Fixed: The File Couldn't Open in Protected View [Excel Repair]

Stop struggling with Excel's 'The file couldn't open in protected view' error! This article provides 6 easy fixes and introduces the effective 4DDiG File Repair tool for fixing corrupted Excel files.

5 mins read

Updated on 2024-06-18 11:54:29 to File Tips

"Whenever I try to open some Excel files, I get the message saying ‘The file couldn't open in protected view’. I've been constantly closing all my open Excel files, shutting down the whole Excel application, and reopening the file that's giving me the error message. But honestly, this solution is sucking my time. Is there a quicker way to fix this error?”

the file couldn’t open in protected view

The "Protected View" feature in Excel is designed to enhance security, but occasionally, it may prevent even safe files from opening, triggering the error message "The file couldn't be open in Protected View." In such cases, the usual remedy of closing and reopening Excel files may not be efficient. To save you time and effort, we've compiled six quick solutions to tackle this error. Additionally, we'll provide a bonus fix if you have corrupted Excel files to repair. So without any further delay, let's dive into the solutions!

How to Fix "The file couldn't open in Protected View"

When faced with the Excel file couldn't open in protected view error, resolve it step by step with these solutions:

Fix 1. Enable Editing in Protected View

As a security measure to limit potentially harmful actions, Excel opens files received from the internet or other untrusted sources in Protected View mode by default. To overcome this restriction, you can enable editing within Protected View to regain full access to the file.

There are two ways to do that:

  • Simply click on the "Enable Editing" button or link usually present at the top of the file.
  • Go to the Ribbon (the left-side panel), click File > Info > Enable Editing.

    enable editing in protected view

This action will allow you to make changes to the Excel file while maintaining some level of security.

Fix 2. Disable Protected View in Excel

If you are certain that the file you're trying to open is safe and not infected with viruses or malicious content, you can disable the Protected View feature in Excel. This can often resolve the issue where the file couldn't open in Protected View.

Here's how to turn off Protected View in Excel Trust Center:

  • Launch Excel. Go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings.

    disable protected view to fix excel the file couldn't open in protected view-1
  • In the Trust Center settings window, select the Protected View tab from the left-hand menu.
  • Uncheck the three options related to Protected View and click OK.

    disable protected view to fix excel the file couldn't open in protected view-2

Close Excel and reopen your desired file. You should now get rid of the error.

Fix 3. Unblock the Excel File

Sometimes, files downloaded from the internet or external sources may be blocked by Windows as a safety precaution. That's why you get the Excel file couldn't open in protected view error.

To unblock an Excel file, follow the given instructions:

  • Locate and right-click on the Excel file with the "Protected View" error.
  • Select "Properties" from the menu.

    unlock excel file to fix the file couldn’t open in protected view-1
  • Check the box next to "Unblock," then hit "Apply" and "OK" to save the changes.

    unlock excel file to fix the file couldn’t open in protected view-2

Try opening the file again in Excel; it should open without the Protected View error.

Fix 4. Disable Hardware Acceleration

If your Excel file isn't opening in protected view because of DisplayLink Drivers, you'll need to turn off hardware graphics acceleration in Excel. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open up Excel. Click on the "File" tab in the top-left corner, then navigate to "Options."
  • Click the Advanced tab in the left-hand panel.
  • Under the "Display" section, check the box that says "Disable hardware graphics acceleration."
  • Hit "OK" to confirm your action.

    disable hardware graphics acceleration in excel

This will potentially resolve compatibility issues related to DisplayLink Drivers, allowing your Excel files to open in Protected View smoothly.

Fix 5. Repair Office Installation

A corrupted Office installation can lead to issues with protected view. When the Office installation is corrupt, it can affect how Excel handles files, including those opened in protected view. In such situations, repairing the Office installation, can be an effective way to resolve the "The file couldn't open in protected view Excel."

Here's how you can repair Office installation:

  • Head over to the "Control Panel."
  • Next, find “Uninstall a program" in the "Programs" section.
  • Locate your installed "Microsoft Office" program, right-click on it, and select "Change."
  • From there, choose "Online Repair" and click "Continue."

    repair office installations to fix the file couldn’t open in protected mode

After the repair finishes, check if you can open your excel file without any issue..

Fix 6. Open the Excel File in a Different Viewer

In situations where you continue to encounter issues with Excel files not opening in Protected View, even after attempting the previous fixes, you can consider using an alternative viewer ike "Aspose.Cells Excel Viewer" to open the problematic Excel file. This online viewer is designed to help you view and save Excel spreadsheets in various formats. You can simply drag and drop or upload the Excel file that was causing issues in Excel's Protected View. Once you've uploaded the Excel file, the viewer should display its content.

open excel file in a different viewer

Bonus Tip: How to Fix Corrupted Excel File?

Now that we've discussed various methods to resolve the "The file couldn't open in protected view'" error, it's essential to be prepared for other challenges you might encounter when working with Excel files: dealing with corrupted Excel files. Whether due to unexpected computer crashes or software issues, Excel files can become corrupted, leading to data loss.

In such a case, you can repair it with the help of 4DDiG File Repair. It is a reliable tool to fix corrupted MS Office files with a high success rate. Here are some awesome features of 4DDiG File Repair:

  • It repairs corrupted, damaged, and broken MS Office files, including Excel files, Word Documents, PowerPoint files, PDFs, etc.
  • It works seamlessly with all Excel versions.
  • It can recover everything from tables, charts, and cell comments to sorts, formulas, filters, and images within workbooks.
  • It batch repairs multiple Excel files of different formats in one go.

Now, let's find out how to fix corrupted Excel files with the help of 4DDiG File Repair:

  • Add Corrupted Excel Files

    Open the 4DDiG File Repair tool on your PC. Go to the "File Repair" section. Add your corrupted Excel file or files by clicking "Add File(s)" or simply drag and drop them.


    Secure Download


    Secure Download

    add corrupted excel files to repair
  • Repair Corrupted Excel Files

    Click "Start Repair" to start fixing the uploaded Excel files. The tool will scan and repair any issues stopping them from opening.

    start repairing corrupted excel files
  • Export Repaired Excel Files

    After scanning is complete, preview the repaired files to check the content. If you're satisfied, content, select all or choose specific files, then click "Export Selected," and set a destination folder for saving the repaired files.

    save repaired excel files


In conclusion, when dealing with the Excel The file couldn't open in protected view error, it's vital to take specific actions like enabling editing, disabling Protected View, or trying alternative viewers. While Office installation issues can contribute, it's crucial to explore various troubleshooting methods.

For corrupted Excel files, you can rely on the efficient 4DDiG File Repair tool. It swiftly repairs multiple Excel files in various formats, boasting a high success rate. With these solutions, you can ensure productivity and data integrity while managing Excel file errors effectively.

William Bollson (senior editor)

William Bollson, the editor-in-chief of 4DDiG, devotes to providing the best solutions for Windows and Mac related issues, including data recovery, repair, error fixes.

(Click to rate this post)

You rated 4.5 ( participated)