Office applications cannot open some files if the path is long or contains some special characters

Office applications cannot open some files if the path is long or contains some special characters. It happens at least with Word, PowerPoint and Excel. I do not use the other Office applications.

Interestingly, such three applications behave in a different way in relation to such issue. It arises more with Excel and less with Word. Besides, they report the issue with a rather misleading message:

Microsoft Word

Sorry we couldn't find your file. Was it moved renamed or deleted?


I reported that before several times to no avail. Since the file is in the Mac disk, the Office applications should open it. Is there a way to prevent it? If not, it would be great if Microsoft could fix it.

Current system: Office 2019 (not 365) version 16.29.1 (19091700) for Mac on macOS 10.12.6 (16G2128) Sierra on iMac 27-inch Retina (mid 2017).


All operating systems have limits to file name length and legal characters. Illegal Characters on Various Operating Systems
Author of "OOXML Hacking - Unlocking Microsoft Office's Secrets", now available
John Korchok, Production Manager
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Thanks, but the above answer should not be marked as answer. Who did that? I did not mean that. In my case, all lengths and characters are within the path limits and use legal characters for macOS. The problem is that some Office applications do not accept then. Actually, other applications do not have problem opening such files, but only Office. That is why I posted my message.

Also, as said, only Excel has problems opening files in some folders, but Word for instance can save and open a file with the same name in the same folder. There are differences between Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as said. So, in summary, there are issues here for Office applications that are real.

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Hi MacTop

As I explained in a different thread, you have ultimate say what replies, if any, are marked as Answer. Click the links around the reply and one of them will give you a menu that lets you mark and unmark replies as Answer.

Regarding file length - Excel is a special case. Internally, Excel maintains an address to each worksheet tab and cell. You never see this, but it means that a workbook can internally cross the boundary between an OK file path length and one that's too long without the file name itself crossing that boundary. If the workbook works OK at a directory that has a shorter path, that is almost certainly what's happening.

I am an unpaid volunteer and do not work for Microsoft. "Independent Advisors" work for contractors hired by Microsoft. "Microsoft Agents" work for Microsoft Support.

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Thanks. My point is that if a file has a path/name that is within macOS limits (length and characters used in path and file name), there should be no problem opening such file with Office applications. And that all Word, Excel and PowerPoint should behave alike in relation to that. Yet, that does not happen currently, thus my message. I wonder if there is a current fix. Otherwise, if it is an issue, flaw or bug, it would be great if Microsoft could fix it.

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Hi Mac,

I agree with Jim that Excel is a special case

The limit for length of path name is actually 218 characters and this limit is ONLY apply to Excel, not OS or Word and PowerPoint.

Regards,

Eric 

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Thanks. Then, my suggestion is that all Word, Excel and PowerPoint should behave alike in relation to that. And that if a file has a path/name that is within macOS limits (length and characters used in path and file name), there should be no problem opening such file with Office applications.

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Hi MacTop,

Please take a moment to vote request(s) by submitting your feedback in the following link.

https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304933-excel-for-mac/suggestions/12489696-fix-the-stinking-file-path-restriction-of-255-char

Thank you for sharing your issue and requirement with us. We listen to all feedback and consider them for additional feature/future versions of our products. Your feedback helps us know which features are most important to you. We appreciate your continued interest in Microsoft products and services. Microsoft is committed to continuously improving your experience with our products.

Regards,

Eric

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Many thanks! Done as you said. Hopefully, Microsoft will listen. No only for such Excel limitation, but for other of Excel, Word and PowerPoint (Office 2019 for Mac), as described in my message above.

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Hi MacTop,

While you are free to make the suggestion, I don't want to get your hopes up on this one. Your request would affect hundreds of millions of workbooks on Mac OS, iOS, Windows, and Android. Fulfilling your request would be very high risk for breaking stuff. It was glacial to get Microsoft to support long file names on Windows (remember 8.3 file names?).

I am an unpaid volunteer and do not work for Microsoft. "Independent Advisors" work for contractors hired by Microsoft. "Microsoft Agents" work for Microsoft Support.

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Last updated December 31, 2019 Views 231 Applies to: