If you are out of those people who are receiving notifications like excel cannot open the file, then you must be looking for the best ways to get rid of this problem. Well, you have got down to the right place then. In this article, we will share the three best ways to solve ‘Excel cannot open the file’ issue. So, before wasting another second, let’s start our topic.

excel cannot open the file

Part 1: 3 Ways to Solve “Excel Cannot Open the File”

Today we will share the three most trusted methods for solving ‘Excel cannot open the file’ issue. These ways will help you get better and faster results. Keep reading below to find more about these ways.

1. Change File Type

The very first thing you can do to help ‘Excel cannot open the file’ issue is to change the file type. There are great chances of facing this issue if your file type is not compatible with Excel. You will be notified as excel cannot open the file because the file format or file extension is not valid.

These are some basic default file types of some of the most commonly used versions of Excel.

  • The default settings of MS Excel results in saving the Excel workbooks as XLSX or XLS file.
  • The default settings of Excel 2003 and earlier versions result in saving the files as XLS.
  • The default settings of Excel 2007 and later versions (Excel 2010, Excel 2013, Excel 2016 and 2019) result in saving the files as XLSX.

Note: The best thing about working with MS Excel is that you can change the default file settings of any Excel version that you are using to the format of your own choice. The only condition is that the format you want to switch to must be supported by MS Excel. This will help you in getting rid of issues like excel cannot open the file .xlsx in office 2016 etc.

Then how can you change the default format settings? Changing the default format settings is very easy. Follow these three basic steps:

Step 1: Open MS Excel and open the ‘File’ tab.

Step 2: Click 'Export' and choose 'Change File Type'. Change the file format to the one you prefer.

change file to fix excel cannot open file

Step 3: Click ‘Save As’ to save your changes.

2. Open and Repair

The second way you can go with for solving “Excel cannot open the file” problem is to opt for the ‘Open and Repair’ method.

This is a built-in feature of MS Excel that helps you to solve “Excel cannot open the file’ in two conditions. Firstly, when your file format is not supported by MS Excel. Secondly, when your file extension is not valid.

Using the ‘Open and Repair method is just a matter of a few steps. Read below to know about the two steps.

Step 1: Open MS Excel, choose ‘Open’ from the ‘File’ option, and then click on the file you are unable to open.

Step 2: Then click on ‘Open and Repair.’ And your ‘File cannot be opened’ notification will disappear instantly.

3. Recover from Unsaved Workbooks

The third way to get rid of ‘Excel cannot open the file’ issue is to recover the file from the unsaved workbooks.

This option allows you to recover your MS files that you haven’t saved.

To recover your files from the unsaved workbooks, follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Open MS Excel and go to the ‘File’ option. Choose ‘Info’ from the list.

Step 2: Below ‘Manage Versions,’ choose ‘Recover Unsaved Workbooks’ option. Now open the unsaved file and save it successfully.

Part 2: Best Way to Fix Excel Cannot Open the File

Stellar Repair for Excel is a software that helps you to repair corrupt Excel files. These files may include formulas, tables, filters, chart sheets, etc. This software also helps in the batch repair of corrupt files.

Using Stellar Repair for Repairing Excel files is very helpful. So, for your convenience, we have come up with a complete step-by-step guide on using Stellar Repair for Excel.

Step 1: First of all, download the ‘Stellar Repair for Excel’ application and get it installed on your device.

Step 2: Go to the ‘home screen’ and select the corrupt Excel file. Click on ‘Browse’ for selecting the file. You can also click on ‘Search’ for locating the file on your device.

click browse to select your file

Step 3: Then click on ‘Repair’ and start the repairing process.

click repair to start fix excel cannot open the file

Step 4: After the successful completion of the process, you can see the list of the recovered items on the left side. Preview them by double-clicking on them.

preview the recovered file

Step 5: Click on the ‘Save File’ from the main menu to save the repaired file.

click save file and select destination

Part 3: FAQs About Excel Cannot Open the File

Q1: Why is Excel not opening my file?

The main reason why ‘excel cannot open the file’ is due to ignoring other applications that use DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) option.

Q2: What is an invalid file extension?

An Invalid File Error is an error that is shown when you are trying to open a missing, broken, or unrecognizable file extension. It notifies that excel cannot open the file because the extension is not valid.

Q3: How do I open a file extension?

If you are opening a generic file extension, then drag the file to the application that is used for opening that type of file. In case you are opening a text file, you can simply open it in a text editor.

To Conclude

These were some of the ways that that can help you with solving excel cannot open the file xlsx because the file format is not valid issue or other “Excel cannot open the file” problems. Also, we have listed a complete step-by-step guide for using Stellar Repair for Excel to help you with Excel file-related issues. If you meet problems on passwords of Excel, then try PassFab for Excel. In case you have any other questions, drop them down in the comment section, and we would love to answer.