Error message when you open a file in Excel or in Word: “The document caused a serious error the last time it was opened”


When you try to open a file that Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word could not open previously, you receive the following error message:

The document ‘Filename‘ caused a serious error the last time it was opened. Would you like to continue opening it?

You receive this message every time that you try to open the file.


This issue occurs because the file appears on the list of disabled files for the Microsoft Office program. The program adds a file to this list if the file causes a serious error, such as causing the program to close unexpectedly (crash) during two or more attempts to open it.

This message lets you avoid potential problems that may occur if you open the file.


To resolve this issue, remove the file from the list of disabled files. To do this, follow these steps, as appropriate for the version of Word or of Excel that you are running.

Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft Office Word 2003, or Microsoft Word 2002

1. On the Help menu, click About Microsoft Program, and then click Disabled Items.
2. Select the file, and then click Enable.

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 or Microsoft Office Word 2007

1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, click Program Name Options, click the Add-Ins tab.
2. Click to select Disabled Items in the Manage list, and then click Go.
3. Select the file, and then click Enable.

Note Although a file is enabled, the program may still not be able to open it. The file may still cause serious errors.


Microsoft Knowledge Base Article

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