Unable to Open Excel File After Recovery

Summary: The blog describes the standard recovery features such as AutoRecover and Open & Repair offered by MS Excel application to repair corrupt or damaged files. It explains the factors that make the file inaccessible or unable to open Microsoft Excel file and highlights additional error messages.

MS Excel 2016 file running over Windows 10 machine turns inaccessible and displays error “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx”. While manual procedures to repair the Excel file become fails to make the Worksheet accessible, let us look at possible solutions.

Unable to open microsoft excel file

Even though Excel offers a built-in File Recovery feature known as AutoRecover, to recover corrupt data, yet it sometimes fails to do so. The utility helps repair the file only when the corruption in MS Excel worksheet is much lower. However, in higher instances of corruption where a considerable amount of data appears missing, there are some other methods available for repairing the corrupt Excel file.

Manual recovery procedures such as reverting the MS Excel Workbook to the last saved version or setting the calculation option to manual are liable to several limitations and does not help much in recovering the Excel file from its inaccessible state. The built-in Excel utilities and manual methods to salvage data from corruption are efficient. However, the success ratio depends upon the level of corruption and the volume of data stored in the file.

Errors that Confirm Excel Corruption

When the Excel worksheet turns inaccessible, it begins to display the error message(s) that further helps detect the actual cause of the issue. Listed below are the common error messages:

  • “The file is corrupt and cannot be opened”
  • “The file is not in a recognisable format”
  • “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx”
  • “Excel unable to read file”
  • “File name is not valid”
  • “Microsoft Excel has encountered a problem and needs to close”
  • “filename.xls file cannot be accessed. The file may be read-only”

Causes Responsible for Excel File Corruption

XLSX files turn unreadable due to some reasons that can be categorise into logical and mechanical errors. However, in the majority of cases, the Excel files become inaccessible because of logical inconsistencies such as:

  • File may turn corrupt due to virus attacks and malware intrusion
  • MS Excel worksheet is interrupted while the read\write operation is in process
  • Excel application is shut down inappropriately
  • System shutdown while the Excel file in functional mode
  • The volume of the Excel workbook is considerably larger
  • Problem with storage media such as existence of bad sectors

Tips to Turn Excel Worksheet Readable

Below are some tips that can help resolve issues in the Excel file:

  • Attempt to save the inaccessible file in HTML format
  • Try to open Excel file in MS Word
  • Use External Link Formulas in another Worksheet
  • Try to open the damaged XLS file in Excel Viewer
  • Attempt to run Open & Repair feature
  • Try disabling Macros

Sometimes the reason for Excel file corruption is unknown, and all above mentioned recovery methods to repair a corrupted Excel file fails to gain access to the lost data. In such scenarios, only a professional third-party Excel file recovery software will help recover the corrupt worksheet.

Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair is one such tool that helps to repair Excel file from all types of corruption. The software offers extensive features to retrieve all recoverable data from the damaged Worksheet. In addition, recovery of all the objects including tables, cell comment, chart sheets, formula, filter, sort, image chart, etc. is possible by this Excel recovery tool.


  • There is no file size limitation is imposed on the tool for recovery.
  • It works towards removing a number of logical errors from the file in order to make it accessible.
  • Cell formatting and worksheet properties are well taken care of while executing the recovery process.
  • The software supports recovery on MS Excel 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003 and 2000 versions and therefore it is compatible with XLS and XLSX files.

Besides, the repair procedure can be initiated by even novice users. Some pre-requisites need to be fulfilled before running the software.

  • Make sure all Excel files has been closed before you begin with the recovery procedure
  • In case you have engineering formulas installed in the Excel file, you need to install the ‘Analysis ToolPak’ add-in

The software performed successful recovery procedure, and all the Worksheet objects are recovered and restored to the original format and structure.

Synopsis of Excel Recovery Procedure

Here, it is important to mention that the recovery has been performed via Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair software to repair MS Excel 2016 file on Windows 10 machine. Before deploying the professional recovery solution, a number of manual Excel Recovery procedures were implemented, but the file remains unreadable.

The corrupt worksheet continuously shows the error message – “Excel found unreadable content in filename.xlsx”. The Excel Repair software helps gain access to the lost data, and all the recovered contents are restored in the original format.

The software allows recovering selected files to initiate a quick recovery process. The software scans the selected file to retrieve all possible data and then the repaired file is stored at a user-defined location.

While saving the repaired file, the software provides two different storage options including default location and new folder. The file can be stored either at the same location where the original file exists or within the new folder as per user preference and requirements. With all these impressive features, it can be concluded that Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair software is the best way to repair the XLS/ XLSX files from corruption.

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1 Response

  1. Gracy says:

    Amazing post. The Excel repair software repaired my file successfully.

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