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MSP Error "We're sorry..." due to special characters in Task fields


Article ID: 4116


Updated On:


Clarity PPM On Premise Clarity PPM SaaS


When opening a project with Microsoft Project (MSP) with the New Driver, the project opens with an error "We're sorry. There seems to be a problem with this file that keeps us from opening it. Please try using a backup copy if available." or may be missing tasks, charge codes, and/or task notes. (Symptoms vary based on MSP Bit level used).

Special characters in Task Name, Task Notes, and Charge Codes have entire entries removed from project when opening project with MS Project with New Driver or the project opens with this error

Steps to reproduce

  1. Install the MS Project 2013 with the MSP New Driver
  2. Create a new project in Clarity
  3. Export the project to MS Project
  4. In MSP, create a task, charge code, or task note with a special character in the name, such as: 
    • - (em dash)
    • ... (horizontal ellipsis)
    • “ (left double quotation mark)
    •  (right double quotation mark)
    • ‘ (left single quotation mark)
    • ’ (right single quotation mark)
    • Ó (Any letter with an accent or other special character above or beneath the name. Other examples include: ç, ã,)
    • ~ (tilde)
    • The tab character. This one is less noticeable in the UI, but you'll notice it if you try to edit the task name/note, there will be a wider space than can be made with the space bar on the keyboard. 
    • A blank row as the first line of a task note

Note that the quotation marks and apostrophes that are impacted by this issue are different than the ones that are created in either MSP or PPM. These are special characters created in another application such as Microsoft Word and copied and pasted into MSP or PPM. 

" This is one that was created in MSP or PPM. This one does not cause an issue opening/saving the MSP File. 
“ This is one that was created in another application such as Microsoft Word. This one causes an issue opening/saving the MSP File. 

     5. Save the project back to PPM

     6. Export the project back to MSP

Expected Results: Project opens in MS Project with all tasks, notes, and charge codes.

Actual Results: MS Project (32-bit): Errors with "We're sorry. There seems to be a problem with this file that keeps us from opening it. Please try using a backup copy if available." When clicking OK to the message, the project opens a blank project with the PPM project ID. 

MS Project (64-bit): Project tasks, charge codes, and/or tasks notes are missing from the project. 

Note: If you are uploading a new project from MSP to PPM that has one of the special characters with the issue, it may show you a different error message (a Target Error referencing Error: Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.)


This issue applies to the MSP New Driver with Clarity 14.3, 14.4, and 15.1


This issue is caused by CLRT-80925


This issue is fixed in Clarity 14.3 patch 10, Clarity 14.4 patch 6, Clarity 15.1 patch 3 and Clarity 15.2.


For MSP 2013 (x32):

  • Open the local XML file on your computer using a program such as Notepad++. Notepad++ will throw an error such as: "XML Parsing error at line X: xmlParseCharRef: invalid xmlChar value".  Line X shows the task name/note that contains the special character that needs to be changed/ removed in PPM to allow the project to open in MSP without error. 

For MSP 2013 (x64):

Remove and retype tasks, charge codes, and/or notes that are blank or missing from MS Project in PPM.

Tip: A quick way to find out if there is a special character causing the issue is the below to see the local XML file that gets created for the project.

  1. Drag the XML from the directory on your computer to a Chrome browser window
  2. If there is a special character on the project file, you'll see an error message pointing to the exact line with the first bad character
  3. Once that special character is corrected, perform these steps again to find the next line with a bad character

NOTE: The following special characters are not impacted by this defect:


Additional Information

If the above doesn't help, see also: MSP opening projects issues - master KB

Reference also: