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/office2013release-excel/sorry-unable-to-find/595333d0-1463-499f-967e-4da8ac2e2047
I am excited to announce that we have completed the work to enable longer file name and paths in Excel for desktop. This was a significant change that required work on multiple parts of the product beyond open and save, since the file path is used in other features like external links.
Before this change, Excel for desktop could open and save files with a full path length of up to 218 characters.
Starting a few weeks ago, all Office 365 users in the monthly channel (CC – current channel, build 12624.20466 or above) are able to open and save files up to 2034 characters. However, in practice there are lower limits imposed by the file system:
- Windows local and UNC files: 260 characters
- OneDrive/SharePoint files synced to the local drive: 260 characters
- OneDrive/SharePoint files opened directly from the cloud: 400 characters
Thanks again for your continued feedback.
David [Microsoft Excel Team]
O365 Anonymous commented
This fix is essential with your O365 initiative. Moving unstructured data to Sharepoint/OneDrive inherently increases the file name length (ex https://tenantid.microsoft.com/sharepoint/folder-folder/filename.txt instead of c:\users\username\documents\filename.txt) and was quite an oversight on MS side to not address this sooner than later. NTFS limitation was addressed with GPOLICY but Excel limit still applies. A general timeline would be nice to know.
This is doing my head in! It's 2020, how is this a problem in the age of technological advancements? We can travel to space and send a particles at high speed into one another to re-create earths beginnings but we can't get open documents associated with having more than 218 characters!!!!
Sort it out.
@Excel Team [MSFT] (Product Owner, Office.com),
How soon can we have an Office update rolled to see this issue resolved?
annoyed user commented
please for the sake of Cthulhu, fix this
Can we have an update on progress?
Hi team. Is there any chance at all we could get some feedback on how far along this feature is in the development process.
We have a huge process in place at a few customers to move data and shorten folder paths and we would rather not do this if this feature is coming in the next few months.
Any update on the progress? When is this expected to be released?
Is there any update on the progress of increasing or doing away with this limitation?With the use of Dropbox the character limit is crazy. The entire path is included in the count. so the number of folders and sub-folders adds to the characters.
Sergio Colussi commented
This also affects functions on Powerquery like Folder.Files() when you need to get a files and folders index from a shared network disc
But we are getting more new icons!
Franz Varga commented
BAHAHA. That was beautiful, Roy. Good job, you've won.
I'm surprised that 219th comment could be saved...
Daniel Sykes commented
Hi David, thanks for the update. Will this feature be added to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, and do you have an ETA for the feature, please? Regards, Daniel
Steve Schulte commented
Please hurry-up and get this fixed! I have a file nested 10 folders deep on my Mac and cannot open it without moving it to a higher level. Thanks!
That's great. Microsoft does not fix the old bugs/limitations, but introduces new ones with each generation. Sometimes I really bang my head if I try to do somthing that worked in the previous version, but I just can't make it work in the latest one. And then at times I stumble about things like a filepath limitiation, or other bugs/limitations that survived for decades.
Furthermore, this tells that exel is mixing code from various technolgies/libraries (seems to still have MFC parts and I wouldn't be surprised about some code from 16bit version). Which might be one reason for limited stability.
With 215 comments already it's clear MS is not interested once they've sold you the lemon.
Not looking for it, no, but thanks, of course.
Excel still fleshes it back to out to its complete and utter formal pathway so it won't solve the length it adds to a formula issue here. Sadly, since it's such an easy fix. Been using that approach literally since hard drives were still too expensive to buy. Sigh... I remember that first 2 MB hard drive fondly... And still hate Radio Shack for selling me a 40 MB hard drive but selling it as a 32 MB hard drive and me never suspecting they did that for about three years. And I bet some of them still wonder how they went out of business. At least IBM simply sold you the lesser equipment for a higher amount. Sucky, but not dishonest. Ahhh... memory lane... the place this stupid limitation belongs! Memory Lane... seems to lead to Memory Avenue to Memory Court to... now I see how old folk get confused... stupid limitation!
Stuart Bailie commented
If you are looking for an actual work around that works use the shell command SUBST.
SUBST R: C:\Users\UserName\Documents\Path\Of\Stupidly\long\documents\folder\because\we\cannot\shorten\it\for\some\unholy\reason\probably\because\of\karen\in\accounting\
Now when you reference R:\ it will be the full path name for the C: but applications don't see the redirect reference. I don't think this command is permanent so it will need to be repeated every time the user logs in.
The annoying part that I find in the save file length is that it was never reconsidered as an issue when:
1) NTFS allowed for path names longer than 256 characters
2) SharePoint became a driving force
3) OneDrive for Business became an option
4) Office 365's major push was done
As far as I'm concerned that puts the but to be older than 10 years but no one at Microsoft thought it was worth fixing or putting on a project plan for a better solution.
That will work if there are not external references to resolve that lead to the "correct" file location (rather than the saving before moving location) AND you do not need to build references to its contents in other files.
First kind might be related files located together with it. If referencing the right location in the formulas involving them, you'll exceed Excel's ability to resolve them as they are the things that exceed the 218 character limit. Not actually the path to the location, directly, but rather its length's effect on formulas referencing it and other things in a path that leads to the reference exceeding the limit.
Second kind of failure, even though the trick worked to save this file and relocate it, would be other files then referencing it using that path and thereby themselves exceeding the 218 character limit for a reference in a formula.
Depending upon how you or others involved handle errors returned by the applicable formulas, you might never notice errors while building them as the error handling catches this along with others leading you to not think anything new and unique has happened.
But when you go to save that file...
Sad, sad situation really. Can't even alias a location as "drive Q" or what-have-you as Excel still resolves it fully and dings you for the length.
Maybe someday, b*ttm*nch programmers and/or their bosses will stop saying "who would ever want more than that..."
Tom Adams commented
extra work but seems to work by saving the file in a top-level folder (shorter path) with the complete file name and then move the closed excel file into the sub-folder where it belongs.