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How to troubleshoot errors when you save Excel workbooks

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Summary
You may have problems when you try to save a Microsoft Excel workbook if one or more of the following conditions are true:
  • You save an Excel workbook to a network drive on which you have restricted permissions.
  • You save an Excel workbook to a location that does not have sufficient drive space.
  • The connection to the Excel workbook is lost.
  • There is a conflict with an antivirus software program.
  • You save an Excel workbook that is shared.
  • The 218-character path limitation is exceeded when you save an Excel workbook.
  • The Transition Formula Evaluation feature is turned on in Excel.
  • The workbook was created from a template that contains embedded objects.
Workarounds and resolutions
The following sections include workarounds to save your workbooks and troubleshooting steps to help you find the cause of the problem. We recommend that you first try to save changes in any open Excel workbooks before you start troubleshooting. 

Workarounds to save Excel workbooks

To work around this problem and try to save your work before you troubleshoot, use the following methods. Depending on the cause of the problem, you may be unable to recover the current file as-is. However, the following methods are typically successful. These methods are listed in order of format retention when you are trying to keep the original file formatting.

Note The following methods may not save all the latest changes, formatting, and feature sets of the workbook that are specific to the version of Excel that you are using. The following methods are intended to let you obtain a usable, saved version of the file. These methods require you to save the file to your local hard disk by using a unique file name.

Method 1: Save the workbook by using a new file name

  1. On the File menu, click Save As.
  2. Save the Excel workbook by using a unique file name.

Method 2: Move the original worksheets to a new workbook

  1. Add a filler worksheet to your workbook. To do this, press Shift + F11.

    Note This sheet is required 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). To do this, click the first sheet, hold the Shift key, and then click the last sheet. 
  3. Right-click the grouped sheets, and then click 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 your workbook contains VBA macros, 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 a later version, save the file as .xlsx or .xlsm instead of as .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.

Troubleshooting

To troubleshoot this problem, follow these steps in the given order.

Step 1: Try to save the workbook to another location

If you can save the Excel workbook correctly when you save it to a local hard disk, to a network drive, or to a floppy drive, the following are possible causes of the problem:

Step 2: Try to save a new workbook to the original location

To save a new Excel file to the original location, follow these steps:

  1. Create an 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 in which the original workbook is saved.
    2. In the File name box, type a name for the new file.
    3. Click Save.
If you can save a new workbook to the original location, the following are possible causes of the problem:

If you cannot save a new workbook to the original location, the following is a possible cause of the problem:

If you have sufficient drive space, try Step 3.

Step 3: Try to save the workbook in safe mode

Restart Windows in safe mode, and then try to save the workbook to your local hard disk.

Notes

  • If you use a network location to save your workbook, try to restart Windows in safe mode with network support, and then try to save.
  • Windows safe mode cannot be used to troubleshoot issues in Microsoft Excel 2010 or later versions.
For more information about how to start Windows in safe mode, see Start your computer in safe mode.

If the workbook saves after you restart Windows in safe mode, try to save the file again. To do this, click Save on the File menu.

If the workbook 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 work with existing Excel features by design, and some are intended to enable a seamless transition when you are using a third-party product. Typically, these third-party add-ins do not interfere with normal Excel functionality. However, there are some exceptions. For example, Excel save conflicts have occurred because of an add-in.

To test for and eliminate the possibility that a third-party Excel add-in or file is causing an Excel save issue, start Excel in safe mode. To do this, follow these steps: 

  1. Exit Excel.
  2. Click Start, and then point to Programs.
  3. Press Ctrl when you start Excel, and hold it until you receive a message that resembles 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 is most likely the cause. You must locate and remove the add-in or the file to eliminate 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 to occur.

For more information about Microsoft Excel safe mode, press F1 in Excel to open 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

Restricted permissions

When you save an Excel file, you must have the following permissions to the folder in which you are saving the file:

  • Read permission
  • Write permission
  • Modify permission
  • Delete permission
Note If you do not have these permissions, the Excel save process cannot be completed.

Insufficient drive space

When you save to any medium, such as a floppy disk drive, a local hard disk, or a network drive, you must make sure that the drive has sufficient free space to enable the file to save. If the destination drive does not have sufficient space, 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

Network connection lost

If you are working with an Excel workbook, 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 occurs because some parts of the workbook may not be downloaded to the local computer when you open the file the file from a network location. 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 were not 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

Antivirus software conflict

When antivirus software is installed or is running, you may receive an error message when you try to save an existing workbook. You do not receive an error message if you try to save a new 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.

File sharing conflict

If you and a second user work concurrently on a shared workbook, you may receive an error message if you and the second user try to save the file at the same time. You receive an error message because Excel cannot save the file if 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

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"

Process to save a file

Excel follows these steps when it saves a file:

  1. Excel creates a randomly named temporary file (for example, Cedd4100 without a 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 disrupt the Excel save process. These issues may occur if the Excel temporary file is accessed before the Excel save process is completed. For example, the local antivirus software locks the temporary file for scanning before the file can be renamed. Therefore, you must keep track of any new software installations or updates that are performed before you have problems when you try to save workbooks. This information will be helpful if this article does not fix your issue and you have to contact Microsoft Support. For more information, go to the following Microsoft website:
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Article ID: 271513 - Last Review: 10/22/2015 20:29:00 - Revision: 9.0

Excel 2016, Microsoft Excel 2013, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2003

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