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Unable to open embedded Excel spreadsheet in Word 2010

Posted on 2012-12-21
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Last Modified: 2013-01-08
Hello my fellow Experts. One of my networked end users, Beatriz, is having an interesting issue. She received a Word document with an embedded Excel spreadsheet. She is using Word 2010 on Windows 7 (64-bit), by the way.

When she tries to double-click the embedded spreadsheet to edit it, she gets an error message stating that feature is not working and asks whether Office should repair it (see attached screen shot). When the repair is completed, it asked to reboot her computer. When she logged back in and tried double-clicking on the embedded spreadsheet, the same error message came up. If you decline to let Office 2010 do the repair, another dialogue box comes up stating the application that created the embedded file was Excel (see the second attached screen shot).

I had her email me the file to see if I could replicate the issue and I was able to (I also use Office 2010 in Windows 7 64-bit in a domain environment). I received the prompt about whether I wanted to have the feature repaired and I choose Yes, after my PC rebooted and I double-clicked the embedded spreadsheet in the Word 2010 document, it opened fine.

I have tried the following on Beatriz's PC: installed the latest Office 2010 patches via Microsoft Update, performed a repair of Office 2010, performed a full uninstall and re-install of Office 2010 but to no avail. I have been to the Microsoft support website, but haven't found any work around or fixes to this.


Your assistance will be appreciated and of course rewarded with points!

Thanks in advance for your help.
Beatriz-Word-error-1.png
Beatriz-Word-error-2.png
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Question by:btny
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:terencino
ID: 38723408
Hi btny, a couple of questions:
1. instead of double-clicking can you right-click the embedded file and select Worksheet Object > Open instead of Edit
2. can you check if Beatriz has any COM add-ins, in both Word and Excel? Disable all of these and then open the file again.
3. Is it possible the Word doc was built in Word 2003, and the embedded file was built in Excel 2003? If so, they should work just fine in Office 2003. They do not convert so well to Office 2010. Ideally the embedded file source would be converted to an XLSX, and the Word file will be converted an DOCX extension, as it can get confused with this. Compatibility only goes so far!
4. I know you said you installed the latest patches, but can you please check if Office SP1 is installed? Open say Word > File > Help > Additional version & product information and check it has SP1 there. It is a massive update, and recommended if you haven't got it already

Also, Office just about never requires a repair, so no need to do that, the problem is just about always caused by something else. I've only repaired Office once to resolve a problem in my many years of IT, and that was really due to a badly behaving add-in.

Hope that helps, let me know how you go
...Terry
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
ID: 38723464
Have you tried sending the corrected document back to your user?

Here is some advice about troubleshooting misoperating Word installations. The page includes an automatic fix for Word 2010.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921541/en-gb
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Author Comment

by:btny
ID: 38751167
Happy New Year, all. I will try your suggestions and see what works. I will update you ASAP. Thank you very much.
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Author Comment

by:btny
ID: 38751246
I tested your suggestions but nothing worked. I ensured she had SP1 installed. I disabled the COM add-ins in Excel and Word. Still having the same problem.  The Word fix-it didn't work either. Does anybody else have any suggestions? Thanks
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:terencino
ID: 38753039
OK btny can you please:
1. Obtain the source Excel and Word documents.
2. Open the Word document in Word 2010, delete the embedded Excel spreadsheet and any others that may be in the document. Save and close the document
3. Open the source Excel document in Excel 2010, check for any macros (Alt+F11 to get VB Editor and look for Modules, userforms & classes in the top left panel), bad links (Data > Edit links) and REF errors in Formula > Name Manager. Correct or delete all those as required. Save the Excel document to Excel Workbook (*.XLSX) in the same folder as the Word document. Close Excel
4. Open the Word document, and embed the Excel document. Can you also tell me the steps you follow and if there are any messages or errors.
5. Save & Close, then send the document to Beatriz for checking as suggested by GrahamSkan

Let us know how you go
...Terry
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Author Comment

by:btny
ID: 38755830
I was able to find a workaround on my own for this issue. Here is what I did: I copied the contents of the Excel spreadsheet to the clipboard, copied the contents to a new Excel 2010 spreadsheet and saved it. It looks like the spreadsheet was in Excel 2003 format because when I saved it in Excel 2010, the save as dialogue box showed "Excel 97-2003." I deleted the embedded spreadsheet from the Word 2010 document and re-saved the Word document.

I copied and pasted the newly created Excel 2010 spreadsheet into the body of the Word document and Beatriz was able to go in and edit the spreadsheet within Word without any problems. Thanks everyone for trying to help.

Moderators, please close this question.
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Author Comment

by:btny
ID: 38756795
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for btny's comment #a38755830

for the following reason:

I was able to find a workaround on my own for this issue. Here is what I did: I copied the contents of the Excel spreadsheet to the clipboard, copied the contents to a new Excel 2010 spreadsheet and saved it. It looks like the spreadsheet was in Excel 2003 format because when I saved it in Excel 2010, the save as dialogue box showed "Excel 97-2003." I deleted the embedded spreadsheet from the Word 2010 document and re-saved the Word document.

I copied and pasted the newly created Excel 2010 spreadsheet into the body of the Word document and Beatriz was able to go in and edit the spreadsheet within Word without any problems.
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LVL 16

Accepted Solution

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terencino earned 500 total points
ID: 38756792
Are you sure my responses didn't provide you with any support, in particular my first response which stated:

3. Is it possible the Word doc was built in Word 2003, and the embedded file was built in Excel 2003? If so, they should work just fine in Office 2003. They do not convert so well to Office 2010. Ideally the embedded file source would be converted to an XLSX, and the Word file will be converted an DOCX extension, as it can get confused with this. Compatibility only goes so far!

...and my last response which is exactly the same as the solution you came across yourself?
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:terencino
ID: 38756796
And I object to closing this without awarding
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