Excel found unreadable content

Excel found unreadable content!!!

Excel occasionally gives a problem when trying to open a file where, during the opening process it says ‘Excel found unreadable content’ and then proceeds to open the file (after some repairing). Sometimes it is very difficult to identify what the problem was and what was ‘repaired’ to suddenly make the file work.

One reason for this (and there are lots more we suspect) is if the file name or path to a file is too long. At a recent client we found 2 spreadsheets linked together and stored fairly low down in the directory structure ( e.g. C:\Users\Adrian\Documents\Clients\ABCDE\From Client\20140219 From Mike Account Updates\…..).

When the client opened the file they got the ‘Excel found unreadable content’ message but ignored it and continued to work. It turns out that the file linked to this opened file had a path that Excel couldn’t handle and as a result Excel repaired the links by breaking them (copy paste as values).

If you get this message rather close down and move the files to a higher directory before you open it and definitely before you make changes and save it. Once it is saved the broken links are effectively made permanent.