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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Increase the 218 character filename length limit to open files in excel

Excel can't open files with full path lengths greater than 218 characters as documented in https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/213983. This is still a problem in Office 2016. It seems crazy that Excel can't open a valid file that the filesystem allows. People have been complaining about this since Office 2000. The thread below has over 11 thousand views and there are plenty others. Please fix this. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2013_release-excel/sorry-unable-to-find/595333d0-1463-499f-967e-4da8ac2e2047

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    Anonymous shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    87 comments

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If you would all just name your files as spreadsheet1, spreadsheet2, spreadsheet3.... etc instead of trying to give them a useful and meaningful name, then you wouldn't have this problem.
        Obviously it gets a bit messy when sharing files with other organisations etc who might already have a "spreadsheet24", but there must be a workaround.
        Maybe there could be a central control to issue names, in a similar way to MAC addresses.
        Then we could leave MS alone and stop bothering them with all the shortcomings in their software.

      • Stuart Bailie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Bruno I like your idea that they should "prioritize this fix" but the bigger issue is they have to start with acknowledge that it is broken in the first place and that methodolgies from the 1990s don't apply to late 2010s era of computing.

      • Bruno Simon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We are gradually implementing the use of SharePoint Online libraries in the entire organization and certain departments heavily use Excel. The 218 character filename length limit is the most prominient problem we have encountered this far. Please prioritize this fix.

      • Auke Briek commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        To quote someone below: "Better yet why hasn't Microsoft replied to this thread yet?" A reply would be very much appreciated!

      • J. Everett Hale commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I had been putting up with renaming filenames at work whenever the path had become too long when working with files in our network. Eventually however, I came to the point where I could not open a file whatsoever. What I mean is, even when the Excel filename was 1 character long, it would not open. On top of the obvious things wrong with this issue that has been explained by many others a multitude of times, it's ridiculous that an Excel file can actually exist in a folder with a separate filename character limit, but isn't able to be opened because it has a separate, archaic character limit.

        Is it really that hard to change the data type from char to literally any other data type? This is day 1 programming class stuff. You should be ashamed. After using Excel for 10+ years, you are forcing me to use another program. Are you happy now?

      • Robbert commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yup, still an issue to this day, 3 years after the initial request. Come on Microsoft, this is a biggie.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Sorry, but it cannot be true that this issue is still present.
        Looks like all the programming effort went in the new (and, by the way, quite annoying) optical redesign and additional (even more annoying) online functions.

      • Robert Gale commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It seems that Microsoft is using a byte to hold the length of a full filename! (Something left over from DOS 2? You see Bill, you didn't need to copy everything DR did - there was room for improvement.) A 20+-year-old problem? Even for Microsoft with its ubiquitous breathtaking arrogance, that's quite a long wait for a fix.

        This is particularly severe with Sharepoint where it's nigh on impossible to work out just how long a 'full filename' actually is.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Agreed with everyone here. Just adding another comment to this list. Hoping against hope it will be fixed.

      • JP Fuchs commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I was just hit by the same "feature" aka bug and I can only join the bandwagon and pray Microsoft folks to do something about this!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        i tested it in the 2019 preview it is still the same problem... hey microsoft please!!!!!!

      • P commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is an absolute pain - in a corporate environment with sharepoint servers individual users loose control over path lengths. So I need to store the doc locally and loose all online collaboration capabilities ?!?!?

      • Vivienne commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have two main issues with this error:

        1. I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and now can't access many of my existing documents.

        2. I am trying to save an Excel file that only drill down two levels of sub-folders.
        It is ridiculous that this is a problem only in Excel but other Office programmes work perfectly.

      • Joseph T commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This issue has been in Excel for a while, but Office 365 really makes it more visible. When you save a file to your Office 365 account, every space in the file becomes 3 characters (%20), and the entire path is essentially prepended with https://your_company_sharepoint_domain.com/personal/your_user_name/Documents/. So you can have ~100 extra characters added to your file's path without changing a thing! Please fix this!

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