How to fix the Excel file could not be found error

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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microsoft excel could not open file

Some Excel users have queried how they can fix an Excel file could not be found error on the Microsoft forum. The error message states:

[filename] could not be found. Check the spelling of the file name and verify that the file location is correct.

That error message pops when those users try to open an Excel file within the software or by clicking an XLS spreadsheet file to start the application. The issue arises for Excel 2007 and 2010 versions.

This is how users can fix the Excel file could not be found error

1. Edit the file and folder titles

  1. Open the folder that includes the spreadsheet the Excel file could not be found error arises for.
  2. Right-click the spreadsheet file you need to fix the error for and select the Rename option.
  3. Enter a shorter file title for the spreadsheet document.
  4. In addition, edit the spreadsheet file’s folder title by right-clicking it and selecting Rename.
    • Input a shorter title for the folder, and press the Enter key.

If the folder’s path includes numerous subfolders, try shorting their folder titles by selecting the Rename option as outlined above.


2. Move the file to an alternative folder path

  1. Alternatively, try moving the Excel file the error arises for to a different folder.
    • To do so, open File Explorer.
  2. Select the Excel spreadsheet to move.
  3. Click the Move to button in the snapshot directly below.
  4. Select a folder to move the file to on the menu.
  5. Alternatively, click Choose Location to open the window below.
    • You can select an alternative folder path from there.
  6. Click the Move button.
  7. Click OK to exit the Move Items window.

3. Edit the registry

  1. If the Excel file could not be found error arises when you launch the application, try this registry fix.
    • Right-click the Start button in Windows 10 and select Run.
  2. Enter regedit in Run and press Return to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Open this registry key path:
    • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > Excel.Sheet.8 > shell > Open > command.
  4. Double-click (Default) on the right pane to open its Edit String window.
  5. Erase %1 from the end of the string in the Value data box.
    • The Value data string should then be:
      • C:\PROGRAM FILES\MICROSOFT OFFICE\OFFICE\EXCEL.EXE
  6. Click OK to close the Edit String window.

4. Deactivate Excel add-ins

  1. The file could not be found error can also be due to an XLA add-in file.
    • To deactivate Excel’s add-ins, click the File tab in the application.
  2. Select Options to open the Excel Options window.
  3. Click the Add-ins tab on that window.
  4. Select Excel Add-ins on the drop-down menu.
  5. Click the Go button.
  6. Deselect the add-in checkboxes on the Add-in window to deactivate them.
  7. Select the OK option to exit the window.

Those are resolutions users have confirmed fixed the Excel file could not be found error for them.

Users who have fixed the same error message using other methods are welcome to share their alternative fixes below.

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