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Technique To Fix ‘SYLK File Format Is Not Valid’ Error

Ugra Narayan Pandey | Modified: 2021-11-17T12:40:43+00:00| Error | 3 Minutes Reading


Saving the data in a table structured format may be required in various scenarios be it for personal or professional usage. One common way to store such type of data is to use Comma Separated Value (CSV) file. These files are created using spreadsheet program like MS Excel, Google spreadsheets or Open Office Calc. However, an error named SYLK file format is not valid is encountered sometimes while trying to open CSV or text file. In this content, we will be learning an easy technique to fix the issue.

Understanding- SYLK file format is not valid

This error is generally faced by users trying to access the CSV or text file Windows or Mac system and are displayed with the below error message.

sylk file format is not valid

To understand the error, we need to know what SYLK file is. SYLK (Symbolic Link) is a text file that starts with ‘ID’ or ‘ID_xxxx’, where xxxx defines a text string. ID_Number record is the first record in the SYLK file. While MS Excel program identifies this text at the beginning of a text or CSV file, it assumes the file as SYLK file. The Excel will try to convert the file from SYLK format. However, as there is no valid SYLK codes after ID characters, Excel is not able to convert the file, and hence SYLK file format is not valid error is displayed.

Possible Cause of the Error

The above error occurs while user tries to open the text or CSV file and the first two characters of the text file are the uppercase letters ‘I’ and ‘D’.
Example: ID, STATUS
123, open
456, closed

It means that the above error may not occur if the first two letters are lowercase ‘i’ and ‘d’

Method to Fix SYLK file format is not valid

In order to open the file in Excel without any issue, we will first open it in text editor and insert apostrophe at the starting of the first line of text file. Steps are given to fix the following error ‘SYLK File Format Is Not Valid CSV’ in Windows or Mac system:

In Windows OS
1. Open the file in a text editor like Notepad and press the apostrophe (’) on the system keyboard just before the first character in the starting line of text file.
2. Go to File Menu and select save option.
3. Close the Text Editor and restart the MS Excel to open the desired file.

In Mac system
Similarly, open the file using text editor in Mac system like SimpleText or TextEdit. Click just before the first character in the starting line of the file and press apostrophe (’) on keyboard. Click on Save under the File Tab and open the file in MS Excel.

Conclusion: The content has been aimed to study about the error encountered when any user in Windows or Mac system tries to access a text file or CSV file. The error has been explained thoroughly along with the cause and it further suggests an easy way to fix ‘SYLK File Format Is Not Valid’ Error. Moreover, the error is associated with CSV file, if you are unable to work with this file then you can export Excel CSV to vCard VCF and continue to work with the content of comma separated values file in VCF format without any SYLK error.