Why can I no longer open Excel spreadsheet files?

Connie Kriebel July 15, 2012
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Suddenly I cannot open Excel files by double (left) clicking on files on the desktop or in email. I believe it is a problem with file associations, though I try to open with excel and it still does not work.

Any ideas how to fix this?

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  1. Paul Pruitt
    December 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    See my steps to recovering from Excel corruption: http://s2services.com/excel.htm.

    There is also Microsoft's steps: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/repairing-corrupted-files-in-excel-HA001034656.aspx for xls files and http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/repairing-a-corrupted-workbook-HA010097017.aspx for xlsx file. My freeware program tries to bring all of Microsoft's methods except one into one simple GUI, with each method launchable with a single button push: http://sourceforge.net/projects/corruptexcelrec/.

    Also there is a long post by Norman Harker within this thread that is quite good I think: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/microsoft.public.excel.misc/7sMlwy0hQL4.

  2. Abba Jee
    November 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

    if you can't open excel file you made your own, maybe you need to scan your system for virus , or maybe office files got corrupted you need to repair it once

  3. Irina
    October 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Try opening your file, then go to Window >> Unhide.

    I had a similar issue - it looked like the file was being open, there was a progress bar, and then nothing would happen. Turns out the file was opening OK, but it was hidden from view.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Hello, does this happen with any excell files? or just the one? If it happens only with one specific file, then that file might be corrupted. You could try opening an excel file known to have open in the past and see if you get same result.

    • Irina
      October 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      This may not apply to your scenario, but try opening your file, then go to Window > Unhide.

  5. Gian Singh
    July 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Right click, then open with, select excel and make it your default for .xls and done.

  6. Ben
    July 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Try opening an excel file from your computer in another computer that has Excel. If it successfully opens, then you need to re-install / repair Excel on your computer. If it fails to open then the file is corrupt.

  7. Gaurav
    July 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    First of all try opening other office files like Word, if it opens, then MS office is working. Then check do you have Excel package installed in your system. Then check the hardware settings for your mouse.

  8. Fakhruddin Ahmad
    July 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    open explorer.
    right click on any excel spreadsheet (.xlsx or .xls, if i remember correctly).
    a properties dialog will appear.
    try to find "open with" option, click "change", and then choose microsoft excel.
    click ok then.
    see if anything changes. if problem persist, tell me.

  9. Muhammad Ahmad
    July 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I think your excel got corrupted. You need to diagnose the excel, alternatively you can uninstall and re-install the excel to fix the problem.

  10. ha14
    July 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

    you can try this microsoft fix it that will reset reset user options and registry settings in Word
    this will reset microsoft office like new as if you installed it freshly. pethaps you will have to reconfigure outlook after this fix?

  11. Irshaad Abdool
    July 15, 2012 at 10:02 am

    try to open it using another PC. if it works, then your copy of microsoft office needs troubleshooting. else, the spreadsheet file is corrupted. repair it, or recover from older files

  12. Alan Wade
    July 15, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Create a new Excel file and save it to the desktop.
    Double click on it, does that open with Excel?

    • Alan Wade
      July 15, 2012 at 7:26 am

      The new Excel file does not need to contain data, it is just to check the file associations.

      • yaw
        October 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

        cant open my excel file

  13. Susendeep Dutta
    July 15, 2012 at 5:16 am

    I think that you are facing problem of file association.Makeuseof has an article related to this -

    2 Best Tools To Change Or Remove File Type Associations [Windows] -


  14. Bruce Epper
    July 15, 2012 at 3:09 am

    If you can't open the file via the Open option inside Excel or dragging the file into a running instance of Excel, the file itself could be corrupted.If it is just a matter of not being able ot open the file via a double-click, right-click and select Open with... In the resulting dialog box, select Excel and make sure the checkbox for 'Always use the selected program to open this kind of file' is ticked.

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