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Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

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Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

New member | Level 2

Hello, 

I have a fairly new laptop that was purchased in March that I use for all my personal and professional work. I started a new gig with a company in June and was given access to their Dropbox account. I've never had an issue accessing any file or making edits however the last two week I'm unable to open any MS office files created by any of the team members. I'm able to open documents and files created by me on my laptop. It's been very frustrating as I'm unable to troubleshoot the problem and need help urgently. 

Many thanks! 

Nicolette 

Unspecified Error Dropbox.JPG

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions
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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

Dropboxer

Hi @NGraham1!

I understand you are not able to open certain files via the Dropbox desktop app. 

Is there any chance the files are currently Smart Synced to 'online-only'? If so, there will be a gray cloud icon by the files, and you can right-click on them and set their Smart Sync setting to 'Local'. 

Alternatively, some applications have limits on the file paths they can access (for example, Excel has a limit of 218 total characters), and so shortening the entire name/path to the file may help. 

You can check all of our sync icons and possible syncing issues here, too, for reference. 

If the file is local and the file length is not the issue, can you copy the file to outside of the Dropbox folder and see if you can open it then? This will help determine if this is syncing issue or a file-specific one.  

Let me know what you find, thanks!

 


Celeste
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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8 Replies 8
Highlighted

Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

Dropboxer

Hi @NGraham1!

I understand you are not able to open certain files via the Dropbox desktop app. 

Is there any chance the files are currently Smart Synced to 'online-only'? If so, there will be a gray cloud icon by the files, and you can right-click on them and set their Smart Sync setting to 'Local'. 

Alternatively, some applications have limits on the file paths they can access (for example, Excel has a limit of 218 total characters), and so shortening the entire name/path to the file may help. 

You can check all of our sync icons and possible syncing issues here, too, for reference. 

If the file is local and the file length is not the issue, can you copy the file to outside of the Dropbox folder and see if you can open it then? This will help determine if this is syncing issue or a file-specific one.  

Let me know what you find, thanks!

 


Celeste
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

View solution in original post

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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

New member | Level 2

Hi Celeste2, 

Thank you so much for your response. Turns out my files were set to sync online only that was causing the error to show up. I'm in the process of synching the folder that I  work in everyday and see that I'm able to open most of the files now. I also agree there might be a few files where the file name can be shortened. 

Thank you again for your help. 

Nicolette 

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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

Dropboxer

Glad to have been able to help, @NGraham1!

In regards to the file names and paths you can find a full list of incompatibilities here, which may help you locate and avoid bad characters/symbols in the future. 

Have a great rest of your week ahead! 

 


Celeste
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

New member | Level 2

@Celeste - So it this to mean that Smart Sync is not intended to be used to actually open Microsoft Office files? Will I have to select 'Local' for all files like this? I was trying to keep everything SmartSync'ed and so trying to understand if I have a problem (I am experiencing the same problem as the user above) or if this is just the way it is. No MS Work, PPT, or Excel docs will open. All generate the "Unspecified Error". 

Thanks!

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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

Dropboxer

Hi @aa88

Welcome to the Dropbox Community!

Initially, please note that Smart Sync is a space-saving feature for your hard drive. So, by setting files to be online-only, only specific information is downloaded to your computer, such as the name, the location, and the date it was updated. 

If you want to edit it, you'll have to make it local, so that the relevant information becomes available for you to make changes. 

I hope this helps clarify a bit, but let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks!


Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

New member | Level 2

@Lusil wrote:

If you want to edit it, you'll have to make it local, so that the relevant information becomes available for you to make changes. 


 Hi @Lusil 

We have team members that have this same problem.

Can you please point me to the support documentation that covers this limitation? We were under the impression that Smart-sync'ed files would still be "openable". This seems like a severe limitation that I have somehow completely missed! Luckily our DB Business plan is still within the trial period. Looking forward to some clarafication.

Cheers.

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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

Dropboxer

Hey @Mike-B, I'd be more than happy to help!

Online-only files save space on your hard drive by taking up as little storage as possible. In this case, only specific information is downloaded, such as the name and the path.

For a third party app on your computer to open a file, it needs to have all the relevant information available, which can be done by converting a file to local. 

You can find more details about Smart Sync, and online-only files in this article

Hope this helps to some extent!


Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
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Re: Unspecified Error trying to open word, excel or PowerPoint files

New member | Level 2

OK, now I understand that if I have an MS Word file set to online only, just clicking on the file name won't work - have to set the file to local first.

 

Except....Wordperfect (only used by laywers I think these days) CAN BE OPENED while set to online only just by clicking on the file name in Windows Explorer.

 

Why the different behavior?  

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