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Getting "Excel found unreadable content" error in .xlsm file converted from Excel 2003

    Question

  • One of my Excel power users has reported to me an issue where spreadsheets that stem from a template that was originally created in Office 2003 open with the following error message:

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Excel has found unreadable content in <filename.xlsm>.  Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook?

    -------------------------------------------------------

    When I select "yes", I am told that errors were fixed and am given the following log info:

      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
    - <recoveryLog xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/spreadsheetml/2006/main">
      <logFileName>error039840_03.xml</logFileName>
      <summary>Errors were detected in file 'z:\Excel Spreadsheets\Jaby Jacob\Sheehan Memorial Rating 11-12KnownBad.xlsm'</summary>
    - <repairedRecords summary="Following is a list of repairs:">
      <repairedRecord>Repaired Records: View from /xl/worksheets/sheet2.xml part</repairedRecord>
      <repairedRecord>Repaired Records: View from /xl/worksheets/sheet4.xml part</repairedRecord>
      <repairedRecord>Repaired Records: View from /xl/worksheets/sheet5.xml part</repairedRecord>
      </repairedRecords>
      </recoveryLog>
     
     However, when I resave one of the known bad .xlsm files to .xlsb, all seems well.
    After poking around the web for awhile, I have seen that others have had this issue as well, though I did not see a definitive solution anywhere.
    My questions are as follows:
    1) Is the .xlsb file format basically Microsoft's means to provide backwards compatibility to problematic spreadsheets that contain macros that do not agree with the .xlsm file format?  If so, would there be any problems if I was to recommend simply using the .xlsb format for there?  Will there be any diminishment in the functionality of the macros or the spreadsheet in general if I was to have my user do this?
    2) If the .xlsb option turns out not to be viable, can I derive from the above log where the problematic areas of the spreadsheet are?  At first glance, it seems to be a but criptic as to what and where the repaired records are.  Is <xl/worksheets> some sort of path within the spreadsheet file itself where I can do in and modify specific things (and, if so, how much expertise is required to perform such repairs)? 
    From my readings, it appears as if this happens when specific macros that are created within 2003 are not playing nice with 2007.  I have heard a few hotfixes mentioned, but we keep our PC's up to date monthly via WSUS, so I doubt that unpatched machines are the issue. 

    -Brian McKnight

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:50 PM

Answers

  • You can add .zip to your xlsm file and open it. You'll see a directory structure \xl\worksheets and some xml files. Open these xml files and look if there's something with "View" inside. For instance:

    <sheetViews>
     <sheetView tabSelected="1" topLeftCell="A395" workbookViewId="0">
     <selection activeCell="C419" sqref="C419" /> 
     </sheetView>
    </sheetViews>
    
    


    xlsb files are used for rather large amounts of data. They are opened faster than the xlsx/xlsm files. XLSX/XLSM is the preferred format.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 3:15 PM

All replies

  • You can add .zip to your xlsm file and open it. You'll see a directory structure \xl\worksheets and some xml files. Open these xml files and look if there's something with "View" inside. For instance:

    <sheetViews>
     <sheetView tabSelected="1" topLeftCell="A395" workbookViewId="0">
     <selection activeCell="C419" sqref="C419" /> 
     </sheetView>
    </sheetViews>
    
    


    xlsb files are used for rather large amounts of data. They are opened faster than the xlsx/xlsm files. XLSX/XLSM is the preferred format.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 3:15 PM
  • I just had this issue and followed the advice to open as a zip file to identify which sheet was causing the problem.

    I opened the workbook and changed the active cell on the offending sheet then resaved the workbook and the problem went away.

    I had staged backups but had done a lot of work by the time I found this and the problem appeared on numerous backups (there is a lot of VBA code to automatically save a copy of the workbook so I didn't know there was a problem, it only appeared in the copies).


    • Edited by CoaCzer Thursday, October 11, 2012 1:31 PM more specific details
    Thursday, October 11, 2012 1:27 PM