Summary: This blog discusses about the Excel error 'The file couldn't open in Protected View' and workarounds to fix the error. If you cannot access the Excel file data, using an Excel file repair tool can help you quickly restore the data to its original state.
Protected View is a feature in Microsoft Excel that opens a file in read-only mode while disabling the editing functions. An Excel file opens in Protected View if the file is from an unsafe location. For example, the file may be opened from an insecure Internet location or downloaded as an Outlook attachment from suspicious senders. In that case, your Excel application won’t let you open the file to protect it against malware or virus attacks.
However, the Protected View feature sometimes prevents an Excel file from opening even if it is from a safe location. Also, opening an Excel file may return an error message ‘file couldn’t open in protected view’.
You may be able to resolve the issue by closing all the open Excel files, closing the Excel application, and then re-opening the problematic file. But this process can take a significant amount of time as you need to close and re-open the Excel application and the file continuously.
Here are some workarounds to fix the error:
Note: Before disabling the protected view settings, ensure you have a reliable antivirus software installed on your computer to safeguard files against malware or virus attacks.
Now try opening the problematic Excel file. If it still doesn’t open, try the following workaround.
Sometimes, corruption in the Office installation may cause Excel to return the ‘file could not open in protected view’ error. So, try repairing your Office installation and check if it solves the problem.
Once the repair operation is complete, check if you can open the Excel file without any issue.
Several Excel users have reported about experiencing issues (such as the Protected View issue) on opening an Office document like Excel, Word, or others – after upgrading Windows to a newer version. This problem may occur due to incompatibility between the Office app and the updated Windows version. You can try to fix the problem by upgrading the Office app, and here’s how:
After installing the updates, restart your PC and open the Excel file. If this doesn’t work, use the following workaround.
Some Excel users resolved the ‘Protected view’ issue by renaming their Excel files. But before that, ensure that the file you are trying to open is saved with .xlsx format. If the file type is .xls, you need to convert it to .xlsx format and then rename it. Before converting the file, save a copy of the original file in the desired location.
If the file type is .xlsx, copy the problematic file. Next, open a blank Excel document and paste the copied file. The file will appear as an icon, double-click on it. If it opens without any error, save it with a different name. Hopefully, reaming the Excel file may help resolve the problem.
There is no fixed solution to resolve the Excel error ‘The file could not open in Protected View’. However, the workarounds discussed in the blog have helped users resolve the ‘Protected View’ issue. Make sure to use the workarounds in the same order as explained in the blog.
If you’re having an issue loading the Excel file data due to the ‘Protected View’ error, consider restoring the data using an Excel file repair tool.
Charanjeet is a Technical Content Writer at Stellar®who specializes in writing about databases, e-mail recovery, and e-mail migration solutions. She loves researching and developing content that helps database administrators, organizations and novices to fix multiple problems related to MS SQL and MySQL databases and Microsoft Exchange.
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