Cannot Double-Click to Open a Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2016)

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.

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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