Excel External Content Blocked

We have been encountering a new issue with Microsoft Excel and one of our clients had it today.  It took a little while to figure out, so we want to help out others in this situation.


Issue – Excel External/Web Content is Blocked: In most of our interactive applications, we allow for exporting data (either to csv or to xls extensions). By default, these downloads will open in Excel.  A recent update did something to Excel to prevent these files from opening.  It happened to my PC at home (just figured I did something). But then today, it happened at one of the client sites. Everything looks OK with the file when you download it, but either the file doesn’t open, or excel opens and there is no file there.  There is no error message or anything – the file just doesn’t open.


Resolution: When the file downloads, instead of opening the file, open the folder location to view the file. Right click the file, and click properties.  At the bottom of the window, there is an “Unblock” button. If you click unblock you can open the file. This shows that the file content is getting blocked because it came from the internet (external).  Unblocking it allows for opening the file (but you’d have to do that every time you download/open a file).  To not have to do it every time, you have to change excel settings.


1. Open excel -> options -> trust center. Click “Trust Center Settings”.
2. Options -> Trust Center -> Click “Trust Center Settings”
3. Go to Protected View: Uncheck “Enable Protected View for files originating from the internet”.


After doing some research, it seems we are not the only ones experiencing this issue.  Here is a link to news article about it:


8/26/2016 Update – It seems like Microsoft has now resolved the issue.