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Excel found unreadable content in filename.xls. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook?

    Question

  • Hello

    I'm investigting an issue where spreadsheets open fine in Excel 2003 but not in 2010

    When launching in Excel 2010 the following message is displayed:

    "Excel found unreadable content in filename.xls. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook? If you trust the source of this workbook, click Yes."

    If Yes is selected it comes up with:

    "Excel was able to open the file by repairing or removing the unreadable content"
    "Excel recovered your forumlas and cell values, but some data may have been lost"
    "Click to view log file listing repairs: error.xml"

    The file opens but formatting is missing and it's basiclaly nothing like how it shows in Excel 2003.

    I'm under the impression that Excel 2010 "should" handle .XLS files correctly ;-)

    Has anyone seen this / know the best way to "debug" this issue?
    e.g. can I "step through" what its "choking" on when it's loading?

    (BTW - the error.xml file created dosn't contain any usefull info)

    Thanks
    -AL

    Friday, February 18, 2011 11:10 PM

Answers

  • Hello

    I don't have what I'd call a "satisfactory" resolution yet, but I do have a workaround (kindof!)

    Based on MS advice, I was able to get into the spreadsheet by doing the following:

     Round trip the file using Excel 2003 to remove corruption:
    1. Open the file in Excel 2003
    2. Go to File: Save
    3. Change the Save As type to Web Page (.html), save and close the file
    4. Open the .html file in Excel
    5. Save the file as a .xls (with a new name so the original isn't lost)
     
    820741  How to recover data from damaged workbooks in Excel 2002 and in Excel 2003

    I still have no idea what the actual "corruption" is / was.

    Evidently Office 2010 is much more "picky" about checking files for issues.
    Here's an "interesting" observation I recieved from MS on this:

    “Please keep in mind that it's often quite difficult, if not impossible, to determine where corruption comes from. Corruption can exist in the "shell" of the workbook, or in certain areas, such as a PivotTable, styles, defined names, objects, or the calculation chain/formulas. Corruption can be caused by many different scenarios, for example, a network glitch while saving, a power surge, copying and pasting in corruption from another file, the list goes on. You can compare file corruption to getting a nail in your tire. The nail may be stuck in your tire for a long time without you even noticing, and then all of a sudden your tire goes flat, or the file becomes unreadable or displays strange symptoms.”

    I think it's a poor analogy, but cynically I just find it a hard to accept that the "flat tire" appears to have co-incided with the arrival of Office 2010 !!!!

    Something that MS could do to help in this area if provider better quality information / tool
    e.g. Extend OffScan.exe to support detection of "corruption"

    Hope this helps.
    Best regards
    -AL

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011 10:34 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

     

    I find someone have the exactly same issue you meet with, let’s try to handle with his way:

    Modify the properties of “filename.xls” into Read-only, and then try to open it again.

     

    Here is another solution if needed:

    Create a “newfile.xls”, copy everything from your “filename.xls” opened with Excel 2003, then save and open it with Excel 2010.

     

     

    Sincerely,

    Fangfang

     

     

    References:

    http://www.geekblogger.org/2009/11/excel-found-unreadable-content-error.html

    Monday, February 21, 2011 9:28 AM
  • Thanks for your reply.

    Tried with it set to Read-Only
    > No dice - same thing happens.

    New File dosn't work either.

    I think it's a macro issue / dependancy on an Oracle query which for some reason is being "badly handled".

    Still investigating cause but will post when I fix.

    -AL

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011 10:13 PM
  • Hi,

    Try this:

    Copy these spreadsheets into a word document, then copy these spreadsheets from the word document and paste them to a new excel file, then try to open it with Excel 2010.

     

    Sincerely,

    Fangfang

    • Marked as answer by Sally Tang Friday, March 04, 2011 2:48 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by Alistg Tuesday, March 08, 2011 1:53 PM
    Sunday, February 27, 2011 3:10 AM
  • Hi AL,

    I am facing the same issue. Have you got any solution for this?

    -DM

     

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011 5:56 AM
  • Hello

    I don't have what I'd call a "satisfactory" resolution yet, but I do have a workaround (kindof!)

    Based on MS advice, I was able to get into the spreadsheet by doing the following:

     Round trip the file using Excel 2003 to remove corruption:
    1. Open the file in Excel 2003
    2. Go to File: Save
    3. Change the Save As type to Web Page (.html), save and close the file
    4. Open the .html file in Excel
    5. Save the file as a .xls (with a new name so the original isn't lost)
     
    820741  How to recover data from damaged workbooks in Excel 2002 and in Excel 2003

    I still have no idea what the actual "corruption" is / was.

    Evidently Office 2010 is much more "picky" about checking files for issues.
    Here's an "interesting" observation I recieved from MS on this:

    “Please keep in mind that it's often quite difficult, if not impossible, to determine where corruption comes from. Corruption can exist in the "shell" of the workbook, or in certain areas, such as a PivotTable, styles, defined names, objects, or the calculation chain/formulas. Corruption can be caused by many different scenarios, for example, a network glitch while saving, a power surge, copying and pasting in corruption from another file, the list goes on. You can compare file corruption to getting a nail in your tire. The nail may be stuck in your tire for a long time without you even noticing, and then all of a sudden your tire goes flat, or the file becomes unreadable or displays strange symptoms.”

    I think it's a poor analogy, but cynically I just find it a hard to accept that the "flat tire" appears to have co-incided with the arrival of Office 2010 !!!!

    Something that MS could do to help in this area if provider better quality information / tool
    e.g. Extend OffScan.exe to support detection of "corruption"

    Hope this helps.
    Best regards
    -AL

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011 10:34 AM
  • Hi all!

    I have the same problem from time to time. My ordinary computer runs Excel 64 bits. When I have the problem, I open up the same file on a computer running Excel 32 bits, and saves it under a new name. When moved back to the original computer it use to work. 

    Unfortunately, sometimes the workbook is too large to be opened in 32-bits...

    Best regards,

    Christofer

    Thursday, March 24, 2011 10:17 AM
  • Hi All,

     

    I had the same problem. I tracked the problem down to a a sorting of 6 or 8 cells. This had been recorded in Excel 2003. I deleted the code and it works fine after that. FYI this was the piece of code.

     

       ' Sort Output Table3

        Top_Table3.Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(No_ent, 2)).Select

        With Selection

            .HorizontalAlignment = xlCenter

            .Sort Key1:=Range("c211"), Order1:=xlAscending, Key2:=Range( _

            "C211"), Order2:=xlAscending, Header:=xlGuess, OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase _

            :=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, DataOption1:=xlSortNormal, _

            DataOption2:=xlSortNormal

        End With

     

    Regards,

     

    John

     

     

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:04 AM
  • Hello to all

    I have searched for this matter in all records. 
    Microsoft did not help. 
    all the forums did not helped. 

    The problem is more serious when you have a workbook with more than 65536 lines.

    In case you do not need this please save your file without problem in XLS format. (old office  97/2003)

    compatibility check will occur but nothing will change (only colours)

    After that you can open change update your file and then save with no problems.

    When you will open it the errors(normal after an update or change and save) will not appear. 

    Nothing will be lost. 

    Microsoft was not so cool when they launch several upadates for office 2007

    Hope to help everybody with same error.
    Regards
    Luis Ribeiro 
    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 2:34 PM
  • Hi,

    I have this issue from time to time.

    Install Libreoffice and use Libre calc to open file, the file should open without any problems. Use 'Save As' to save file in xlsx format and MS Excel should be able to open it with no errors. 

    S.

    Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:52 AM
  • Hi,

    I have this issue from time to time.

    Install Libreoffice and use Libre calc to open file, the file should open without any problems. Use 'Save As' to save file in xlsx format and MS Excel should be able to open it with no errors. 

    S.

    Hi there,

    We are using a 3rd party application that generates reports daily, we have recently moved the end users from office 03 to office 07 and have since started having these problems.

    At this stage for us to install another application for them to convert the file would not go down well.

    Is there any chance that this is caused by some recent updates that MS have pushed out???

    Monday, June 04, 2012 5:33 AM
  • I have found a fix for this. Install the Visual Basic component in Office 2010. We haven't had the error since!

    Control Panel > Programs > select Microsoft Office 2010 and click on Change > Add or Remove Programs > at the bottom of the list click on the plus next to Office Shared Features > select Visual Basic for Applications > I right clicked and chose Run from My computer > Continue. Reboot when it has finished.

    • Proposed as answer by SarahTap Friday, June 08, 2012 7:46 AM
    Friday, June 08, 2012 7:46 AM
  • In my case the user was using a WebDav Client to connect a network drive.

    Windows 7 Home Premium
    XYthos Drive Client

    I disconnected the drive, cleared the cache for it and then reconnected.

    The user was then able to open Excel files without getting that error.

    Good Luck!

    Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:33 PM
  • Hi All,

     

    I had the same problem. I tracked the problem down to a a sorting of 6 or 8 cells. This had been recorded in Excel 2003. I deleted the code and it works fine after that. FYI this was the piece of code.

     

       ' Sort Output Table3

        Top_Table3.Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(No_ent, 2)).Select

        With Selection

            .HorizontalAlignment = xlCenter

            .Sort Key1:=Range("c211"), Order1:=xlAscending, Key2:=Range( _

            "C211"), Order2:=xlAscending, Header:=xlGuess, OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase _

            :=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, DataOption1:=xlSortNormal, _

            DataOption2:=xlSortNormal

        End With

     

    Regards,

     

    John

     

     

    .Sort Keys have to be cleared with .Sort.SortFields.Clear

    Thursday, August 16, 2012 3:27 PM
  • The cause of my "Excel found unreadable content" is bold:

    sub MergeSameRows (a as range, b as long, c as long)
    a(2).select 'This is for debugging.
    if b < c then abc a.offset(1), b+1, c
    end sub

    *Interesting. No reference wrong sheet error. Yet, activecell must have been wrongly saved. Therefore, causing error when open.

    sub MergeSameRows (a as range, b as long, c as long)
    sheet1.activate 'Added this to fix.
    a(2).select
    if b < c then abc a.offset(1), b+1, c
    end sub

    Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:16 PM
  • Hi!

    It looks like this is a resource issue. 

    I get the error from time to time. But it usually is solved by me answering no to all questions and restarting Excel after first having closed my other open applications. 

    BR Christofer

    Wednesday, October 03, 2012 12:41 PM
  • I had the same problem with a sheet and saving to the old xls format masked the issue provided I didn't save the document back into xlsm format. Once I switched to xlsm, the issue resurfaced.

    At the end i found a  hacky solution of which I am not particularly happy because it does not explain how this happened in first place, but I'll post the steps I did in case it can help someone else.

    1. I opened the document and I got the error msg: "Excel found unreadable content (...)". I clicked Yes
    2. The sheet opened and  showed a dialog box with the suggestion: "Click to view file listing repairs" pointing to an xml file. In my case this revealed the following:
          <summary>Errors were detected in file 'C:\Documents and Settings\gp98418\My Documents\BondSwitch2.xlsm'</summary>
          <removedFeatures summary="Following is a list of removed features:">
             <removedFeature>Removed Feature: Data validation from /xl/worksheets/sheet2.xml part</removedFeature>
          </removedFeatures>
    3. I closed the xlms document and used Windows Explorer to rename it from filename.xlms to filename.xlms.zip
    4. I open the archive file and look into directories: xl\worksheets\ to open the filename called "sheet2.xml". Since the error message suggested something to do with data validation I looked at the "dataValidations" tags. In my case i was lucky that there was only one and suggested it was tagged to cell C13:
      <dataValidation type="list" allowBlank="1" showInputMessage="1" sqref="C13">
    5. Armed with this information I closed the editor and renamed the file back to filename.xmls from filename.xmls.zip
    6. I opened Excel again and opened the sheet, aswered "Yes" again to the error message dialog box and went to cell C12. Strangely enough Excel doesn't show any data validation. I deleted the cell (delete->Shift cells left) and saved the sheet and the problem is gone... at least for now!

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:08 PM
  • Hi guys,

    I got a similar problem but couldn't figure it out: this thing is driving me crazy and i am getting desperate.

    Here is the thing: I have developed a quotation model in Excel, with data validation lists, a simple VBA macro and when i think everything's working out, i get a message at the opening of the workbook stating that Excel found some unreadable content and that it must repair/recover the unreadable content; when i click OK, the workbook opens and a message appears stating that Excel successfully repaired/recovered the file by removing some feature: "Removed Feature: Data validation from /xl/worksheets/sheet6.xml part". When i open the log file repairs, here is the log:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="true"?>
    -<recoveryLog xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/spreadsheetml/2006/main"><logFileName>error064840_02.xml</logFileName><summary>Errors were detected in file 'C:\Users\Admin7\Documents\CommercialLighting\Jobs\Quotation - Park Regis - 18102012\Quotation_ParkRegis_Hotel - MASTER.xlsx'</summary>-<removedFeatures summary="Following is a list of removed features:"><removedFeature>Removed Feature: Data validation from /xl/worksheets/sheet6.xml part</removedFeature></removedFeatures></recoveryLog>

    Bottom line: All the data validation lists get removed from the file and my model no longer is usable.

    I have been looking for a solution everywhere and i haven't been able to find any to my problem. I am not sure what's wrong with my model: I thought the original model was corrupted so i created the same model in another workbook but it happened again. I thought it was the VBA code that screwed everything up (I create a data validation list in one cell, from a string of dynamically generated list of characters, which i thought may get too long. So i created another workbook without the VBA code and the same problem happened again); sometimes you can create a few data validation lists and the problem doesn't appear, but it seems like if many lists are applied to many cells, then the problem appears.

    I have attached to this post a link to my file in dropbox:

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/29163345/TestModelForCorruption.xlsm

    If you try to open this file, you'll get the error message, which won't help you out much since if you click "YES", all the data validation lists will be erased. That's why i am attaching another file as well https://dl.dropbox.com/u/29163345/CL_BC_BASIC_UNCORRUPTED_VERSION.xlsm
    This file is at a stage where excel doesn't trigger the error that erases all the data validation lists, so you can see where my lists are located (LU_DET_BA tab). You will notice the difference between the 2 files: in the first, there're more columns (and therefore lists) ... And this is what seems to get excel to trigger this error message: there's a point when you keep adding columns (still in tab LU_DET_BA) where excel will trigger the error and all the data validation lists will be erased.

    Not sure if you'd be able to work it out but i'd greatly appreciate if someone could have a look at it.

    Anyway, i have no idea of how to work it out and i hope one of you guys may be able to help me out with this; that'd be awesome, you'd be awesome haha

    i can send the workbook if you provide me with an address.

    MANY THANKS.

    Monday, December 10, 2012 2:25 AM
  • Hello to all.

    I found a solution, not very elegant but it works! I save my files to Excel 97/2003 (:-( ) and edit and correct all the formulas, save the file and open again and message dissapears. I have Office 2007 with SP2. We'll upgrade to Office 2010 in a month or so, I hope this error won't appear again.

    GA.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 5:13 PM
  • This error will also happen for password protected workbooks when your TEMP/TMP environment variables point to a folder that does not exist, or that the user does not have access to.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 2:49 PM
  • stevenmcc,

    THANK YOU for the LibreOffice suggestion. I now have my data back!

    Gregg Hill

    Monday, June 10, 2013 7:17 PM
  • Hi,

    I have this issue from time to time.

    Install Libreoffice and use Libre calc to open file, the file should open without any problems. Use 'Save As' to save file in xlsx format and MS Excel should be able to open it with no errors. 

    S.

    Ei guys, 1st time, so don't be rough (Muahahahah)

    I keep a file to save all my work registries, costumers, worked hours, blah, blah, blah.
    Last 2 weeks I noticed that error, which kept me losing data & rewriting it (Thanks a lot MS!!).

    Don't know if this will help you but, before I searched the web, I've done the following:

    1. Uploaded file to dropbox (You'll understand)
    2. Downloaded that same file to my android tablet
    3. Opened the file with officesuite pro (file opened normally, no errors)
    4. Like stevemcc, I asked myself if saving it on .xlsx would solve it on the PC.
    5. I saved the file in that format, uploaded it to DB & download it on PC and, it worked!! ;)

    The only thing I regret with my method was:
    - Colors where not exactly like min, just similar
    - Links were lost

    I came to the web again, since the mentioned errors, if it was a better method, as I'm downloading LibreOffice now - 10min :(

    Anyways, stevemcc showed a good point, I also didn't get any bug, repair, error message or whatsoever as I opened the file as described.
    If The recovery is total I'll mention it

    Thks Again stevemcc
    (and you all)

    Friday, September 27, 2013 6:45 PM
  • NO RESULT

    I don't know where the error originates but when i opened it with Libreoffice it really didn't open with errors but, when saving it... that's another matter, I get even more errors, formating, formulas and data loss than the original excel.

    Sorry, it's a bummer but I'll stick to my method.
    At least the file remains intact.

    Still have to put all the links and colors again but at least I revover the main file, formulas, formating and data.

    Cheers mates

    Friday, September 27, 2013 7:07 PM
  • Thanks a lot YewHanLim. Addition of ".Sort.SortFields.Clear" in my marco code solved the problem.

    Thanks again !

    Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:11 AM
  • I have the same trouble. But I can fix it as add the Langeuage Settings.Excel Option > Popular > Langeuages Settings......

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 6:01 AM
  • It did not work for me

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014 2:47 AM