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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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  • 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 So you can have ~100 extra characters added to your file's path without changing a thing! Please fix this!

  • Stuart Bailie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This post was created two months after Office 2016 was released and it is still an issue? LibreOffice doesn't seem to have this issue. When the group creating the NTFS file system, and REFS I would imagine as well, said that they were expanding the file system naming format to allow a total of ~32k characters long back before at least 2008 why didn't the office group follow suit and support long file names? To know that the problem has been around for the better part of a decade and not be addressed seems concerning to me.

    Better yet why hasn't Microsoft replied to this thread yet?

  • Jonathan Fournier commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I found a work around until @Microsoft brings Excel into the 21st century.

    You can mount a drive that points to a folder. This will get rid of the unnecessary long path coming out of a synced OneDrive folder.

    instead of
    C:\Users\JohnDoe\CompagnyX\Name of the share point or one drive\Projects

    You have to use the windows command "subst"


    They do no mention how to implement it, but a simple batch file located in the windows StartUp folder takes care of the rest.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    My character limit seems around 140 for files on OneDrive for Office 2016 applications. But Notepad, for example, can still save to the same locations

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just tried your recommendation @Jon, although it does in fact fix naming issues in windows, excel still cannot open any files with a file path longer than 218.

  • Jon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Not sure if this would fix this issue in Excel for the file name rather than the whole path; but just FYI, in Windows 10, I have found that updating the Reg to allow use of long file names has fixed the naming issues I was having:

    Windows Registry Editor

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, please! This becomes a problem for our users who have docs on sharepoint. As folder structures are often over 218 characters, they are unable to open the sharepoint docs in excel desktop.

  • Leonardo Sosa Rojas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Is Microsoft doing anything about this? This is terrible when using Office 365.
    I had to change my naming convention because of this limitation.

  • Paul Chillingworth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I have been using Excel or Macs and PCs almost 30 years and this has always been a problem On both platforms. For a small organisation like mine it forces you to think carefully about filing design, so you could argue it's a good thing but for a large organisation it must be a nightmare. It is difficult to believe this very basic ability has not been updated yet. Plenty of other software vendor's seem to have cracked this, surely the "giant" that is Microsoft office can sort it?

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