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Summary

You may experience issues when you try to save a Microsoft Excel file if one or more of the following conditions are true:
  • You save an Excel file to a network drive where you have restricted permissions.
  • You save an Excel file to a location that does not have sufficient drive space.
  • The connection to the Excel file has been lost.
  • There is a conflict with an antivirus software program.
  • You save an Excel file that is shared.
  • The 218-character path limitation has been exceeded when you save an Excel file.
  • The Transition Formula Evaluation feature is turned on in Excel.
  • The file was created from a template that contains embedded objects.

INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to troubleshoot issues that may occur when you save Microsoft Excel files.

More information

Notes before you start to troubleshoot the issue

If you are currently experiencing this problem with a file that you have not yet saved successfully, see the Save your Excel file before you start to troubleshoot the issue section before you continue to troubleshoot this problem.

If you want to know more about how Excel saves files, see the Process for saving an Excel file section.

To troubleshoot an Excel save issue, follow these steps in the order that they appear until the problem is resolved.

Step 1: Try to save the Excel file to another location

If you can save the Excel file correctly when you save it to a local hard disk drive, to a network drive, or to a floppy drive, the following are possible causes for the issues that you are experiencing:

Step 2: Try to save a new Excel file to the original location

To save a new Excel file to the original location, follow these steps:
  1. Create a new Excel workbook.
  2. On the File menu, click Save As.
  3. In the Save As dialog box, follow these steps:
    1. In the Save in box, click the location where your original Excel file is saved.
    2. In the File name box, type a new name for your new Excel file.
    3. Click Save.
If you can save a new Excel file to the original location, the following are possible causes: If you cannot save a new Excel file to the original location, the following is a possible cause: If you have sufficient drive space, try step 3.

Step 3: Try to save the Excel file in Microsoft Windows Safe Mode

If step 1 and step 2 has not resolved the issue, restart Windows in Safe Mode, and then try to save your Excel file to your local hard-disk drive.

Note If you use a network location to save your Excel files, try to restart Windows in Safe Mode with network support, and then try to save your Excel file.

Note: Windows Safe mode can not be used to troubleshoot issues in Excel 2010 or Excel 2013

For more information about how to start Windows in Safe Mode, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

315222 A description of the Safe Mode Boot options in Windows XP

If the Excel file saves after you restart Windows in Safe Mode, try to resave the file again. To do so, click Save on the File menu.

If the Excel file does not save (or save again) after you restart Windows in Safe Mode, the following are possible causes:

Causes

Third-party add-in

If the Excel file is not saved when you run Excel in Windows Safe Mode, the issue may be caused by a third-party add-in or by a file that is in one of the Excel startup locations. By default, these files are loaded when you start Excel.

Sometimes, third-party software vendors install custom add-ins to work with Excel. Some of these add-ins are designed to work with existing Excel features, and some are intended to permit a seamless transition when you are using a third-party product. Typically, these third-party add-ins do not interfere with typical Excel functionality. However, there are some exceptions to this, where an Excel save conflict has occurred because of an add-in.

To test for and to rule out the chance that a third-party Excel add-in or file is causing an Excel save issue, start Excel in Safe Mode. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Quit Excel.
  2. Click Start, and then point to Programs.
  3. Hold down CTRL while you start Excel, until you receive a message that is similar to the following:
    Excel has detected that you are holding down the CTRL key. Do you want to start Excel in safe mode?
  4. Click Yes.
  5. Try to save a new Excel file, and then resave the same Excel file again.
If the file saves correctly, a custom add-in or a file that is located in an Excel startup location was most likely the cause. You must locate and remove the add-in or the file to rule out the problem. After you determine the add-in or the file that caused the problem, contact the vendor that designed it. The vendor may have additional information about this issue and an update that does not cause the issue.

For more information about Microsoft Excel Safe Mode, press F1 in Excel to get to the Help menu, type safe mode in the Search box, and then click Search to view the topic.


For more information about how to determine the folders that Excel uses during startup and additional options to disable this functionality, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

822107 How to use startup folders in Excel
826922 How to prevent files from opening automatically in Excel


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Restricted permissions

When you save an Excel file, you must have the following permissions to the folder where you are saving the file:
  • Read permissions
  • Write permissions
  • Modify permissions
  • Delete permissions
Note If you do not have these permissions, the Excel save process cannot be completed.

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Insufficient drive space

When you save to any drive, whether to a floppy disk drive, to a local hard disk drive, or to a network drive, you must make sure that the drive has sufficient free space to permit the file to save. If the destination drive does not have sufficient space available, Excel cannot complete the save operation, and you receive the following error message:
Disk is Full.


For more information about this error message, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
214245 You receive the "Disk is Full" error message when you save a workbook in Excel
214073 You receive an error message when you try to save a file in Excel
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Network connection lost

If you are working with an Excel file, and the connection to the drive that the file resides on is lost, you may receive an error message when you try to save the file.

This issue occurs because when you open an Excel file from a network location, some parts of the file may not be downloaded to the local computer at the time that you open the file. The Pivot Table Caches, the ActiveX objects, and the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) section of the file are not downloaded to the local computer until they are accessed in the local Excel session.

Therefore, if network connectivity is lost, Excel cannot access the parts of the file that have not been downloaded to the local computer and cannot save the file.

For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
291204 You receive an error message when you save a file after the network connection is lost in Excel
214073 You receive an error message when you try to save a file in Excel
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Antivirus software conflict

When antivirus software is installed or is running, you may receive an error message when you try to save an existing Excel file. You do not receive an error message if you try to save a new Excel file. You may receive an error message because some antivirus programs quickly scan any new files that appear on a computer. This scan can sometimes disrupt the Excel save process. This interruption may stop Excel from saving the file correctly.

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File sharing conflict

If you are working with a shared Excel file at the same time as another user, you may receive an error message if you and the second user try to save the Excel file at the same time. You receive an error message because Excel cannot save the file while another instance of Excel is saving the same file.

For more information about this error message, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
130494 You receive a "This file has been locked" error message saving shared workbook in Excel 2002
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File name length

If you try to save or open an Excel file, and the path of that file (including the file name) is more than 218 characters, you may receive the following error message:

Filename is not valid.

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

213983 Error message when you open or save a file in Microsoft Excel: "Filename is not valid"

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Additional information

Save your Excel file before you start to troubleshoot the issue

You almost always want to save your Excel file with your latest changes before you continue to troubleshoot why the actual Excel save issue has occurred. Depending on the cause of the Excel save issue, you may not be able to recover the current file "as is". However, the following methods have typically been successful. The following suggestions are listed in order of format retention when you are trying to retain the file in as close to the original format as possible.

Note The following methods may not save the file with all the latest changes, formatting, and feature sets that are specific to the version of Excel that you are using. The following methods are intended to permit you to obtain a usable, saved version of the file. All the following methods require that you save the file to your local hard disk drive, and that you use a unique file name when you do so.

Method 1: Save the Excel file with a new file name
  1. On the File menu, click Save As.
  2. Save the Excel file with a new, unique file name.
Method 2: Move the original worksheets to a new workbook
  1. Add a filler worksheet to your workbook by pressing Shift + F11.

    This sheet is required as a filler sheet because there has to be at least one remaining sheet in a workbook after you move all relevant data sheets.
  2. Group all the worksheets (except the filler) by clicking on the the first sheet, holding down the shift key, and clicking on the last sheet.
  3. Right click on the grouped sheets and select Move or copy.
  4. In the To Book list, click (New Book).
  5. Click OK.
Note These steps should move the active(grouped) worksheets to a new workbook.

If you have VBA macros in your workbook, copy the modules from the old workbook to the new workbook.

Method 3: Save the file as a different Excel file type
  1. On the File menu, click Save As.
  2. In the Save as Type list, select a file format other than the current file format. If you are using Microsoft Excel 2007 or later, save the file as .xlsx or .xlsm rather than an .xls.
Method 4: Save the file in HTML format
  1. On the File menu, click Save As.
  2. In the Save as type list, click Web Page.
  3. Click Save.
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Process for saving an Excel file

When Excel saves a file, it does so according to the following procedure:
  1. Excel creates a randomly named temporary file (for example, Cedd4100 with no file name extension) in the destination folder that you specified in the Save As dialog box. The whole workbook is written to the temporary file.
  2. If changes are being saved to an existing file, Excel deletes the original file.
  3. Excel renames the temporary file. Excel gives the temporary file the file name that you specified (such as Book1.xls) in the Save As dialog box.
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
814068 Description of the way that Excel saves files
Note Other processes that occur on your computer may cause a disruption in the Excel save process. These issues may occur if the Excel temporary file is accessed before the Excel save process is complete (such as when the local antivirus program locks the temporary file to scan before it can be renamed).

Therefore, you must keep track of any new software installs or updates that are performed before you experience any Excel save issues. This information will be helpful if this article does not resolve your issue and you have to call Microsoft Product Support Services. For additional information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http:/support.microsoft.com
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Properties

Article ID: 271513 - Last Review: May 23, 2013 - Revision: 7.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Excel 2010
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB271513

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