How to Repair Excel File Unreadable Errors

Microsoft Excel is widely regarded as the best spreadsheet software in the world. There is ample evidence that backs up this suggestion as well. Excel is used for both personal and commercial purposes. The excellent features that it offers make it an ideal tool for data organization and manipulation. From sales reports to payroll to budgeting, MS Excel is used for the creation of a number of important documents for small businesses. Thus, when an excel file generates an error and does not open as it is supposed to, it becomes a cause of concern. The displaying of the excel file unreadable error is a case in point.

Part 1: What is the Excel File Unreadable Error?

The Excel File Unreadable Error is a common error that surfaces when an excel file is opened by a user. The error message that appears on the screen looks like this:

"Excel found unreadable content in '[filename].xls'. Do you want to recover the contents of this workbook? If you trust the source of this workbook, click, yes!"

Viewing such an error can sound alarm bells in the minds of the user. Issuance of this error message indicates that the file has developed some kind of issue and some of its content has become unreadable for the software. In the error message, Excel offers you to recover the data of the file too, if you think that the source of the file is trustworthy. It asks you to press yes, if you do trust the source of the file. If you do press yes, Excel would look to recover the content of the file, which might result in full recovery of the data or loss of all of the data contained in the file.

Some of the possible reasons that can cause the Excel File Unreadable Error include:

Part 2: Repair Corrupt Excel File with Excel Repair Software

You can repair corrupted excel file by making use of an excel repair software. These are tools that are designed for recovering the data of the corrupted excel files and restoring them to their original state. There are a number of such Excel repair tools available on the internet but the only one that is effective and reliable among them is the Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair.

The Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair is an excellent Excel repair tool that allows you to not only repair corrupted excel files but also fix the error messages that are caused by these corrupted excel files. The reason why it is considered so reliable and effective is because it has a number of amazing features that are not present in any other Excel file repair tool.

Microsoft Excel Repair Tool
  • Recovers all kind of data stored in damaged excel file such as tables, charts, formulas, comments, images, etc.
  • Restore all of your corrupted excel files to their original standing.
  • Preview the repaired excel file in real-time,see how much of the file has been recovered as it is being repaired.
  • All kind of MS office corruption errors (for XLS and XLSX files only) can be handled with this tool.
  • This excel file repair tool can be used on both windows and Mac platforms in order to repair corrupt excel file.
  • All kind of MS office corruption errors (for XLS and XLSX files only) can be handled with this tool.
  • This excel file repair tool can repair damaged files of all versions from 2000 to 2016 that includes 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, etc.

Step-By-Step Guide for Repairing Corrupted Excel Files

Step 1 Adding Files: The first step is to add the files into the Excel Repair tool. Accomplish this by using the ‘Add File’ option found in the ‘File’ menu.

repair corrupt excel files step 1

Step 2 Searching Files: The second step is to search files that are corrupted within the system. Accomplish this by using one of the three search file options, ‘Search File(s)’, ‘Select Folder’ or ‘Select File’.

repair corrupt excel files step 2

Step 3 Scanning Files: The third step is to begin the scan of the file that is corrupted. Accomplish this by selecting it and clicking the ‘Scan’ button located at the bottom of the screen.

repair corrupt excel files step 3

Step 4 Previewing Files: The fourth step is to preview the contents of the corrupted file. Accomplish this by selecting the file from the family tree located at the left of the screen and then double-clicking on it.

repair corrupt excel files step 4

Step 5 Saving Files: The fifth step is to save the repaired file. Accomplish this by using one of the two save file options, ‘Select New Folder’ or ‘Default Location’.

repair corrupt excel files step 5

Part 3: Fixes for Excel File Unreadable Error

The following are some fixes for Excel File Unreadable Error that you can use for the quick resolution of this error message:

Step 1 Converting your ‘.xls’ file to ‘read-only’. Make use of the following steps to convert your excel workbook into a ‘Read-Only’ file.

Step 2 Copy the entire contents of the corrupted Excel file into a blank and new ‘.xls’ workbook. Now, attempt to re-open this file after saving it first.

Step 3 It is observed numerous times that the Excel File Unreadable Error message can be easily resolved by installing the components of ‘Visual Basic’ of MS Office 2010. Make use of the following steps to accomplish this:

Click on the ‘Start’ menu. Now, click on the ‘Control Panel’. In the window that appears, click on ‘Programs’. Choose ‘Microsoft Office 2010’ from the list. Now, click on ‘Change’. In the window that appears, click on ‘Add or Remove Programs’. Click on the ‘plus’ sign present at the end of the list, located in front of the ‘Office Shared Features’ option. Now, click on ‘Visual Basic for Applications’. After doing all this, select ‘Run’ command from ‘My Computer’ after right-clicking on it and then hitting ‘Continue’.

After the process has been completed, do remember to restart your computer.


The following tips can be used for fixing excel file unreadable error message if all other methods for repairing the corrupted excel file have been tried.

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