"Filename Is Not Valid" Error Saving or Opening File

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Article ID: 131464 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you open or save a file in Microsoft Excel, you may receive one of the following error messages:
Filename is not valid
The file could not be accessed.
The path you entered, '<filename>', is too long. Enter a shorter path.
<Filename> could not be found. Check the spelling of the filename, and verify that the file location is correct.


This error message occurs when you save or open a file if the path to the file (including the file name) exceeds 219 characters. This limitation includes three characters representing the drive, the characters in folder names, the backslash character between folders, and the characters in the file name.

This behavior is based on a 256-character limitation in Excel for creating links to another file. This limit of 219 characters for the path name is based on the following:
  • Up to 31 characters in a sheet name
  • Apostrophes and brackets used to denote the workbook name
  • An exclamation point
  • A cell reference
For example, the path for a file might be:

   'c:\excel\personal\...\[my workbook.xls]up_to_31_char_sheetname'!$A$1


Make sure that the path to the file contains fewer than 219 characters. You can do this by using one of the following methods:
  • Rename the file so that it has a shorter name.

  • Rename one or more folders that contain the file so that they have shorter names.

  • Move the file to a folder with a shorter path name.


Microsoft Excel

Note that if you enter 255 characters in the File Name box in the Save As dialog box, and click OK, you will receive the following error message:
The path '<filename>' exceeds 255 characters.
and you cannot save the file. When you save a file in Microsoft Excel, if the number of characters in the file path exceeds 255, the Microsoft Windows limit, then you receive the "path exceeds 255 characters" error message instead of the "filename is not valid" error message.

Windows 95

In Microsoft Windows 95, the limitation for the path name for a file is 255 characters. When you rename a file in Explorer or My Computer, you are unable to type more characters when you reach the 255 character limit for the path to the file.

If you move a file to a subfolder where the path would exceed 255 characters, you receive the following error message:
Cannot move <filename>: the filename you specified is invalid or too long. Specify a different filename.


Article ID: 131464 - Last Review: August 15, 2005 - Revision: 1.3
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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