Cannot open Word documents or Excel spreadsheets from an external source in Outlook

Original KB number:   3020607


You receive one of the following errors when you try to open a Microsoft Word document or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet from an external source:

Word experienced an error trying to open the file. Try the following suggestions:

  • Check the file permissions for the document or drive.
  • Make sure there is sufficient free memory and disk space.
  • Open the file with the Text Recovery converter.

Microsoft Excel cannot open or save any more documents because there is not enough available memory or disk space.

  • To make more memory available, close workbooks or programs you no longer need.
  • To free disk space, delete files you no longer need from the disk you are saving to.


This error can also occur in Microsoft PowerPoint.


This issue occurs if all the following conditions are true:

  • The Windows Firewall service is not running.
  • You are using Outlook on a Windows 8-based, Windows 8.1-based, or Windows Server 2012-based computer.


To resolve this issue, start the Windows Firewall service. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows logo key+R (to open the Run dialog box).
  2. Type services.msc, and then select OK.
  3. In the Services window, right-click Windows Firewall, and then select Start.

Screenshot of the Windows Firewall service.

More information

If you are unable to preview an Office file attachment in the Microsoft Outlook reading pane, see Can't preview Office documents in Outlook if Windows Firewall Service is disabled.