses and malware: Regularly scan your computer for viruses and malware using reliable antivirus software. Malicious software can corrupt your files and cause the "unreadable content" error.
  4. Avoid abrupt system shutdowns: Whenever possible, avoid abruptly shutting down your computer or forcibly closing Excel while working on important files. This can lead to file corruption and the "unreadable content" error.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of encountering the "Excel found unreadable content" error and ensure the integrity and accessibility of your valuable data.


The "Excel found unreadable content" error can be a frustrating and potentially data-threatening issue, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be resolved effectively. By following the methods outlined in this guide, such as using a reliable repair software like Wondershare Repairit, making the file read-only, moving the file to a new folder, or reinstalling the Visual Basic package, you can regain access to your Excel files and recover your valuable data.

Remember, data loss can be devastating, but with the right approach and tools, you can overcome the "Excel file unreadable content" error and ensure the integrity and accessibility of your important Excel files.

  • Q1: What causes the "Excel found unreadable content" error?

  • The "Excel found unreadable content" error can be caused by various factors, including abrupt system shutdowns, power failures, hardware or software issues, virus or malware infections, damaged or corrupted file storage, and incompatible file formats.

  • Q2: Can I recover my data if I encounter the "Excel found unreadable content" error?

  • Yes, in most cases, it is possible to recover your data from corrupted Excel files by using reliable repair software or trying the other methods mentioned in this guide.

  • Q3: How can I prevent the "Excel found unreadable content" error from occurring?

  • To prevent this error, you should regularly save your work, enable autosave and backup features, keep your software up-to-date, scan for viruses and malware, avoid abrupt system shutdowns, use reliable storage devices, and maintain good file management practices.