Fixed- The Workbook Cannot Be Opened or Repaired by Microsoft Excel Error (8 Ways)

Imagine, you’re working on an important Excel workbook, and suddenly, you can’t open it. Instead, you get the error message: “The workbook cannot be opened or repaired by Microsoft Excel because it is corrupt.” Annoying, right? Don’t worry, in this useful guide, you will learn the major factors of this error and how you can fix it step by step.

Screenshot of the error:

The workbook cannot be opened or repaired

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Considerate the Error Message:

When Excel shows an error “The workbook cannot be opened or repaired corrupt”, it means that the Excel file you are trying to access is corrupted or damaged. It happens due to a wide variety of factors, ranging from abrupt power failures and system crashes to software bugs & issues with the file itself.

Why Does It Say the Workbook Cannot Be Opened or Repaired by Microsoft Excel?

The following are the root causes behind the occurrence of this peculiar error.

  1. Closing file incorrectly
  2. Virus or malware attack
  3. Compatibility Issues
  4. Hard disk failure
  5. Faulty add-ins
  6. Large-size Excel file.

After knowing the common causes, it’s time to troubleshoot the problem using some workable solutions.

Manual Methods to Fix the Workbook Cannot Be Opened or Repaired by Microsoft Excel Error

In this section, we have discussed both simple and advanced resolutions to solve the workbook cannot be opened with ease.

Method 1- Try Some Basic Tips

Before diving into more complex solutions, perform these basic checks:

  1. Restart Excel & PC
  2. Check File Compatibility
  3. Ensure Excel Software is Updated

Method 2- Use Open and Repair Tool

This is the best way to fix corrupted Excel workbooks. Open and Repair is an inbuilt utility available in the Excel application that can help you to solve the workbook cannot be opened or repaired by Microsoft Excel because it is corrupted error easily.

So here is how to use this tool:

  • Start Microsoft Excel >> click on “Open”
  • Select the corrupted Excel file
  • From the list of the “Open” tab > select “Open and Repair”

excel open and repair 1

  • Click on the “Repair” button.


Note: This will repair the corrupt Excel file however, if the file is severely damaged then this fails to fix it and you have to opt for the most reliable Excel Repair Tool.

Method 3- Change the File Extension

Many users have reported that changing the file extension from .xls to .xlsx (or vice versa) helped them to fix this warning message. So, you can also try it once. To do so:

  • Right-click on the file >> select Rename.
  • Now, go to File menu >> Save As >> Choose the location to save the file.
  • In the Save as type list, click the file format (xls or .xlsx) you want.
  • Then, click on Save.

the workbook cannot be opened or repaired

  • Try opening the file again to check for the error.

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

Method 4- Change The Calculation Setting

Another quick method to solve this error is to change the calculation setting in Excel from Automatic to Manual. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Go to File > Options.
  2. Under the Excel Options window, find the Formulas category, in the Calculation options, click on Manual.
  3. Next, click OK.

Change The Calculation Setting

Finally, try opening that file to check for the error. If the error persists, try the next solution.

Method 5- Copy Data to a New Workbook to Fix the Workbook Cannot Be Opened or Repaired by Microsoft Excel

If you can partially open the file, consider copying data from the old workbook to a new one. For this, you have to:

  • Open Excel and create a blank or new workbook.
  • Select & copy entire data from a corrupted file.
  • Go and paste it into a new workbook and save the new file.

transpose with copy and paste 3

Method 6- Open Excel in Safe Mode

Opening the Excel in a safe mode is an excellent resolution to make your Excel worksheet accessible. If you’re facing the workbook cannot be open error due to faulty Excel add-ins, this trick will eventually help to get rid of it.

Method 7- Repair Microsoft Office Installation

Sometimes, corruption in Microsoft Office can cause various errors including the workbook cannot be opened or repaired corrupt. However, you can repair Office installation to solve the problem.

Follow the below steps to get your job done:

  • Open the Control Panel>> choose ‘Uninstall a program.
  • Then, search & choose MS Office from the list of the programs.
  • Click on ‘Change’ option.

Programs and Features

  • Now, choose ‘Repair’ and then follow the onscreen instructions to fix the corrupted Office installation files.

Use Automatic Solution- MS Excel Repair Software

If you are still unable to fix this error message even after following the above-given fixes, it’s a sign that your Excel workbook is severely corrupted. So, make use of the professionally recommended MS Excel Repair Tool. It can fix any sort of issues, corruption, or errors in Excel workbooks.

With the help of this tool, you can easily restore all corrupt Excel files including the charts, worksheet properties cell comments, and other important data. This is a unique program to repair multiple Excel files in one repair cycle and recover the entire data in a preferred location.

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* Free version of the product only previews recoverable data.

Steps to Utilize MS Excel Repair Tool:

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Related FAQs:

Why Is Excel Saying File Corrupt?

An Excel workbook gets corrupted due to numerous reasons including sudden system shutdown, power outage, virus/malware attack, etc.

How to Fix the File Is Corrupted and Cannot Be Opened in Excel?

You can fix the file that is corrupted and cannot be opened in Excel by using the built-in Excel utility known as ‘Open and Repair’.

What to Do If My Excel File Won't Open?

It might be possible that your Excel file is severely corrupted that’s why it refuses to open. To make it accessible, you can use the sophisticated Excel Repair Tool and repair your corrupted file.

How to Repair Excel Files Online for Free?

There are various online tools available such as Aspose.Cells Excel Repair App, Recovery Toolbox, Online File Repair Service, etc. can help you to repair Excel files online for free.

Also Read: XLS Cannot Be Accessed The File May Corrupt Error

Closure Time!

Encountering the Excel error “the workbook cannot be opened or repaired corrupt” can be daunting. But there are numerous solutions to get rid of it. From built-in features to advanced third-party software mentioned above can assist you to overcome this hurdle and bringing back your important data.

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.