This article was previously published under Q211919
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
When you try to open an attached file that is sent to you in an e-mail message, you may receive the following error message:
<file name>: file format is not valid
where <file name> is the name of the file that you are trying to open.
This problem occurs when the following conditions are true:
The file is sent to you by using the routing slip feature in Microsoft Excel 2000.
You try to open the file in a version of Microsoft Excel that is earlier than Microsoft Excel 97.
Note Excel versions 97 and 2000 use the same workbook file format.
To use the routing features of Microsoft Excel, you must route between compatible versions of Excel that all the recipients are using. If you want to send the workbook to all recipients at once without requiring routing features such as tracking or notification of returning, consider sending the workbook as an attachement to an email message instead of using routing. Before you send the workbook as an email attachment, first save the workbook in the file type that the recipient's version of Microsoft Excel will read.
Method 1: Use the Same Version of Excel
If you need to use routing features, the sender and recipients must all use a version of Microsoft Excel with the same file format such as Excel 97 and Excel 2000. This way the workbook can be opened and the routing features can be used.
Method 2: Manually Send an E-mail Attachment
If you want to route the workbook to all recipients at once, but not track status or return the workbook to you when it is done (all the advanced features of Microsoft Excel Routing), follow these steps:
Click Save As from the File menu and click a file format from the Save as type list that all recipient's version of Excel can read.
Change the file name in the File name box to avoid replacing your original file, and click Save.
Note the folder where the file is saved.
Start your e-mail program.
Open a new message in your e-mail program. This step will vary according to the e-mail program (e.g. In Microsoft Windows Messaging, click New Message from the Compose menu).
Attach the workbook to the new message. This step will vary according to the e-mail program (e.g. In Microsoft Windows Messaging, click File from the Insert menu, find the file, and click OK).
Type your text, specify the recipients, and send the message.
When you route a workbook in Microsoft Excel, the workbook is always routed in the workbook format for the version of Microsoft Excel that you are using.
For example, if you route a workbook by using Microsoft Excel 97, the workbook is sent using the Microsoft Excel 97 format.
Assume that you route a workbook to a group of users and you are using Microsoft Excel 2000. The following table lists the users that appear on the routing slip and the versions of Microsoft Excel they are using:
User Version -------------------------- John Microsoft Excel 2000 Mary Microsoft Excel 7.0 Sue Microsoft Excel 5.0 Tom Microsoft Excel 97 Dave Microsoft Excel 7.0
John and Tom can open the routed workbook, save changes, and route the workbook to the next user. However, Mary, Sue, and Dave cannot open the file because they are not using a version of Excel that can read the Excel 97-2000 workbook format. They receive the error message described in this article. In this case, you cannot route this workbook to users running versions of Excel earlier than Excel 97. You must save the workbook in either the Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook or Microsoft Excel 97-2000 & 5.0/95 Workbook format, and send it as an email attachment.
For more information about routing features, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type Distribute workbooks or worksheets to other people in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topic.