Error when Double-Clicking Workbook Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 3, 2021)

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. ...

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What is 1 + 3?

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.


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