Excel 2013 Error: We Couldn't Open That File. Rename The File To Use A Shorter Name....

Hi this should be pretty straight forward. A client of mine cannot open multiple excel files which are saved mutliple folder levels deep with large file names. It appears they are exceeding the file path/file name character limit (still waiting for client to get back to me with the paths and file names to count) because the error is stating: We couldnt open that file. Rename the file to use a shorter name or copy it to a different folder with a shorter path.

Doing research I cannot find anything concrete on what is the character limit for excel 2013 (only older excel versions). Is it 218 characters for 2013?

Thanks
Lou1982Asked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Total path length is 256 characters. Normally it is nested folders that cause total length to exceed limit. The only cure I know of is to shorten the path.

I do this by copying the files into a different folder nearer the root level.

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Lou1982Author Commented:
I just received the complete path name and file name and the combined total character count with spaces is 243, yet the client is still receiving this error. The client saves these on the network so i was sure to include the full dns name in the path, not the drive letter it is mapped to on the clients PC.

Any ideas?
Mark GalvinManaging Director / Principal ConsultantCommented:
243 characters may be read by the system as more than the 256 limit as the system may add things like '\\lanmanserver\' to the beginning of the path.

Best way to resolve this is to map a drive to somewhere in the middle of the path and then move the files to a higher up folder.

No one should need to file items that deeply in a path :-)
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Try a different folder with a much shorter path (100 characters). It is sure to work.
Lou1982Author Commented:
If we copy the files to the desktop they open with no issue. There is still a UNC in the file path name because our clients are on roaming profiles and their desktops get redirected to a network share,  but obviously its not 5 folders deep.
Mark GalvinManaging Director / Principal ConsultantCommented:
Hi

As John mentioned in his first post, limit is 256. Moving files to desktop reduces the file path and allows the files to open.

Resolution - moved the files into a folder that isnt as deep.

Thanks
Mark
Lou1982Author Commented:
My client is claiming she was able to open these files in Windows 7 excel 2010. Since she was upgraded to win8/excel 2013 she has experienced this issue
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I think your client must have done something different to cause the issue. 256 character total path (less character reduction for vagaries of all kinds) has be around for more than a decade. So your client has left something out.
AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi Lou,

Ask your client to 'humour you' and copy the file somewhere up the folder tree (significantly shorten the path), and see if it works as a test.

If so, then they will have their answer.

If not, then there is likely something else causing the problem.

Alan.
Lou1982Author Commented:
Ive already had the client shorten the path and it opens.

In the original file destination the client cannot open the files by double clicking on them, but they do open if i have the user first open a blank/new excel workbook then use file > open and navigate to the file. Is this normal?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
There appears to be a path length problem. Borderline perhaps if one way works and one way does not.

It is easiest just to use proper paths.
AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi Lou,

It is possible that the path length might be a red herring.

Have your client check their Excel settings as follows (I have Excel 2010 in front of me, so I'll use that - I cannot recall if Excel 2013 is slightly different, but hopefully not, or if so, you can still find the right options):

File - Options
Advanced
Scroll down to the 'General' section
Check the setting for 'Ignore other applications that use DDE'

If it is ticked, untick it, close out of Excel, reboot (not really necessary, but no harm), and see if that helps.

Alan.
Lou1982Author Commented:
Hi Alan, that option is not selected.
Lou1982Author Commented:
My question still remains if this were a path length problem would the user be able to open these files by opening a blank workbook and navigating tot he files via file > open? If not then it doesnt appear to be a path length issue.
AlanConsultantCommented:
@Lou1982:

I am not at my machine right now, and I cannot recall which way round it works, so try changing that option, closing Excel, reboot, and then try to open the Excel workbook from Explorer again.

If it still doesn't fix the issue, change the setting back, and post back that I wasted your time :-)

The issue you are describing certainly sounds exactly like the behaviour you would expect if that setting was the wrong way round.

Thanks,

Alan.
Lou1982Author Commented:
I confirmed this is not a character limit issue by having my client log into another machine on the network with her profile and my client was able to open all of these files from the same location. Same OS and Excel version.

I recreated her local and network profile and so far the client can open the files on their primary machine that was previously giving the error. We are currently monitoring it.
AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi Lou,

Glad to hear it is solved.  It will likely remain a mystery :-)

Thanks,

Alan.
Lou1982Author Commented:
Still not solved. Rebuilding the profile only temporarily resolved it but now the files are doing the samething
AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi Lou,

Just checking - did you try changing that setting:

File - Options
Advanced
Scroll down to the 'General' section
'Ignore other applications that use DDE'

After changing, close Excel, reboot, and try again.  If it still doesn't work, change it back, close Excel, reboot, and try once more.

Not sure if a profile rebuild would have reset that or not.

Thanks,

Alan.
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