How to Fix “Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File” Error?

Recently many users are reporting about a peculiar error message stating “Microsoft Excel cannot access the file ‘XXXX’. There are several possible reasons”. This error typically occurs when Excel encounters difficulties in opening or accessing a specific file. (Below you can see the real interface of this error).

Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File

However, there are various reasons behind the occurrence of it like file corruption, insufficient file permissions, improper file format, etc.

Regardless of the reasons, Excel cannot access the file when opening error can be easily fixed by applying a few effective ways mentioned in this post.

Read further to know more…

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Why Excel Cannot Open the File?

There are a couple of reasons for Excel being unable to open a file. Here I have listed the major factors for this error:

1. File Is in Use by Another User

Many users tend to store their files on a shared drive or network location. If such files are opened by another user in another place, it can prevent them from accessing the Excel document.

2. When Excel File is Corrupted:

Excel file corruption is the foremost reason for the error Microsoft Excel cannot access the file or cannot open the file error.

File corruption happens due to various reasons, like improper shutdown, hardware issues, power failures, software conflicts, etc.

3. Using an Outdated Version of MS Excel

If you are using an outdated version of MS Excel or Office then the file might refuse to open properly on your computer.

4. File Is Stored in a Protected/Restricted Folder

In case, if the Excel file is saved in a folder with restricted permissions or is protected by security settings, Excel may not have the required access privileges to open a file.

As you have known the common causes, now let’s proceed to fix Excel cannot access the file there are several possible reasons with the best fixes.

How to Fix Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File Error Message?

Method 1- Use a Professional Tool to Fix Corrupted Excel File

As mentioned in a causes section, the Excel file corruption can trigger Excel cannot access the file error. So, if you are suspicious that your file is corrupted, immediately repair it by using the Excel Repair Tool.

It is an expert-recommended tool that has the ability to repair various Excel errors along with recovering its components like charts, tables, worksheet properties, cell comments, & other data.

The best thing about this program is- it shows a preview after repairing the corrupt Excel worksheet on your PC screen.

You can even try a free demo version of this best Excel recovery tool.

* Free version of the product only previews recoverable data.

Steps to Know How Excel File Recovery Tool Works:

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Method 2- Ensure the External Links Added in Excel Document Are Valid

Microsoft Excel cannot access the file there are several possible reasons Windows 10 error can even occur when you click on an external link stored in a document. But the path or file name of the linked entry has been changed.

In such a situation, you can do the following things:

  • Ensure the linked stuff is not renamed or moved
  • Remove the linked stuffs if they are not found anymore
  • Also, ensure the linked stuff are updated in the spreadsheet if modified.

Method 3- Disable the add-ins

Many users have reported that disabling the add-ins in Excel helped them to troubleshoot this error message. So, why don’t you try this?

To disable the add-ins, you have to:

Step 1- Open the Excel document (that is not corrupted) >> Go to a File tab.

Step 2- Next, click on the Options then Add-ins.

Step 3- Then, select the Excel add-ins >> click on Go button.

Step 4- Here, you will need to uncheck all the boxes >> click OK.

Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File

If this method doesn’t work, try the next one.

Also Read: Fix “The File Is Corrupted And Cannot Be Opened Excel” Error

Method 4- Update the MS Excel

Installing the outdated version of Excel to the latest version can assist you get rid of this problem. To update the MS Excel, simply follow the beneath steps:

  • On your PC, go to the search bar & type Microsoft Excel.
  • Then, choose an Account from the left pane.
  • After that, click on the Update Options.
  • From a context menu, select the option “Update Now”.

Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File

At last, Microsoft will immediately install the Office updates if any are available.

Method 5- Checking for Permissions to Fix Excel Cannot Access the File

It might be possible, that Excel may not have the required access privileges to open a file. In such a situation, changing the access permission can help you to open and access your Excel file.

To know the complete steps, Click Here.

Method 6- Repair MS Office

If none of the above solutions worked for you, consider repairing the MS Office. There is a huge possibility that MS Excel cannot access the file due to corruption in MS Office.

Consequently, repair it by following the beneath steps:

  • Firstly, click Start menu >> choose Settings.
  • In the second step, choose Apps from the left pane.
  • At this time, click on Apps & Features.

Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File

  • Scroll down & find Microsoft Office.
  • Click on the 3 dots menu.
  • Next, click on Advanced options and then Online Repair.

Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File

  • Lastly, click on Repair > Repair.

Microsoft Excel Cannot Access the File

That’s it…

Also Read: Fix Workbook Cannot Be Opened Or Repaired Error

Related FAQs:

Why Is Excel Not Letting Me Open a File?

If your Excel not letting you to open a file, it simply means that your Microsoft Office installation is corrupted.

How to Repair Excel Cannot Open the File Because the File Format or File Extension Is Not Valid?

To repair Excel cannot open the file because the file format or file extension is not valid, you can change the file type. Follow the below steps to do so:

  • Open MS Excel >> Go to a ‘File’ tab.
  • Next, click on ‘Export’ >> choose the option ‘Change File Type’.
  • Choose any other file format which Microsoft Excel supports >> click ‘Save As’.
  • Finally, check if you can now open the Excel file without any error.

How Do You Fix a Corrupted Excel File That Won't Open?

To fix a corrupted Excel file that won’t open, you will have to follow the below steps:

  • Open MS Excel, go to the File >> Open.
  • Then, click on the location & folder that holds the corrupted Excel workbook.
  • Now, in an Open dialog box, choose the corrupt workbook.
  • After this, click on the arrow next to an Open button >> Click on Open and Repair.
  • Finally, click on Repair.

Final Verdict

Encountering Excel errors while opening and saving the file is really annoying as such errors ruin the working experience.

However, in this article, I have explained all about Microsoft Excel cannot access the file when opening error.

Though the manual fixes might be time taken. So, if you want to solve this Excel error quickly & effortlessly, going with the Excel Repair Tool will be the best option.

That’s all…

Priyanka is a content marketing expert. She writes tech blogs and has expertise in MS Office, Excel, and other tech subjects. Her distinctive art of presenting tech information in the easy-to-understand language is very impressive. When not writing, she loves unplanned travels.