Hyperlink failure: "LOCAL_LINK" cannot be passed to an external application to open it

When I cmd+click to open links to local files in LibreOffice Calc, I persistently get the following message:

“file:///local path/parent directory/filename.tif” cannot be passed to an external application to open it (e.g. it might not be an absolute URL, or might denote no existing file).

I’m using macOS 11.5.2 to work with a .xls database that was originally created in Excel on Windows XP around 20 years ago. The creator has since died and can’t help me resolve the problem. This message only comes up when working on a Mac. In Windows 10, the links all open correctly, but I want to be able to search it while using macOS.

I’ve opened these links successfully on Mac a few weeks ago, but since then I always get this error message.

I’ve tried toggling the Load/Save preference item “Save URLs relative to file system” without success, as well as attempting to manually relink some of the files, also without success. Moving the folder onto Macintosh HD or to a different external drive doesn’t fix it either.

I saw that this issue was listed as a bug a few years ago, but it has apparently been fixed since then.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Additional context:

I have no experience building or maintaining databases but I am good with computers and learn quickly. This is an academic database that will no longer be updated by the original archivists, as they have retired or died, and it is only available locally (no web version).

The relevant directory hierarchy looks like this (more levels when stored on internal drive):

External drive (exFAT)

Top level directory

Parent directory

all files with hyperlinks in data.xls

The overwhelming majority of the thousands of links in this spreadsheet are TIFs—a few are PDFs—and all of them live in the same directory as the .xls file. And it doesn’t need to access anything on the network or internet.

Check if your files have executable bit set.

See also this discussion of exFAT mounting options.

In general: The operating system has no application defined to handle .tif files. Try Finder, search for the file and try to open */local path/parent directory/filename.tif” by just clicking the file. I’d claim that this will not work. You need to associate an application to use with .tif files. In other words: It is not LibreOffice’s responsibility to start a proper application to show a special file type but the operating system’s (i.e. the desktop manager’s) responsibility to know how to present a certain file type.

Hi anon, I have the same problem and same behavior as matty. At least in my case it is not the “unknown filetype”: some pdf work with no problem, others not. It is also not the file- or path-name: I named the functioning file with the name of the not functioning → it still works. I named the not functioning file with the name of the functioning → it still does not work.
@matty: did you solve the problem? please let us know the solution.
Best Regards, Bernhard