converter failed to save the file excel error

I use Office 2003 at home and the office. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to modify the default format used to save files in the new version 2007 of its office suite. When using older versions of Microsoft Office, you have to have a converter pack loaded or the file will fail to open. Sometimes things go haywire with the converter pack, as I found out last week when every .xlsx (Excel 2007) file I was given, failed to open

I had loaded the Office converter pack and it worked ok for the first few days. The file I needed was accessible and I forgot I even had the converters loaded. Then, last week, I needed to open more of the .xlsx files and the converter kept returning the extremely descriptive error: “The converter failed to save the file“.

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I tried repairing office, rebooting and reinstalling the converter pack, but it did no good. I used Filemon and Regmon to find out what the converters were trying to access and where it was trying to save the temporary file by default. Again, nothing of note.

Finally, I discovered Microsoft has released the Office Compatibility pack SP1. Reinstalling this, fixed the problem immediately.

By | 2015-03-03T07:18:00+00:00 April 28th, 2009|software, tips|13 Comments


  1. HaydnWVN April 5, 2012 at 6:40 am - Reply

    I need version 1 or 2 of the Compatibility Pack please! Can’t find it anywhere, none of the current ones on the Microsoft are compatible with Windows 2000.

    If anyone has a link, or is willing to upload the file for me then let me know here –

  2. fositler November 28, 2011 at 7:11 am - Reply

    thanks…..this worked fine

  3. fositler November 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much……this worked for me

  4. Nangel August 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this information – Great job!

    Just save my head!!! 🙂

  5. Cornel Ghisoiu March 19, 2010 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Sorry if I say about another operating system and another version of office , I just did’t find nowhere on forums .
    OS:Windows 2000 Server SP4
    Office 2000
    Compatibility pack gives error that fails to save the file.
    The problem was the version of the compatibility pack.
    First I had version 12.0.6500.5000 that has around 37 Mb.That’s not good .
    You should download version 12.0.6015.5000 (around 27 Mb)
    I don’t know from where to download this version, I got it from another server in our company that had it installed earlier.

  6. daywalker February 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Good deal! I am still getting errors tossed back at me, but the xlsx is being converted, so those errors are being considered cosmetic.
    Thx for the tip!

  7. MG February 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    none of these worked for me. Pulling my hair out!!!

  8. Bea February 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    That just worked for me, thanks! Otto, I agree with you!!!

  9. Issue January 7, 2010 at 12:41 am - Reply

    I began to get the same error message after installing something from the internet that modified the C++ runtime library. Reinstalling the C++ runtime doesn’t help, nor did it do any good installing the Office Compatibility pack SP1.

    Under “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\” is where the converters were installed by default. Go into the directory and see if there is any . manifest file. If so, remove them and retry your file conversion attempt.

    Good luck.

  10. hofud January 4, 2010 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Hello All!

    I had similar problem, firstly make a cleanup of temporary internet files and temporary files after remove all office apps and restart computer. Afterwards reinstall office 2003 and add the latest version of file converter. Restart computer and it has to be good.
    Hope it helps on someone.

  11. Eric December 9, 2009 at 12:05 am - Reply

    I had exactly the same experience as Otto. I did a Google search on the office compatibility pack and on the message I got every time I tried to open a xlsx file: “The converter failed to save the file.” Taking your advice, I downloaded SP1 (you’d think the morons at Microsoft would make this part of the compatibility pack download as of 12/2009 since SP1 was created in 12/2007, but noooooo) and this resolved the issue for me.
    Thanks so much!!!

  12. TJ November 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    this did not work for me.

  13. Otto August 19, 2009 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Thank you for this post; it saved my bacon today, ie., the update from microsoft corrected the problem.
    I had searched and reviewed many blogs with the same error message with no solution. Yours was to the point and conveniently provided the direct link to obtain the software.
    This is exactly the kind of assistance that keeps me scrounging through the internet mess; every once in awhile there’s a gem. Thanks again.

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