We make a software tool that has an export to Excel function. In some cases the exported .xls file has a problem and I have been tasked with fixing it.

When opening the exported .xls file in Excel 2016 we get the following error: Excel found a problem with some content in <filename>. Do you want us to try to recover as much as we can? If you trust the source of this workbook, click Yes. Thats it, no more information than this very vague statemet "a problem with some content". I need to know exactly what the problem is so I can fix the export function of our tool.

Is there any way to get Excel to tell me exactly what the problem is with this file? Is there a log or something for these kind of messages?

I tried looking for a solution online, but every result suggests recovering the .xls file. To be clear I do NOT want to recover the file or any of its contents. I want to know what part of the file is broken so I can find out what our export function is doing wrong. That way I can fix our export function to make sure no broken files are exported in the future.

Thanks in advance!

  • i don't know how to get to the bottom of this, but when I encounter this, I copy everything that I actually need from the work book to a new workbook and this usually fixes it. Use things like Ctrl+End to go to your last cell in Excel, sometimes things creep in that are not expected etc.
    – PeterH
    Feb 18, 2021 at 10:15
  • .xls? That was spreadsheet extension up to excel 2003. Somewhere along the way excel changed from the proprietary format to xml. I'm guessing that is where your problem lies. Better to update the export function to point to the thingy that saves the file as a newer excel version.
    – gns100
    Feb 18, 2021 at 16:11
  • I noticed that too, so I changed the exporter in such a way that it exports .xlsm files and that actually fixed the entire issue. So I don't need an answer to this question anymore. But if somebody happens to know the answer, feel free to post it for others who may need it. Thanks for thinking with me here guys :)
    – Martijn
    Feb 19, 2021 at 6:58


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