Error when Double-Clicking Workbook Files

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 3, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


During this last month none of Edward's Excel workbooks can be opened by double-clicking the file. They all return an error message: "There was a problem while sending the command to the program." If he opens Excel first, then opens the workbook from within Excel, they open normally. Edward wonders what caused this change and how he can fix it.

At first blush, it may appear that Edward's problem is related to file associations in Windows. (Fixing file association errors has been covered in other ExcelTips, albeit for a much earlier version of Excel.) While this is possible, it is not the likely culprit, as problems related to file associations generally produce a different error message.

It appears that Edward's specific problem isn't that uncommon. Microsoft has suggested that the problem can be corrected through one of seven methods:

  • Configuring Excel to pay attention to DDE messages
  • Install an update to Microsoft User Experience Virtualization
  • Set file associations to their defaults (similar to what was discussed above)
  • Repair your Office installation
  • Track down an errant add-in or decrease the number of add-ins
  • Disable hardware acceleration
  • Inatall latest Office updates

Rather than reinvent the wheel here, you can see what Microsoft suggests in order to implement each of these possible solutions by visiting this Knowledge Base page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3001579

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5649) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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