Using FME Desktop 2017.1.0.0 (20170731 - Build 17539 - WIN64) reading a Excel xlsx file on Windows fails and returns the following error:

...|ERROR |Excel Reader: Could not open file '...\input.xlsx', file is too large. Try switching to 64-bit FME, or exporting the Excel file to CSV. If the file is exported to CSV, formulas and formatting will be lost

The file is 56KB, has 2 sheets with a couple of rows and columns. The data is imported with a Query from 2 csv files, what might cause the problem.

Converting to CSV is not an option as this is part of an repetitive automatized process.

Copy pasting the data to a new excel document solved my problem but I would like to keep the source data original. Does anyone have the same experience and found a solution?

  • 1
    most likely a slight formatting issue, there has been quite a few versions of excel to support. try getting it in an xls rather than xlsx and there are differences with PC and Mac too. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Excel#Summary
    – Mapperz
    Aug 30, 2017 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


So I looked into this and there is a limit on the number of cells that can be read. When this error comes up it is usually because this limit is breached. The limit is 15 million cells (32-bit).

You say that there are only a couple of rows and columns, but are these just the rows with visible data? In Excel I can select cells and delete them, but unless I actually delete the rows/columns, then the cells still exist - just with empty contents.

I wonder if that's what is happening here? Are there any empty rows at the end of the data that can be deleted? Also, what happens if you simply do File > Save As and save the file with a different name? Can FME read that file? That has solved the issue for other people.

  • Saving the file as xslx did not solve my problem. Saving as xls did. Not sure how to solve this as the workbench lives in fme server as part of an automated user upload proces. Aug 31, 2017 at 6:27
  • Then I can only suggest sending the file to the FME support team (safe.com/support) and get them to check it out with the developers. They'll be able to give you a definitive answer based on the file contents. Aug 31, 2017 at 14:30
  • Sure will. Thanks for looking into it. Never experienced this before. Aug 31, 2017 at 15:46

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