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I have very recently converted to a MacBook Air from a PC and have a 1.3mb .xls file which 1 week ago Numbers happily opened, edited and saved in its own format.

Today, when I opened it it was corrupted. So I have been trying to open the original .xls file again and the Numbers message is simply 'the file will not open'. No explanation, no clues as to why.

I can still open another (very much smaller and simpler) .xls file but don't know what to do next...

  • I would try to restore the original file from a TimeMachine backup if you have one. If not this would be a good time to set up a TimeMachine backup, very very easy to do with a Mac and OS X. I would also try opening the original xls file in OpenOffice or LibreOffice both of which are free. – Deesbek Dec 19 '13 at 16:58
  • What happens if you try opening the file by dragging it to a web browser with iWork for iCloud? That might rule out if the problem is numbers on your computer or if the file has been damaged. – bmike Dec 19 '13 at 17:09
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I would say both files have somehow become corrupted and Numbers cannot recover from the errors.

I would try to restore the original file from a TimeMachine backup if you have one. If not this would be a good time to set up a TimeMachine backup, very very easy to do with a Mac and OS X.

I would also try opening the original xls file in OpenOffice or LibreOffice both of which are free.

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    Thanks. Apache Open Office works just great, and seems a better spreadsheet app than Numbers too – Chris Dec 19 '13 at 18:40
  • There is no doubt that OpenSource tools have come a long way and are excellent. – Deesbek Dec 19 '13 at 20:28
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My imperfect solution was to open up the XLS file in an old version of Numbers and then copy and pasted it into the current version. Total PITA but works.

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