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Error Message: “The document caused a serious error the last time it was opened”


When you try to open a file in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word, you may 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?”

No matter, what you do next, the computer is freezing, the file stops responding completely, and you have to end task. The same error pops-up every time you try to open this file. You might even try the cold computer reboot, but the error will not go away.


This issue occurs because the file has been automatically added to the list of disabled files by the Microsoft Office program. When Word or Excel opens a file that previously experienced a serious error, such as the program to close unexpectedly (crash), the program adds such files to the disabled items list. Therefore, this file as all other files on this list produce the above error message every time you try to open them.


To solve this issue, you have to remove the file from the list of disabled files. To perform this operation, follow the steps, based on the software version of your Microsoft Office components.

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 that removing the file from this list gives you additional opportunities to try opening it, but it does not actually repair the file, so if it is badly corrupted, the error message we cleared will reappear after several unsuccessful attempts.

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