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Cannot Double-Click to Open a Workbook

Frank was having a problem with Excel not opening a workbook whenever he would double-click on it in Windows. Excel would start, but the workbook would not load, and Excel would report that it couldn't find the file that was double-clicked.

This sounds like a problem with the file associations in Windows. The first thing to try is to force Excel to reconstruct all the proper association information. You do that by following these steps:

  1. Make sure that Excel is not running (exit the program).
  2. Click the Start button to displays the Start menu.
  3. From the Start menu, choose Run. Windows displays the Run dialog box.
  4. In the Open box, enter the full path name to your Excel program, followed by the /regserver switch. If the full path name includes spaces, surround the full path name by quote marks. The following is an example of what you can enter in the Open box (your path may be different):
  5.      "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /regserver
  6. Click OK.

Now try double-clicking on your workbook again. It should open as you expect. If it doesn't, try this:

  1. In Excel, choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the General tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The General tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Ignore Other Applications check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

If you still cannot double-click on a workbook to open it, try these steps:

  1. Get out of Excel completely.
  2. Open a My Computer window.
  3. Choose Tool | Folder Options. You should see the Folder Options dialog box.
  4. Make sure the File Types tab is displayed.
  5. In the list of registered file types, find and select the entry for XLS (Microsoft Excel Worksheet).
  6. Depending on your version of Windows, click on either the Edit or the Advanced button. You should see the Edit File Type dialog box.
  7. In the list of actions, choose Open.
  8. Click the Edit button. Windows displays the Editing Action dialog box.
  9. The Application Used to Perform Action box contains the actual command line used to start Word. Double-check the line to make sure there are no strange extra filenames at the end of the command line.
  10. Make sure the Use DDE check box is selected, and that the DDE Message box is set to the following:
  11.      [open("%1")]
  12. Click on OK.
  13. Close all the other open dialog boxes.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2949) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!


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Comments for this tip:

Clarity Auto Detailing    18 Jul 2016, 04:27
it worked for me with the "ignore other applications" unchecked.
Thanks from Indonesia
partha p borah    29 Mar 2016, 03:20
it really helps me in some helpless situation,,thanks google and Allen Wyatt
Fennie Lau    04 Dec 2015, 14:48
i can't open my excel file, reason from computer servicing said my file is too big. How can i re open my file? it's urgent for my.

thank you.

Mihails     13 Aug 2015, 16:13
The second recommendation worked for me, thank you very much!
XLLL2    28 Jan 2015, 03:58
As CK Chandru said above, it worked for me by UNCHECKING the "ignore other applications" box in the Excel Settings.
Rod Clift    29 Dec 2014, 20:49
I tried what Alex Hatzo tried and it worked perfectly for Excel 2013/ Office 365. Thanks!
Bill    28 Dec 2014, 16:58
the Control Panel/Programme and Features/Microsoft Office 365/Change/Quick Repair fix worked for me - many thanks
Mark Anderson    05 Dec 2014, 09:13
I work at a big corporation. The Help Desk fixed this for me. But it only lasted a week, and now it's bad again.

Someone else said they fixed it using Chandru's method above of unchecking that box. But her fix only lasted a week too.

I have now used the Quick Repair method of Alex. That works. But who knows how long it will last.

By the way I couldn't use your first fix above, because I don't know how to find the regserver. Is this something that everyone should know?
CK Chandru    23 Jun 2014, 13:03
The solution you provided worked,ie, the 1st option in combination with the second.
Only in my case I had to UNCHECK the "ïgnore other applications"option.
Thank you! From India
Alex Hatzo    22 Jun 2014, 12:59
I was able to fix the problem of not being able to open Excel 2013 files when double ckicking by going to Control Panel, Program and Features, selecting Microsoft Office 365, selecting Change and then Quick Repair. It does take a few minutes to complete but it worked!
Meg    30 May 2014, 11:55
Your first instructions worked for me. This was such an easy fix. I have tried several much more complicated things offered by Microsoft, and none of them worked. Thank you so much!
Jorge    12 Jun 2013, 23:22
The second recommendation worked for me, thank you!

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