Quick Tips to Fix ‘We found a problem with some content’ Error in Excel 2013/2016

Summary: The blog outlines some quick tips to fix ‘We found a problem with some content’ error in Microsoft Excel 2013/2016. It explains manual procedure to resolve the error and also suggests an automated tool to perform the repair process to retrieve all possible data from a corrupt workbook.

Quick Tips to Fix ‘We found a problem with some content’ Error in Excel 2013/2016

Sometimes, when opening MS Excel file, you may receive an error message that reads:

“We found a problem with some content in ‘filename.xlsx’. Do you want us to try to recover as much as we can? If you trust the source of this workbook, click Yes.

Microsoft Excel Content Error

Figure 1 – Excel ‘found a problem with some content’ Error Message

Quick Fix: Try Stellar Repair for Excel software to fix all common Excel file corruption errors and restore the file data to its original, intact state. The software supports all MS Excel versions: 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003 & 2000.    

What Causes ‘Excel Found Problem with Some Content’ Error?

There is no clear answer as to what results in Excel error – ‘We found problem with some content in <filename.xlsx>’. However, based on some user experiences, it appears that the error occurs due to corruption in an Excel workbook. It may turn corrupt when:

  • You try opening the Excel file saved on a network shared drive.
  • A string is added in a cell in Excel, instead of a numeric value.
  • Text values in formulas exceed 255 characters.

How to Resolve ‘Excel Found Problem with Some Content’ Error?

Follow these tips to fix the Excel error:

IMPORTANT! Before you follow the tips to resolve the Excel error, keep these points in mind: Make sure you have closed all of the opened Excel workbooks. Try restoring Excel file data from the most recent backup copy. If you don’t have a backup copy, make a copy of the corrupt Excel file and perform repair and recovery procedure on that backup copy.    

Tip #1: Repair Corrupt Excel File

File Recovery mode is a native Excel recovery utility that automatically opens whenever any inconsistencies are found in the worksheet. If Microsoft doesn’t detect any issue or fails to open the File Recovery mode, you can start it manually to recover the corrupt Excel file. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the File menu, and then select Open.
  2. In the Open dialog box, navigate to the folder location where the corrupt Excel file is saved.
  3. Select the corrupt file, and then click on arrow sign available next to Open button to select Open and Repair option.
Open and Repair

Figure 2 – Open and Repair Feature in Excel

  1. Next, click Repair to recover maximum possible data.
  2. If the repair is not able to recover the data from the workbook, select Extract Data to extract all possible formulas and values from the workbook.

If repairing the corrupt Excel file doesn’t work, you can try an Excel file repair tool to fix corruption errors. You can also try to recover data from the corrupt file manually by following the next tips.

Read this: What to do when Open and Repair doesn’t work?

Tip #2: Set Calculation Option to Manual

To make the file accessible, try setting the calculation option in Excel from automatic to manual. As a result, the workbook will not be recalculated and may open in Excel. For this, perform the following:

  1. Click File, and then click New.
  2. Under New, click the Blank workbook option.
  3. When a blank workbook opens, click File > Options.
  4. Under Formulas category, pick Manual in Calculation options section, and then click OK.
calculation options

Figure 3 – Select Manual in Calculation options

  1. Now, again click on the File menu and then click Open.
  2. Navigate to the corrupt workbook, and double-click it.

When the workbook opens, check if it contains all the data. If not, proceed to the next tip.

Tip #3: Copy Excel Workbook Contents to a New Workbook

Several users have reported that they were able to fix ‘We found a problem with some content in <filename>’ error message by copying contents from the corrupt workbook to a separate workbook. Detailed steps are as follows:

  1. Open the Excel workbook in ‘read-only’ mode, and copy all its contents.
  2. Create a blank new workbook and paste the copied contents from the corrupt file to the new file.

Tip #4: Use External References to Link to the Damaged Workbook

Use external references to link to the corrupted workbook. By implementing this fix, data contents can be retrieved. However, it is not feasible to recover formulas or calculated values using this solution.

Follow the steps below:

  1. In Excel 2013/2016, click File > Open.
  2. Navigate to the folder where the corrupt file is saved.
  3. Right click the file, select Copy, and then click on Cancel.
  4. Again, click on File and then New.
  5. Under New option, click on Blank workbook.
  6. In the cell A1 of new workbook, type =File Name!A1 (where File Name indicates the name of the damaged workbook being copied in Step 3).
  7. If Update Values dialog box appears, click the corrupt workbook, and choose OK.
  8. If Select Sheet dialog box appears, click the appropriate sheet, and then click OK.
  9. Select cell A1.
  10. Next, click Home, and then click Copy (or, press Ctrl +C).
  11. Starting in cell A1, select area approximately the same size as that of the cell range that contains data in the damaged workbook.
  12. Next, click Home and select Paste (or click Ctrl + V).
  13. Keep the range of cells selected, click Home and then Copy.
  14. Finally, click on Home, click on the arrow associated with Paste and under Paste Values click on Values.

This will remove the link to the corrupt workbook and will retrieve data. But, keep in mind, the recovered data will no longer contain formulas or calculated values.

Alternative Solution – Stellar Repair for Excel

If the above manual methods fail to fix the ‘we found problem with some content in excel error’, try using the Stellar Repair for Excel software to resolve this error. The software helps repair and recover corrupt Excel files in just a few clicks. It can be used on a Windows 10/ 8/ 7/ Vista/ XP/NT machine to repair corrupted workbook, and recover every single bit of data from all the versions of Excel workbook.

Read this: How to repair corrupt Excel file using Stellar Repair for Excel?


In this blog, we discussed some possible reasons behind Microsoft Excel 2013/2016 ‘We found a problem with some content’ error. The error may occur when an Excel file becomes corrupt.

You may try repairing the corrupted Excel file manually by using the built-in ‘Open and Repair’ feature. Or, try the manual workarounds to extract data from the corrupt file discussed in this post.

If the manual solutions don’t work for you, using the Excel repair tool can come in handy in repairing the corrupt Excel (.xls/.xlsx) file and recover the complete file data. You can download the free trial version of the software to preview the recoverable Excel data before deciding to activate the licensed version of the software.

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