Even with changes in versions and formats of Office, you will be able to open and work with older files in Microsoft Word and excel . However, if Word or Excel do not open or open an empty file, you may need to change settings or perform repairs.

The instructions in this article apply to versions of Microsoft Word and Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Word or Excel for Office 365.

File lock settings

If you have certain file blocking options enabled, you will not be able to open or edit older MS Office files. Checking these settings and changing them if necessary may solve your problems.

If a in settings » File lock» selected » Open» the program blocks the file type and prevents it from opening (or opens it in protected mode).

  1. Click File .

  2. Click Options . Will open window » Word Options» or » Options Excel» .

    Screenshot of Word Options
  3. Click Security Control Center on the left panel.

  4. Click Trust Center Settings . Will open window security control center .

    Screenshot of the Trust Center
  5. Click File lock settings on the left panel.

  6. Make sure the file type you want to open is not selected in column Open .

  7. Click on any selected checkboxes to clear them.

    File lock settings screenshot
  8. Click the button OK, to apply the changes.

  9. Close the windows to return to Word or Excel and try to open the file.

Repair corrupted file

If the file is damaged, you won’t be able to open it in Excel or Word. Using the Open and Repair tool can solve this problem.

  1. open excel or Word (depending on the program in which you cannot open the file).

  2. Select » File» > » Open» .

  3. Navigate to the location where the corrupted file is stored. Click on the file name once.

  4. Click the dropdown arrow next to Open.

    Open and restore screenshot
  5. Click Open and restore .

Reset file associations

If the default file association for Word or Excel files has been changed, the program may not open as expected when you try to open the file. Resetting these file associations can be a simple fix. The settings needed to make these changes are found in Windows.

  1. Enter Control Panel in the Windows search box.

  2. Click Control Panel in the list of search results. The control panel window will open.

    Control Panel Search Screenshot
  3. Make sure you are viewing the Control Panel in Category View and click » Programs».

  4. Click Default programs.

    Screenshot of the
  5. Click » Set Default Programs. Will open window settings With chosen default applications .

    Set default screenshot
  6. Click Set app defaults . A list of programs will open.

    Set default values ​​in app screenshot
  7. Scroll down to Word or excel and select it.

  8. Click Control .

    Manage Excel Screenshots
  9. Select a file type that is not associated with an MS Office program and select the program you want to use to open that type of file.

MS Office Repair

In some cases, Word or Excel won’t open due to issues with the program itself. Restoring the program may be the best solution.

  1. Enter Control Panel in the Windows search box.

  2. Click Control Panel in the list of search results. Will open window control panels .

  3. Make sure you’re browsing control Panel in view categories and press » Programs».

  4. Click Delete the program. Will open window » Uninstall or change the program» .

    Delete or change the screenshot of the program
  5. Click on your version of Microsoft Office in the list of programs.

  6. Click Change .

    Edit MS Office Screenshot
  7. Select Online Repair and then click repair.

    Screenshot Office Repair
  8. Restart your computer after the recovery process is complete.

  9. Double-click the Office file you want to open.

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