When saving or opening a map document, an 'Unable to save' error message is returned


When saving or opening a map document, the following error may be returned:

Unable to save. Check to make sure you have write access to the specified file and that there is enough space on the storage device to hold your document.


Other than the possible causes listed in the error message, some additional causes for this error message are:

  • Another user has opened the map document before the current user. When user A opens an MXD in Windows, they receive read/write privileges. When user B opens the same MXD while user A has it open, they receive read-only privileges. User A can make changes and save, but user B cannot, even if user A closes ArcMap.
  • One or more images referenced in the layout were removed, or moved from their original location


Solution or Workaround

In the first scenario, version privileges, user B in this scenario should close the map document, and check for others editing the same MXD, or try reading/writing the MXD once again.

Alternatively, the file can be saved by using 'Save As' and either renaming the file and saving it to the same directory or saving a file of the same name in another directory.

For the second scenario, image references, there are two possible solutions.

  • Open the MXD and remove the reference to the image.
  • Restore the image to the original location for the MXD to access.

Article ID:000007133

  • ArcMap 8 x
  • ArcMap 9 x

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