How to Fix the “The document cannot be saved” Error in Excel?

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Are you looking for ways to fix the “The document cannot be saved” error in Excel? Then, you’ve landed on the right page. In this guide, you will learn some effective and easy solutions to fix this Excel error.


Also, you will know about an advanced Excel repair software that can help fix the error if it is caused due to corruption in the Excel file. 

You can get several errors while saving a workbook in Excel. “The document that cannot be saved” is one such error. When this error occurs, you may be unable to save your file, which may hamper your workflow. 

The error often occurs when you try to save the Excel file with an invalid name or when the path of the Excel goes beyond the 218 characters limit. The error may also occur if you do not have permission to modify the folder where your workbook is located. 

The document cannot be saved Error in Excel

Sometimes, Excel Add-ins may prevent you to save the file. The error can also occur when you try to save the workbook on the network, and your internet connection is slow. It’s also possible that your system has insufficient space to save the file. Another cause of the error is corruption in the Excel file.

Now you are aware of the possible causes for this error, let’s find out how to troubleshoot it.

Methods to Fix the “The document cannot be saved” Error in Excel

Follow the below methods to quickly fix the “The document cannot be saved” error in Excel:

Method 1: Try Saving the File with a Different Name or at a Different Location

You may be unable to save the Excel document if the file name is too long, i.e., exceeding the 218 characters limit. You can check if the file is within the given character limit and rename it if required.  Also, you can move the document to a location containing a short path. 

Method 2: Open Excel Document in Safe Mode

To check whether the error occurred due to add-ins in the Excel, you can open the Excel in Safe mode. Here’s how:

  1. Press the Windows+R keys to open the Run window.
  2. Type the command excel /safe and click OK.
Excel Safe Mode RUN Command - The document cannot be saved Error in Excel
  1. Excel will open in safe mode. 
  2. Now, open the Excel document (which you are not able to save) and try to save it. 

If you are able to save the document, then it means add-ins are causing the issue. In this case, you can disable the add-ins by following the below steps:

  1. Navigate to File > Options > Add-ins.
  2. Select the Excel Add-ins option in the Manage section and then click Go.
Excel Options - The document cannot be saved Error in Excel
  1. The Add-ins dialog box is displayed. Unselect the available add-ins and then click OK.
Excel Available Addins - The document cannot be saved Error in Excel

Now, check whether the error is fixed or not. If not, then proceed to the next fix.

Method 3: Check the Internet Connection

The error “The document cannot be saved” in Excel can occur when you try to save the file on a network. This might happen due to limited or no internet connection.

You can check that your internet connection is working and stable. You can also reach out to your ISP to fix the internet-related problem.


Method 4: Check the File Permissions

To save the Excel document, you should have read, write, modify, and delete permissions. If you do not have the permission to modify the file, then you can get the error. You can check and change the file permissions to resolve the issue. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the location where you saved the Excel file.
  2. Right-click on the file and then select Properties.
  3. Click Security.
Excel File Security Properties - The document cannot be saved Error in Excel
  1. Check the permissions. If you do not have permissions, such as Full control, Modify, and Read & execute, then click on the Edit button to change the permissions. 

Method 5: Run Open and Repair Tool

If corruption in an Excel file is the cause of the “The document cannot be saved” error, then you can use the inbuilt tool – “Open and Repair” to repair the file. To use the tool, follow the below steps:

  1. Open your Excel application.
  2. Navigate to File and then click Open.
  3. Click Browse.
  4. In the Open dialog box, click on the affected file.
Excel Online Repair Tool - The document cannot be saved Error in Excel
  1. Click on the arrow next to the Open option and select Open and Repair from the dropdown.
  2. Now, click on the Repair button.

Alternate Solution

If the Open and Repair tool fails to fix the corruption, then you can take the help of professional Excel file repair software.

Stellar Repair for Excel is one such tool that can easily fix corruption issues in the Excel file. It can recover all the data from the Excel file with the original formatting intact. It is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Excel. 



The error “The document cannot be saved” appears when trying to save the Excel document. You can try the above-given methods to fix the error.

If the Excel file is corrupted, then use an advanced Excel repair software, such as Stellar Repair for Excel, to repair the Excel file.

It repairs the corrupted file and recovers every possible bit of data. You can even preview the recoverable items before saving them. Try a free trial demo version of the software to review its functionality.

Further Reading:

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