I am attempting to save a large Excel file as a CSV. When doing so, Excel 2003 simply gives me a cryptic error:

Document is not completely saved.

I check the CSV and found it exists, but the last line is cut off and other data after that aren't in the file at all.

What is this error and how can I correctly save this Excel file as CSV?

I am saving to my C drive. Any other Excel file works correctly when saving to CSV.

  • 1
    how big is the excel file? and the generated CSV ? – woliveirajr Sep 12 '12 at 0:06

You get that message when the process of saving is disrupted.

Most likely,

  • If you're saving the file remotely, the network connection might be interrupted.
  • If you're saving the file locally, some process or other application is taking higher priority and/or taking resources (CPU/disk/whatever) Excel expected to have/use - thus the error.

Assuming you're saving the file locally, check to see no other apps are running except Excel when you save your large spreadsheet. This includes antivirus/antimalware, print managers, chat or IM programs, browsers, update utilities, etc.

Checking Task Manager for processes is a good idea too.

Here's Microsoft's "official" answer:



Excel may have run out of memory trying to convert the document to CSV format. Because Excel 2003 is a 32-bit application, it cannot use more than 2 GB of memory. You might want to monitor memory usage during the save operation to determine if this is the cause of the problem. Otherwise, the save operation was somehow interrupted, or a technical constraint (such as a disk quota or file size limit, though unlikely) prevented the save operation from completing.

You may be able to successfully save the document with a newer version of Excel or an alternative program, such as Apache OpenOffice Calc.


It seems the limit has to do with 32bit restrictions on 2003.

I used this macro to save the file: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;291296&Product=xlw

Although it cut off 1024+ character cells, but every row was saved okay.


Try here: "You receive an error message when you try to save a file in Excel" http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=214073

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.