• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 709
  • Last Modified:

Excel : Weird characters

Hi, I'm asking for a friend who saved a excel spreadsheet and instead of account numbers, it's filled with weird characters. I know this is a long shot but does anyone know how to salvage the information? I attached the xls

Thanks in advance
5 Solutions

Not sure how or what your friend did there, but it seems totally mangled to me.

If it was an excel file, and they saved (File - SaveAs or similar) then I suspect it got corrupted.

I suggest they go back to the previous version / backup, or obtain another copy from whoever sent it to them in the first place.

BTW, I couldn't see anything remotely useful even by opening the file in a simple text editor.

I don't hold much hope for retrieving anything from that file itself.

Shino_skayAuthor Commented:
Thanks Alan, appreciate you looking into this. I'll give it 24 hours before closing this out and assigning credit.
Keep up with what's happening at Experts Exchange!

Sign up to receive Decoded, a new monthly digest with product updates, feature release info, continuing education opportunities, and more.

Another possibility is trying to use Open Office (freeware) to open the file it case it is corruption related. I've suceessfully used this programm before to recover corrrupted files that Excel crashed when opening
I actually tried that (opening with OOo) already, but it didn't like the file anymore than Excel.

My version is not the most recent, so you could try that, but looking at the file in an editor, I think it is totally trashed as there is nothing readable that I could see in there at all.

Even a password protected file has some readable text (such as 'Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Worksheet' for example).

However, the file is quite long, so very possible I missed something.

1. I have a macro that opens an Excel workbook from Windows explorer and  finds the last user. On running it on this file there was no data or marker.

2. I have a text editor that can open a binary file (TextPad) and display hexadecimal and ordinary characters. The word "Excel" and other markers for a workbook do not appear in this file.

If this file ever was an Excel workbook, it certainly is not now. My guess is that someone changed the file suffix of another type of file to .xls.
From the lack of any readable text, it was an .exe file.

I can see no indication that this is an executable file, but there's no way that I am trying it out by running it!

If you look at most exe files in a text editor you'll still see some plain text, and likely references to DLLs etc.  I can't find any reference to a DLL in that file.

WRITTEN AFTERWARDS 19th.December 2010
I have just had a similar occurrence which may be related.
I am using Office 2003 in Windows 7 and I recently installed Office 2010 Professional as an addition it its own folder.
It completely screwed up Excel 2003, giving me worksheets with contents like yours.
I have solved the problem by uninstalling both then ...........
 re-installed Office 2003 normally
installed Office 2010 in *Windows XP Mode* (I am not likely to use 2010 as much yet).
I am quite pleased with the setup, being able to run 2010 applications from normal shortcuts from Windows 7.
They take a little longer to open initially, but windows come to the front instantly after that.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

Join & Write a Comment

Featured Post

Free Tool: SSL Checker

Scans your site and returns information about your SSL implementation and certificate. Helpful for debugging and validating your SSL configuration.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now