"You will see the file content.xml. Open the file in an editor and go to the place mentioned in the error message." Can someone explain this?

I have a similar problem to the person that asked this question: I can not open my spreadsheet it comes up with this error: Read-Error. Format error discovered in the file in sub-document content.xml at 2,72157(row,col)

I manage to get so far into the answer but get stuck when it mentions opening the file in an editor? What is an editor and how will I find the place where the error message is?


Here is the document: BHAFCcopy.ods

I want to assure you, I don’t simply try to get rid of this. It just seems you will have far to go to understand the necessary topics and to apply the new knowledge flexibly enough to solve your problem. If it is really as urgent as it seems you should try to find someone doing it for you. If the contents of your file aren’t confidential you may even attach it to your question. I will vote up your question. Consequently you will have enough karma points for attaching files.

I have attached the document.

An editor in this case is a plain text editor, as opposed to LibreOffice Writer / MS Word which is a document editor. Examples would be Notepad, Notepad++, gEdit and Emacs. Googling “xml editor” would have added to that some editors with features like xml-highlightning (coloring the xml syntax, leaving the data intact).

Now, if you’re on Windows, please don’t use Notepad; it has a history of inserting wrong type of line endings (carriage returns). Notepad++ is a frequent choice on Windows.

To find the error you’d refer to the error message:

Read-Error. Format error discovered in
the file in sub-document content.xml
at 2,34352(row,col). What to do??
Someone explain simply? STILL NEEDS

This indicates row number 2 and column number 34352. Use the search feature from menu or Ctrl+F (most applications) to locate the placement in the file. Study the surrounding XML-entities (entries); are they different from the rest?

But if you read the linked question above, you see that the real reason in that case was a duplicate attribute at the beginning of the file. Check for such anomalies by opening content.xml in a browser (Firefox, Cromium, Opera etc), these will complain and highlight the error. Find that in your text editor, correct, save file and proceed to reintegrating content.xml into the .zip file you just created. Then rename it to .ods and test in LO.

Hope this helps.

Great, I downloaded Notepad++, refering back to the original question, how do I open just the content.xml file in Notepad++?

@jack.lovegrove: either extract the file from the ODS, or open the ODS using 7-Zip and then edit the content.xml, assuming Notepad++ is default for XML files.

(This is not actually an answer. It’s an anchor for an attachment mainly.)

In the content.xml I found dozens of problematic (illegal?) redefinitions of font properties in the extremely fragmented styles collection. On deletion of such definitions surely some legal definitions will also have vanished. I’m confident that will not cause too much trouble and need of defining format properties anew. An advice: Use less!

In the attachment you find the reintegrated ods which resulted from my work. Good luck! RepairedSuperficiallyNowarrantyOfAnyKind.ods


So there should be content and auto-resizing columns and rows ? LO on 7 Ultimate x64, I see no content besides small columns and rows. Notepad++ shows no highlighting errors and running through http://xmlprettyprint.com/ for clarity didn’t help.

Lupp, thank you so much. If I ever meet you, please let me buy you a drink!


  1. The ods was stored with the third (empty) sheet active.

  2. I also used Notepad++ (v6.6.9 portable). Having installed the plug-in “XML-Tools” (V2.3.2 β4) I got the necessary hints. The XML-Tools come with different PrettyPrint facilities.

@jack.lovegrove: Where?

@jack.lovegrove: Where?

@Lupp: Ohh, that’s why. My bad for not checking it.