4 Fixes To Resolve Excel XLSM Files Won’t Open Issue


Are you the one facing issue to open xlsm file then this article is for you? Here check out the complete information about XLSM file and different ways to fix xlsm files won’t open issue.

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Steps to Utilize MS Excel Repair Tool:


What Is An Xlsm File?

An XLSM file is an Excel file extension; it is an macro-enabled worksheet (.xlsm) file.

Or in other words, XLSM file is a spreadsheet that includes macros written in (VBA) Visual Basic for Applications language.

The XLSM file is similar to an XLSX file, but the only difference is that XLSM files accomplish embedded macros programmed in the VBA language.

Well like other Excel file extension this is also very useful and makes the task easy for the users. But in many cases, the users are found reporting the unable to open xlsm file in Excel 2013.

This is a common problem and not only limited to Excel 2013 even the other Excel versions like Excel 2010 and 2016 users are also found reporting about the can’t open XLSM files.

Here in this article, check out the fixes to resolve Excel XLSM files won’t open in Excel 2013 error.

How To Fix Can’t Open XLSM File In Excel 2013?

Well, the XLSM files possibly stores and execute harmful, malicious code through macros. So, it is very important to be cautious while opening the executable XLSM file format and especially if you received it through email or downloaded from the third party websites.

Please Note: It is advised to avoid opening the workbook directly from the email message. First, save it to a folder on the hard disk then open the saved workbook.

Now check out the below-given tricks on how to open XLSM file when Excel denies to open it.

Solution 1:  Add a New Location

Here it is recommended to add a new location in Excel to open xlsm file.

Follow the steps to do so:

  • First, close the workbook
  • Now choose File > Options > in the navigation pane choose ‘Trust Center’
  • Click ‘Trust Center Settings…’


  • Then choose ‘Trusted Locations’ > click ‘Add new location…’


  • And enter the folder path where you saved the workbook. (utilize browse button to locate it)
  • Click OK > reopen the workbook.

Add a New Location in trust center

Now check whether the XLSM file won’t open in Excel 2013 issue is resolved or not. If not then try the second solution.

Solution 2: Uninstall the Updates

It is confirmed by the experts that certain updates are causing the issue. So check whether you have installed the recently launched updates:

  • KB 3114736
  • Or KB 3114717
  • KB 3114734

If you did, then simply uninstall them and after that check whether your Excel cannot open XLSM file problem is been resolved or not.

Solution 3: Reset File Associations

Try resetting the file associations this worked for many Excel users to fix xlsm file not opening issue.

Follow the steps:

  • Go to Control Panel > click Default Programs.

Reset File Associations 1

  • Now click on Set your default programs > click Excel

Reset File Associations 2

  • Click Choose default for this program.
  • Next on the Set Program Associations screen > click Select All > click Ok

Reset File Associations 3

Solution 4: Open XLSM File

Well, if none of the above-given solutions works for you then try to fix macro enabled Excel file not opening issue through the open button.

Follow the steps to do so:

  • First, launch Microsoft Office Excel 2013
  • And click File > Open from the menu for opening the Open window.

Open And Repair Method

  • Now choose the folder that contains the XLSM file using the integrated file browser > choose the XLSM file.
  • Then click on the Open button for opening the Excel XLSM file.

Open XLSM File

  • Click the “Enable Content” button at the top in the yellow bar for enabling the macros.

Open XLSM File 1

And this is it, hope you are now able to open XLSM file in Excel 2013.


How Do I Convert XLSM To XLS?

In Excel when you make a macro by using the macro recorder or through the VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) editor.

After the creation of the macro, you need to save it so that later on it can be used again in other workbooks or in your current workbook.

To accomplish this task you need to convert XLSM to XLS.

If you want to keep the macro only within the workbook in which you have created it. In that case, hit the save or Save As option.

But when it’s about saving the workbook with the macros then it’s a bit different as it required to be in “macro-enabled” file format.

When you attempts to save this, Excel ask you to choose out of these two choices:

  • Save this like a macro-enabled workbook (i.e in the *.xlsm file type) by hitting the No option.
  • Save it like a macro-free workbook by hitting the Yes option.

convert xlsm to xlsx 1

For saving it as macro-enabled workbook:

  • Tap to the No button in the opened dialog box.
  • In the opened Save As box, go to the Save as type Now from its drop down menu choose the Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (*.xlsm).

convert xlsm to xlsx 2

  • Hit the Save button.

What Is The Difference Between XLSX And XLSM?


  • XLSX is default XML-based file format that can’t store VBA macro code.
  • It’s a best file format as it uses open file format and thus it can be easily compatible with other applications too.
  • This file format is quiet safe as it won’t store any malicious codes. It allows you to enter the most possible columns and rows.
  • The dropdown of xlsx file is that it won’t save VBA macros.
  • XLSX file captures lot of your disc space comparatively more than other Excel file format.


  • The plus point of XLSM file is that it saves VBA macros file.
  • The risk of getting virus infection is high in this file format. So need to be very careful about the thing you save in this file format and from whom you are receiving the file.
  • It doesn’t take much space to get stored but it is still a big Excel file format.
  • Just like xlsx, XLSM can also be used with many other applications as it is an open file.
  • It gives the full amount of rows and columns. This file format is well compatible with almost entire functions of Excel and saves them all.


So, in this way you can fix unable to open xlsm file in Excel 2016/2013 issue.

Follow the given solutions one by one and check which one works for you to open xlsm file.

Well, facing Excel issues and errors is a common problem and once a while every user faces it, so in this case, remember to get on the root cause of the issue this will help you to resolve 50 percent of the error.

Additionally, we all know how essential is Excel application, so it is recommended to handle the Excel file properly and follow best preventive steps to protect your Excel files from getting corrupted.

Despite it, always Create Backup Of Active Workbooks In Excel and as well scan your system with good antivirus program for virus and malware infection.

If, in case you have any additional questions concerning the ones presented, do tell us in the comments section below or you can also visit our Repair MS Excel Facebook and Twitter account.

Good Luck….

4 Fixes To Resolve Excel XLSM Files Won't Open Issue
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4 Fixes To Resolve Excel XLSM Files Won't Open Issue
Want to fix Excel XLSM files won’t open issue then follow the given solutions one by one to open the Excel XLSM file with ease.
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Repair MS Excel Blog
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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.