Can’t Open SharePoint Files? Here is the fix!

Businesses heavily rely on document management tools like SharePoint to enhance collaboration and streamline workflows. However, encountering issues when trying to open files from SharePoint can be frustrating and disrupt productivity. As a business owner or decision-maker, it’s crucial to understand the common causes behind these problems and how to resolve them effectively.

In this comprehensive troubleshooting guide, we will explore various solutions to help you overcome the challenges of opening files from SharePoint. From turning off Protected View to utilizing third-party repair toolkits, we’ll cover a range of strategies that can get your SharePoint documents up and running smoothly.

1. Turn Off Protected View

Protected View is a security feature in MS Office applications that helps safeguard your system from potentially malicious files. However, it can sometimes prevent SharePoint documents from opening correctly. To disable Protected View and resolve this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Word or Excel application.
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Select Options to open the Options window.
  4. Navigate to Trust Center on the left-hand side.
  5. Click the Trust Center Settings button to access further options.
  6. Choose Protected View from the left-hand menu.
  7. Deselect all the Enable Protected View settings.
  8. Click OK to save your changes.

By turning off Protected View, you can eliminate any potential barriers that may be preventing your SharePoint files from opening in MS Office applications.

2. Restore Advanced Settings to Default

Restoring advanced net settings can be an effective solution for resolving issues with opening Office documents from SharePoint libraries. Follow these steps to restore the advanced settings to their default state:

  1. Open Cortana’s search box by clicking the Type here to search button.
  2. Enter the keyword “Internet” in the search box and select Internet Options.
  3. In the Internet Options window, navigate to the Advanced tab.
  4. Click the Restore advanced settings button.
  5. Click Apply and then OK to save the changes.
  6. Restart your laptop or desktop.

By restoring the advanced settings to their default configuration, you can potentially overcome any network-related obstacles that may be preventing SharePoint from opening Excel or Word documents.

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3. Repair a Corrupted File

If you’re still encountering difficulties opening a file from SharePoint, it’s possible that the file itself is corrupt. To check for file corruption and attempt repairs, follow these steps:

  1. Download the file from SharePoint by clicking the Download option.
  2. Save the file to your C: drive folder.
  3. Try opening the file from Word or Excel directly from the saved location.

If you’re still unable to open the document, you can utilize the Open and Repair recovery option within MS Office applications. Follow these steps:

  • Click the File tab in Word or Excel.
  • Select Open to open the file selection window.
  • Choose the corrupted file with a single click.
  • Click the small arrow next to the Open button to expand the menu.
  • Select the Open and Repair option from the dropdown menu.

Alternatively, you can repair a corrupted MS Word document by visiting a dedicated repair page or repair an Excel document through a similar online repair service. These options provide additional avenues for repairing and recovering your corrupt files, enabling you to access them seamlessly from SharePoint.

4. Open SharePoint in Internet Explorer 11

If you’re using browsers like Google Chrome, Edge, or Firefox to access SharePoint, consider switching to Internet Explorer 11. Internet Explorer is the most compatible browser with SharePoint, as it fully supports ActiveX controls. ActiveX is essential for launching documents in earlier versions of SharePoint.

To open a Word or Excel file from a SharePoint document library within Internet Explorer 11, follow these steps:

  • Launch Internet Explorer by entering “IE” in Cortana’s search box.
  • Access your SharePoint document library within Internet Explorer.
  • Click on the desired Word or Excel file to open it.

By utilizing Internet Explorer 11, you can ensure maximum compatibility and optimize your SharePoint experience when opening Excel and Word files.

5. Check Your Office Account

In some cases, issues with opening Excel and Word files from SharePoint can arise due to account discrepancies. It’s essential to verify that your SharePoint account matches your MS Office client account. Follow these steps to check and update your MS Office account:

  • Open the MS Word or Excel client application.
  • Click on the user account name located at the top left corner of the window.
  • Click Sign out to log out of your current account.
  • Select an alternative account to sign in with, ensuring it matches your SharePoint account.
  • Alternatively, click Add Account to add your SharePoint account. Enter your account details and click Sign in.

Ensuring consistency between your SharePoint and MS Office accounts is crucial for seamless access to Excel and Word files. If you’ve recently renewed your MS Office subscription, you may need to add your SharePoint Online account again.

6. Include SharePoint Online in Trusted Sites

To enhance the compatibility and functionality of SharePoint with your browser, it’s important to include SharePoint Online in your browser’s trusted sites. By doing so, you can ensure a smoother experience when opening Excel and Word files from SharePoint.

To add SharePoint Online to trusted sites in your browser, follow these steps:

  • Access your browser’s settings or preferences.
  • Navigate to the security or privacy section.
  • Locate the trusted sites or trusted websites option.
  • Add the SharePoint Online URL (e.g., to the trusted sites list.
  • Save your changes and restart your browser.

By adding SharePoint Online to your browser’s trusted sites, you can mitigate potential security restrictions that may be impeding the opening of Excel and Word files.

7. Check SharePoint File Permissions

Another factor that can prevent the opening of Excel and Word files from SharePoint is inadequate file permissions. Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to access and open the desired files. If you encounter permission-related issues, consult your SharePoint administrator to grant the appropriate access rights.

Verifying and adjusting file permissions can help overcome access restrictions and allow you to open Excel and Word files seamlessly from SharePoint.

8. Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

Browser cache and cookies can sometimes interfere with the proper functioning of SharePoint, preventing the successful opening of Excel and Word files. Clearing your browser’s cache and cookies can help resolve these issues.

To clear the cache and cookies in popular browsers, follow the respective steps:

Google Chrome:

  • Access the browser’s settings by clicking the three-dot menu icon.
  • Go to More Tools > Clear Browsing Data.
  • Select the desired time range and ensure that “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files” are checked.
  • Click Clear Data to initiate the clearing process.

Microsoft Edge:

  • Access the browser’s settings by clicking the three-dot menu icon.
  • Go to Settings > Privacy, Search, and Services.
  • Under the Clear Browsing Data section, click Choose what to clear.
  • Ensure that “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files” are checked.
  • Click Clear to clear the cache and cookies.

Clearing the cache and cookies in your browser can help eliminate any temporary data conflicts that may be hindering the opening of Excel and Word files from SharePoint.

9. Update MS Office Applications

Outdated versions of MS Office applications can sometimes cause compatibility issues with SharePoint. Ensure that you have the latest updates and patches installed for your MS Office suite.

To update MS Office applications, follow these steps:

  • Open any MS Office application (e.g., Word or Excel).
  • Click the File tab.
  • Go to Account or Help (depending on the version).
  • Check for available updates and install them if necessary.

Updating your MS Office applications can resolve compatibility issues and ensure seamless opening of Excel and Word files from SharePoint.

10. Contact SharePoint Support

If you’ve exhausted all the troubleshooting steps mentioned above and are still unable to open Excel and Word files from SharePoint, it may be necessary to seek assistance from SharePoint support. Contact their support team and provide them with detailed information about the issue you’re experiencing. They will guide you through additional troubleshooting steps or provide a solution specific to your situation.

11. Employ Managed IT Services for Seamless SharePoint Experience

Managing SharePoint and resolving technical issues can be time-consuming and challenging for business owners. To ensure a seamless SharePoint experience for your organization, consider utilizing managed IT services. These services provide proactive monitoring, maintenance, and support for your entire IT infrastructure, including SharePoint.

By partnering with a reputable managed IT services provider, you can offload the burden of SharePoint management, troubleshooting, and optimization. This allows you to focus on your core business operations while enjoying a reliable and efficient SharePoint environment.

In conclusion, encountering difficulties when opening Excel and Word files from SharePoint can be frustrating, but with the right approach, these issues can be resolved. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this guide, you can overcome common obstacles and ensure a seamless document management experience with SharePoint. Remember to turn off Protected View, consider using third-party repair toolkits like Stellar Repair Toolkit Office, restore advanced settings to default, repair corrupted files, and optimize your browser and MS Office settings. Additionally, employing managed IT services can provide ongoing support and maintenance for your SharePoint environment, ensuring a hassle-free experience for your business.

If you need further assistance or have discovered additional fixes for SharePoint file opening issues, feel free to reach out to us here at DataPerk!