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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 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.

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  • Steven Reid commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This file length limit is also inconsistent with what is possible within Windows itself. They should be consistent.

  • Nicholas D. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Microsoft, what can you do to help your loyal customers?? This issue should have been fixed long ago, given the importance of cloud storage in today's world of remote business and collaborative working.

    The solution is clear: Windows needs to increase its 256-character length limit for file paths.

    It is a longstanding and widespread limitation of Microsoft Excel (just 218 characters, else a file cannot be opened) and other file types as well, albeit with 250+ in other cases.

    This problem affects users of not only Box, Dropbox, and a host of smaller cloud data storage providers, but it even affects your own product OneDrive:

    Live up to Satya's vision of a better Microsoft!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Like Mikelis, that's what we had to do - so now we have a bunch of cryptic Group names, which we will likely never undo. The funny thing is that it works fine on Macs... since they never had MAX_PATH. Like I said before, I spoke to some Office guys at Ignite, and they didn't have a clue about what I was talking about or that it was even a problem...

  • Mikelis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    For those in O365, for me this problem appeared for excel docs that where "deep" in folders. Only solution for now was to rename some folders with shorter names and review the necessity of so many levels of folders. Also we made the group names shorter, however that requires resyncing your downloaded files. To avoid redownloading - pause the sync, rename the main folders to the new shorter name and resume sync, should give option to sync only the name.

  • Walter Pelowski commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I've had an issue the past couple of months where occasionally I'm unable to use the Modern Copy interface in SharePoint online (link here: to copy some spreadsheets over to another library. I get a really lousy and unhelpful error of "1 item wasn't copied". In finding a Excel 2017 and Excel 2010 article about this limitation I figured, "What the heck? Why not try it?" and lo and behold, by reducing the directory name in SharePoint Online by a few characters, it fixed the issue! I too am shocked that in today's day and age that this is still a limitation. (Literally the file is only 2 folders deep.) It is even trickier to troubleshoot when there is nothing in SharePoint Online to indicate that this was the limitation that was experienced.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Based on the comments already in this thread it doesn't look like there is a solution. But literally last week i opened a file in excel that was 219 characters in length. this week i opened the same file, wanted to save and rename it almost the exact same name, bar changing the date. The new file name was the exact same length, 219 characters and now i can't save either version. Nothing has changed on my end during this past week. I understand that the file name limit is 218 characters but don't understand why i am just seeing this issue now? Did microsoft change something this week?

  • Stuart Bailie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Does anyone know if this is still a problem in Office 2019? If so that means Microsoft has known about this for two complete iterations of Office.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is totally unusable. We have move to 365 and now one drive and most of our xcel docs we are now unable to either open or save again. You have to pull the doc onto your desktop then open, or save in another location to then copy paste into the correct file. Total time waster.
    Wish we could revert back. Please do something about this, it is adding more work and frustration to a simple task.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    All this is doing is complicating IT manager's lives needlessly. This can be fixed if you put your resources into it and should be fairly high priority. If you're going to push Office 365/Sharepoint/OneDrive you darn sure better make it usable. This is totally unacceptable.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I escalated this issue at MS and I got the following answer. This 218 char is part of Excel's calculation engine and it will take a very long time to test. So don't hold your breath!

  • nicholas muller commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would love to grab Billion Gates and ask him about it. Get out of your glass house and fix your garbage help your users not your stock holders

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