Error when Double-Clicking Workbook Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2016)

3

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Extend Mode

One of the most overlooked shortcut keys in Word has to be the extend key. Yet, learning how to use this simple key can ...

Discover More

Displaying Table Gridlines

For those times when you remove the borders from your tables, Word provides a way that you can display non-printing ...

Discover More

Duplexing Documents, by Default

If you have a printer that will print on both sides of a piece of paper, you may want to use that ability within Word. ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Grabbing a User's Name from Excel

One of the settings you can make in Excel is to specify a user's name. This name is accessible through macros, and can ...

Discover More

Removing Add-ins

Add-ins are used to extend Excel's capabilities in lots of different ways. If you want to get rid of an add-in ...

Discover More

Selecting a Suggestion with the Keyboard

Excel tries to anticipate what you want to type into a cell, particularly when it comes to entering formulas. Here are ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 0 + 1?

2016-04-04 06:12:58

Edward

Thanks for the advice.

Repairing the MS Office installation using the office disc cleared the problem, though I'm still in the dark as far as the cause of the problem is concerned.


2016-04-04 04:53:01

Duncan

@Howard - Bad news: no real suggestions but good news: You're not alone, this happens to me as well, also in XL13.

My best theory to date had been some sort of memory complexity problem if there are too many things open. Which is another way of saying restarting Excel seems to let me open the file sensibly. But doesn't indicate wy it happens.


2016-04-02 09:44:26

Howard

Similarly, I have a problem opening excel files. My problem: If I have excel open and click on a file to open it, I get a ghost screen. The toolbars are in place, but where I should see my file's data, it is blank. If I click on the reduce down button, then the data appears. If I click on a file without excel open, then Excel starts, loads the file, and I see all of the file's data.
Any suggestions?
I am using Excel 2013.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.