You receive error messages when you try to open an Office document

Support for Office 2003 has ended

Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

If you try to open a specific file in one of the Microsoft Office programs that is listed in the "Applies to" section, you 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.
A DDE error has occurred, and a description of the error cannot be displayed because it is too long. If the filename or path is long, try renaming the file or copying it to a different folder.
Note Microsoft Office has a built-in feature with which you can obtain more information about alerts or error messages that are difficult to troubleshoot. If you want to turn on this feature for this and other error messages in Microsoft Office 2000, download the Microsoft Office Customizable Alerts file from the Microsoft Office Update Web site. To do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note If you reached this article by clicking the Web Info button in an Office 2000 error message, you already have Customizable Alerts turned on. For Microsoft Office XP, the Office Extended Alerts Service has been discontinued.

For more information about how to remove Office XP Extended Alerts, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
315975 Office XP Extended Alerts are no longer available

In Microsoft Office 2003 programs, you can access extended alerts by selecting to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program. You receive a prompt asking you if you want to participate in this program after you install the Customer Experience Improvement Program with an icon in the Windows system tray.

Additionally, you change the setting at any time by clicking the Service Options button on the General tab of the Options dialog box in any one of the Office 2003 programs. The button displays the Service Options dialog box where you can choose whether to participate in the program. If you choose to participate in the feedback program, you also receive Extended Alerts in Office 2003.

Note This issue occurs when you open a file from a mapped drive, a UNC path, or a URL (Web address).
This issue occurs because of a 259-character limitation on creating and saving files in the Office products. Also, you receive an error message when you save or open a file if the path of the file meets the following condition for the appropriate program.

Microsoft Word: The total length of the path and the file name, including file name extension, exceeds 259 characters.

Microsoft PowerPoint: The total length of the path and the file name, including file name extension, exceeds 259 characters.

Microsoft Access: The total length of the path and the file name, including file name extension exceeds 259 characters.

Microsoft Excel: The total length of the path and the file name, including file name extension, exceeds 218 characters.

Note This limitation includes the three characters that represent the drive, the characters in folder names, the backslash character between folders, and the characters in the file name.
Make sure that the path of the file contains no more than the maximum number of characters. To do this, use 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 that has a shorter path name.

Article ID: 325573 - Last Review: 09/23/2015 07:39:00 - Revision: 3.0

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