Invalid or corrupt project - HELP!

Sep 25, 2012

HELP! I've been working on a project on and off for weeks. It was fine yesterday, but this morning when I tried to open it, I got a message window saying "This project is invalid or corrupt and cannot be opened. It may have been created in an earlier version of Storyline.' The latter is certainly not true since this is the only version of Storyline I have.

Is there any possibility of recovering this file?

And no, I don't have a backup, sigh.

Karen Kasper

43 Replies
Simon Perkins

Is there any way you can ask your IT dept to implement a backup tool for future use?  If not, can you install something yourself, e.g. EaseUS Todo Backup Free.  It may be free but it handles both incremental and sequential files perfectly well - and does a lot more too.  E.g. I've had a couple of files get accidentally deleted or go missing (sadly it happens with Win 7) but using Todo I can go extract any given file on any given backup date - then pick up as I left off.  V handy.

Matthew Graham

I haven't heard this being a widespread issue, and I certainly haven't experienced it myself.  The unfortunate thing about corrupt files is that there are almost an innumerable amount of reasons it can happen, at least half of which have nothing to do with the program.  This makes it difficult to figure out what caused it.  I think Simon is right in that the best thing you can do is backup or use a recovery tool.

I'm sorry that this happened to you!  I've certainly been there.

Simon Perkins

Sorry Karen ... I guess that's another reason to invest in some backup?  

I also get through a lot of "version saves", e.g. project_name_v1_1 ... v1_2 ... v3_4 etc and probably make a new one every hour or two.  This became a habit when using PowerPoint but even more so given the instability of SL's undo (still a major gripe).  So having access to versions that are maybe 1, 3, 4, 6 etc hours old is always handy, but then so is backing up your data!

Karen  Kasper

Thanks for the suggestion, Karen M. Unfortunately, it didn't work - when I tried to use the Import feature, I got a "Could not open Project" message.

Jeff C., I don't have access to another computer with Storyline.

Here's the message I got from the Support Team. Not too helpful since I was already working locally.

Hi Karen,


Thanks for contacting Articulate Support!


Really sorry to hear about your Storyline file. Unfortunately, once a .STORY file becomes unusable, it's no longer recoverable.


When creating, editing, or publishing a Storyline project, we recommend working from your local hard drive (typically your C: drive). Working from a network drive or a USB drive can cause erratic behavior, such as file corruption, an inability to save changes you've made to your project, and loss of resources. Here's a helpful article for you:


Just reply to this email if you need more help.




Miker Ang

Customer Support Engineer

Articulate Support -

Adrian Dean

Hi Karen,

I am sorry to hear about your file. Matthew Graham has made some good suggestions on why you can get a corrupt file. Unfortunately, sometimes corrupt files are never recoverable whether they are Storyline or Microsoft Word. That's where having a backup and versioning system comes in handy.

Sometimes you can import the file into a new project and will be able to recover a portion of the file as Karen Mixon mentioned.

Karen, when working remotely, are you connected to your company's network? I know you said you were working on the file locally, but the best we can do is diagnose what may have caused the file to become corrupt and help keep you from having the issue again down the road.

Always Happy to Help,


Karen  Kasper

Sure. It's actually intended as an internal course on how to use Storyline, not all that long, probably 30 slides or so. Thanks for the offer, Matthew.

Hmm, I tried to upload the file, and it appeared to work, but I don't see it attached. I'll post this message and see if it shows up...

Karen  Kasper

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm going to use Storyline any more. I used it for one project and it looked pretty good, though I found some of its quirks annoying (like not placing the cursor in the right part of the text when editing text boxes). So I was putting together a quick training piece for co-workers who might use it for new projects. But with the file becoming corrupted, I would have to start over, and I don't know that I would recommend the software now, so the whole thing may be moot.