6 Fixes To Resolve Excel “An Unexpected Error Has Occurred” Error

Are you facing “an unexpected error has occurred” error message while working with an Excel file?

Are you unable to export or import the Excel file due to the “an unexpected error has occurred, changes to your data cannot be saved” or “An unexpected error has occurred, AutoRecover has been disabled for this session of Excel” error message?

If your answers to the above-asked questions are YES then you are at the right destination. As today in this blog, we will discuss, about this Unexpected Error has Occurred error and apply different solutions to get rid of this.

So let’s started…..!

What This Unexpected Error Has Occurred In Excel Means?

Before going to applying any fixes let’s learn more about this specific Excel an unexpected error has occurred, changes to your data cannot be saved error.

Excel files digitally replaced the paperwork; it deals with several spreadsheets. Through the Microsoft Excel files, you can easily store your insights in an organized manner.

The organized storage mechanism will help you to execute mathematical calculations. The important part, you don’t need to remember any of the scientific formulas and worry about huge calculation or arithmetic operations over your stored data.

This specific error indicates the corruption or damage of the Excel file. Execution of such corrupt files hinders you to perform any task on the Excel application and starts throwing error messages.

The occurrence of this error freezes the Excel application and at the end, you need to close the application from the task manager.

Due to this, your complete data and information have a chance to lose permanently.

Error Messages:

an unexpected error has occurred. changes to your data cannot be saved

Error Screenshot:

an unexpected error has occurred. changes to your data cannot be saved


“An unexpected error has occurred. AutoRecover has been disabled for this session of Excel.”

Error Screenshot:

An unexpected error has occurred. AutoRecover has been disabled for this session of Excel

To extract data from corrupt Excel file, we recommend this tool:

This software will prevent Excel workbook data such as BI data, financial reports & other analytical information from corruption and data loss. With this software you can rebuild corrupt Excel files and restore every single visual representation & dataset to its original, intact state in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download Excel File Repair Tool rated Excellent by Softpedia, Softonic & CNET.
  2. Select the corrupt Excel file (XLS, XLSX) & click Repair to initiate the repair process.
  3. Preview the repaired files and click Save File to save the files at desired location.

What Are The Reason For Getting This Excel Unexpected Error?

The ‘Unexpected error’ message in MS Excel occurs due to various reasons. Here are the reasons:

  • Using any special characters (#, @, %, etc) in the column names
  • Contaminated system files or Virus attack
  • Crashing of HDD
  • Software Malfunctioning
  • Using multiple versions of MS Office on the same system.
  • Disabled MS Office and SharePoint-related add-ons.

Now, coming to the point let’s start applying some tested solutions to get rid of this Excel An Unexpected Error has Occurred error message.

How To Fix An Unexpected Error Has Occurred In Excel?

Method 1: Disable “Ignore Other Applications That Use DDE” Option

This solution is working for Microsoft Excel 2010 and onwards:

1: Open Microsoft Excel and click on the File and then click Options.

Restore from File Recover

2: In the Excel Options, go to the Advanced.

3: Now, scroll down to the General, and here you have to unmark the box present along with the ‘Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)’.


4: At last, click on the OK to save the changes.

This method will definitely resolve the issue. But, if you are still not able to get rid of this issue and facing an issue while exporting an Excel file then follow another given solution.

Method 2: Save Excel File In HTML Format 

In order to fix this issue, you have to run the below-given steps to avoid any kind of corruption-related issues.

1: Open the Microsoft Excel file and navigate through the File -> Save and then change the Save As type to Web Page in HTML format then save and exit from the file.

Save The File In HTML Format

2: Now, open the HTML file in Microsoft Excel.

3: Now, you have to save the file either in XLS or XLSX format and give the new name.

Method 3: Remove Special Characters 

Sometimes exporting to Excel throws an error message while working with a Custom List. This issue generally appears when exporting to SharePoint.

If you want to get rid of this issue then avoid using special characters (#, @, %, etc) while using with custom lists. You may also face this error message whether you are using a custom list or not.

Hence, to get rid of any problematic error while exporting Excel files then avoid using special characters in the column names. Simply delete the column and create it again without entering special characters.

Method 4: Run Excel Open And Repair Utility Tool

In this method, we will follow the Open and Run Utility.

  • To do this, you have to go through the File Menu > click on the “Open” then select the Excel file that you are unable to export.

Open And Repair Method

  • From the list select Open and Repair and then follow the below-discussed steps carefully

Open and Repair

  • Click on the Repair tab in order to recover the data of the Excel file.

excel open and repair

  • Then, click on the Extract Data tab in order to extract values and formulas from the Excel file.

excel open and repair 2

Method 5: Repair Corrupt Excel File

This method is completely automatic, this last solution is for those who are unable to apply any manual solution. We know that MS Excel is packed with an automatic start repair to recover Excel files, but this option is able to deal with the file corruption only to a fixed limit.

So, in case you are trying to export a deeply corrupted Excel file then you need to repair the file first. This task can only be done with a professional Microsoft Excel Repair Tool.

This is the software through which you can repair and recover your inaccessible Excel file. It is very simple to operate this utility hence you don’t need any professional skills.

* Free version of the product only previews recoverable data.

It is a very reliable software that allows you to repair and recover XLSX/XLS file. This software is able to deal with the internal attributes of Excel workbooks hence the Excel file unexpected error gets fixed without any effort.

So, it is recommended to apply this repair suit once in order to fix all types of Microsoft Excel errors.

Steps to Utilize MS Excel Repair Tool


Method 6# Fix Sharepoint Export To Excel An Unexpected Error

This SharePoint export to Excel an unexpected error has occurred message pop-up meanwhile the process of exporting SharePoint Online list to Excel.

It doesn’t matter whether you have directly opened the file from the site or you are trying to open it after downloading. In the end, you will get the SharePoint export to Excel an unexpected error has occurred message and if I close this message then the file would open blank.

To fix this issue, you need to follow down these steps:

  • Open your Excel.
  • Hit the “account”.
  • From the top, hit the sign out.
  • Close your Excel application.
  • Now get back to your SharePoint list and hit the button “Export to Excel”.
  • After the opening of the Excel application, it asks to make sign-in using any account
  • Assign all the credentials asked to fill.

now you won’t get any unexpected error has occurred message at the time of exporting SharePoint list to Excel.

Ending Words:

If you have an experienced user and don’t have any issues then you can apply the manual solutions (from Method 1 to Method 4) but if you don’t have much knowledge about the manual solutions then go with Method 5 which is completely automatic.

That’s all about an unexpected error has occurred error Message in MS Excel, it is hoped that after applying the above-given methods you can use the Microsoft Excel file without any error message.

In case, if you have any queries to ask or want to get information about any other error then kindly share your experiences with us on our social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.

Priyanka is an entrepreneur & 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.