Fixed: Excel Cannot Open the File Because of File Format

Q: How do I fix Excel cannot open the file because of file format?
"All of a sudden when I try to open .xlsx format, I get an error message that excels cannot open the file because the file format or file extension is not valid."

Excel is a very powerful widely used tool that helps its users manage their financial data, reports, and carry out mathematical calculations. Despite being widely used, many users face a common problem while opening a file in Excel, "Excel cannot open the file '(filename)'.xlsx because the file format for the file extension is not valid. Verify that the file has not been corrupted and that the file extension matches the format of the file". If you get this message, don't panic. All is not lost. In this guide, you will find multiple techniques to fix the files not opening because of the file format

Excel cannot open the file because of the file format

Part 1: Why does this Excel Error Appear?

An Excel file has important data that can sometimes be vital for the operation of an organization or decision-making purposes. Even personal data in the spreadsheet might be important for data-keeping sake. Here are the main reasons why Excel cannot open the file because of the file format:

  1. One of the main reasons for the error is the file getting corrupted while being transferred from one machine to another
  2. The file is not compatible with the Excel version
  3. The file might have been corrupted due to virus infection, extremely large databases or multiple locks on the file at the same time
  4. Mistakes when working on a spreadsheet
  5. Not closing the Excel application when shutting down the system
  6. A bad sector on the hard drive of the computer
  7. Sudden power failure

Part 2: Fix Excel Cannot Open Because the File Format Using 'Open and Repair' Feature

When a workbook has been corrupted, Excel automatically starts file recovery mode and attempts to reopen and simultaneously repair the workbook. Excel cannot always automatically start file recovery mode and therefore you will have to do it manually. The way you do this is,

Step 1: Open MS Excel Application

Step 2: Go to File and Select Open option


Step 3: Select the corrupt file and choose the Open and Repair option

Step 4: Click on Repair to start repairing


After following all the steps, you should be able to access the corrupted file.

Part 3: Quick Fixes for 'Excel Cannot Open the File.xlsx' Error with Safe Mode

If the file cannot be opened by Excel, you can try to run Excel in safe mode to see if the file can be opened smoothly. This method also checks if there are any errors in MS Excel. For this, you need to,

STEP 1: Go to the start menu and type run command

STEP 2: Once the dialog box opens, type excel/safe in the run command and click on the OK button


STEP 3: Check for any add-ins that are causing problems in Excel

STEP 4: Disable the add-ins and click on the OK button

STEP 5: Restart Excel to check if the problem is fixed or not

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Part 4: One- Stop Solution to Fix This Excel Error: Stellar File Repair

Stellar File Repair is an all-in-one tool that can help restore corrupt files easily and efficiently. Stellar File Repair repairs corrupt MS Excel sheets without causing any modification in their original content and formatting. This ensures accurate restored data that are saved to their original location on the hard disk, or any user-specified location. With the Stellar File Repair, here is how you repair a corrupt file in Excel.

First, get the Stellar File Repair for Excel and activate the software with an activation key that will be provided to you when you purchase the product. Once that is done, let us go through the steps of recovering a corrupt file in Excel using Stellar File Repair for Excel.

STEP 1: Download and Run the Stellar Repair of Excel

STEP 2: A dialogue box appears on the screen, click on OK to proceed


STEP 3: To select the corrupt XLS, or XLSX file on your computer, click 'Browse Button'. If you do not know the location of your XLS, or XLSX file, the software provides you the option to search for the files in the 'Search'


STEP 4: Select the checkboxes beside the files that you want to be repaired and click 'Repair'. This will start the scanning process.


STEP 5: The list of files that the software has scanned is displayed in the tree-view on the left plane. Click on a file from this tree-view to see its preview in the middle plane. From this list, you can select the file that you want to recover.


STEP 6: You can either select the 'Default location of file' or 'Select New Folder' in the ' Save Document' dialog box to save the repaired files.


Next time you try to open a file and Excel cannot open it because of the file format, use the methods in this article to repair your file. If all fail, use the Stellar File Repair for Excel as a sure shot way to repair and restore data be it single or multiple workbooks and saves them to their original location on the hard disk or any other destination that you desire.

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