Sometimes when I open certain worksheets in Excel 2010 I see the message in the title. Excel then asks if I want to repair the file. I say "Yes" and Excel reports that the file is repaired. A log file says something about removed records.

However, there does not seem to be anything missing from the file, and all sheets and VB macros in the workbook work just fine.
Any suggestions?


9 Answers 9


As Posted here and verified by me.

I don't have what I'd call a "satisfactory" resolution, but I do have a workaround (kindof!) Round trip the file using Excel 2003 to remove corruption if the work book will not repair in 2010:

  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)

I do not know where the actual "corruption" comes from. Evidently Office 2010 is much more "picky" about checking files for issues than office 2003. According to Microsoft:

“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 I hope this helps. Before you import the file from other system, change the name of the worksheet of the workbook. Longer names cause problems in conversion


I also encountered a similar problem when trying to open up .xlsx files sent to me from another coworker. I'm using Office 2010 on Windows 7.

Upon trying to open up the file it would say:

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

I click 'Yes' and then Excel pops up a message saying: The file is corrupt and cannot be opened.

Solution: Go the the file in Windows Explorer, right-click on the file, select Properties and at the bottom there's an area called Security, click on Unblock.

I hope this helps others who run into this using Excel 2010 on Windows 7.


Repair the Excel workbook and check if this helps.

The most likely cause of the problem is that the Excel file was created using OpenXML coding, for programmatically creating Excel files instead of using Office.Interop which has security issues when used on a server. The OpenXML format is very complex, and, although OpenXML is brilliant, it is not easy to create well formed Excel files. This error can be caused by something as simple as the programmer setting a text column with a date or number format. It can be so difficult and time consuming to get right that the programmer will give up trying to find where the problem is, leaving the generated file to be opened and saved to get rid of the errors each time. You can open these files using the OpenXML SDK 2.5 Productivity Tool which, if you validate it, will usually tell you where the problem lies in the background XML. You can also recreate a similar Excel file using Excel, then open it in the Productivity Tool and see where the differences are between the two files.

  • 1
    OpenXML SDK 2.5 Productivity Tool really helped to give out extra error message.
    – KuN
    Oct 31, 2019 at 18:51
  • To download OpenXML SDK 2.5 Productivity Tool use official source: github.com/OfficeDev/Open-XML-SDK/releases/tag/v2.5 It really tells what is wrong with you XLSX file, no need to guess and pray.
    – gavenkoa
    Dec 1, 2021 at 16:50

If run Excel as an administrator this gets around the problem. I believe it is a security issue.

I have got this on all my programs. I am trying to find the correct solution but this seems to work for now.


You may be trying to open a file that has connections to other files. Security settings prevent automatic update of those connections, and therefore Excel is left confused with regards to whether the links are viable or not. Besides the links to actual files, you may have links to the Data Model, which also depend on external files and fail to update upon file opening. Go to Data -> Connections, and check whether this is the case. If this issue is unbearable, break the link.


I faced the same issue, and after drillling into the issue, i realised that the name of the sheet in the excel had special charaters which is not allowed. I removed the special character and the issue had gone.

P.S. I was generating the excel from the code and thus setting the name of sheet dynamically.


This happened to me with a programmatically generated worksheet.

It turns out that Excel has a hard limit on the number of "Hyperlinks in a worksheet" of 66,530 (see https://support.office.com/en-us/article/excel-specifications-and-limits-1672b34d-7043-467e-8e27-269d656771c3?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US).

On reducing the number of hyperlinks below this threshold, the workbook opened fine. (For the record, OpenOffice Calc was able to open the original, bad, file too, although it was very slow to do so.)


Cause: The most probable cause of encountering this error message is the corruption of complete Excel file or corruption of one or more object in this file.

Well nobody has posted one simple solution for the problem:

Try to open your '.xls' file by making it 'read-only'.

1.Click on the ‘Office button’ and select save for new document or save as for previously saved document.

2.Now click on the ‘Tools’ and select ‘General Options’

3.And finally click on the ‘read-only’ check-box to make document read-only

Open a new and blank '.xls' file and copy everything from the corrupt Excel file to this new file. Save this file and try to open it again.

If nothing works then Install the Visual Basic component in Office 2010.


Move your excel file into a different folder, open it, it will be fine.

  • Do you know why this works? Dec 23, 2016 at 20:07
  • 1
    I'm not sure, found this suggestion in the ass crack of the Internet a few years ago. Been using it ever since.
    – thedanotto
    Dec 23, 2016 at 21:10
  • Sometimes those are the best fixes, eh? Dec 23, 2016 at 21:57

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