Can’t save a Microsoft Office document? Look for the forward slash

Office doesn’t like it when certain characters are in file names.

computer files thinkstock
Credit: Thinkstock

Raul Prieto writes in with an asymmetrical issue:

All of a sudden when I am trying to save a modified file with a different name in Excel in the same folder than the original, I get the attached reply [see figure] and cannot save it.

I checked in with Raul via email about whether the filename had a / (forward slash) in the name—it did! He was able to change the name in the Finder and save the file. While I wrote about problems saving files in Yosemite, this is unrelated—it’s not a permissions issue, either.

This is a very, very, very long-running problem that seems to crop up only with Microsoft apps. Create a file in any other program, put a slash in its name, save it, open it, modify it, and save it again. OS X handles it just fine. Do the same with a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document and you receive an error.

Just rename the file and you’re back in business.

mac911 excel wont save

Excel says no permission to save because of that pesky slash.

mac911 cant access file

PowerPoint says a file with a slash in its name has been moved or deleted.

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