How to fix "This file is not in a recognizable format" MS Excel error?

While working on MS Excel, users have found themselves in a difficult situation when they try to open an Excel file and it reports error and do not allows you to do so. The error "This file is not in a recognizable format" could be due to various reasons. In this note we are going to discuss each and every possibility of this error and measures by following which, it could be removed.

What do you want to know?

Opening file which is in Works 3.0 or 4.0 format in Excel 2000 or 2002

As Microsoft Works is a discontinued office suit, when the user tries to open a file which was developed by using Microsoft 3.0 or 4.0 in Excel 2000 or 2002 then because of compatibility issues one is not prohibited from doing so.

Also if you open it as a text file, then also you will not be able to read it. In order to open such file through Excel 2000 or 2002 version, one can follows these steps:

  1. Go to the File menu and choose the option of Save As.
  2. Few file formats will be available under Save File As Type, select the one which suits best.

    Format Extension Supported
    Windows 2.0/DOS SS WKS
    Excel 4.0/5.0 SS XLS
    Lotus 1-2-3 WKS
  3. After selecting the option, click on OK.
  4. Close the file and then try to open it in Excel.

Opening file created using Office 2007 or 2010 version through Office 2003 (Pro) version

When user has created the file using newer versions of Office like 2007 or 2010 versions (XLSX files) and tries to open it through Office 2003 (Pro) version, then such kind of error is generated. Sometimes the error is also not resolved using MS Office Compatibility Pack. Hence, following these steps will resolve error in such situation:

  1. Select the XLSX file which you want to open and right-click on it.
  2. Select Open With option and then click on Choose default program.
  3. Open With dialogue box will appear which will list the programs. Go to the Browse option of it.
  4. Under Browse window, navigate to 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 12' and then select the 'Moc.exe' (Microsoft Open XML Converter) file and then click on OK.
  5. Now you can open your xlsx file through Office 2003.

Corruption prevailing in the file which you are opening

In case you are opening a damaged or corrupted Excel file (XLS and XLSX), then the error is generated which does not allow you to open the file.

Such corrupted files could be repaired using Excel built-in repair function. If the Built-in repair function fails to do so, one can opt for various professional tools available like third party Excel Repair tool which are capable to repair severely corrupted Excel files. Free trial version of it is also available which can be downloaded for free.


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