How to Fix: “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program”

Are you getting the error “There was a problem sending the command to the program” every time your open a file in Word or Excel?

This common error comes when you try to open an Word document or an Excel sheet and windows sends a DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) command to MS Office. DDE is a communal protocol used by Windows to open specific file types that communicates between the source and the target before opening any file. This helps opening multiple instances of a program when not required.

In this how to fix tutorial you will find all the possible solutions that you may try in order to get your Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel back to work.

This error can also occur while using other applications like AutoCAD, Qlikview & OneDrive. Make sure you are not running them as administrator.

Here is a screenshot of the error while using Microsoft Excel:

0. Disable Conflicting Programs

If you have an Antivirus installed try disabling it and try again, sometimes the Antivirus program will cause this problem to occur.

Also make sure you are not using AVG Tuneup, lot of users across the web reported this was their issue. Or try using a more recent version of it by updating it.

1. Fix File Associations Using /r

Open Run using the Windows+R keyboard shortcut and type in this command to fix file associations for Microsoft Word:

winword.exe /r

And this command for Microsoft Excel:

excel.exe /r

The /r here will restore the file associations between file types (e.g .doc, .docx, .dot, …) and the program specified (e.g Microsoft Word). This is done at the Registry level.

The benefit of this method is its ease and effectiveness, try it now!

2. Repair Microsoft Office

Right-click on Start or press Windows+X and choose “Apps and Features“.

Right-click on Microsoft Office and choose “Change“.

Repair your Microsoft Office by choosing “Quick Repair” and clicking “Repair“.

3. Disable Dynamic Data Exchange

If the none of the solutions above worked, we are going to enable the option that let Microsoft Office ignore other applications that use DDE.

First click on “File“.

Then click on “Options“.

Click on “Advanced” in the left menu.

Go to “General” section and check “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)

Click “OK” and try to open your files again.

4. Disable Run as Administrator for Microsoft Office

If you have the shortcut of the program with administrative privileges, then you may face this “There was a problem sending the command to the program” error message.

The solution is to check whether or not the administrative privileges are enabled or not.

To do this right-click on the program shortcut and click “Properties“.

Choose the “Compatibility” tab and uncheck “Run this program as an administrator“. Click “OK“.

5. Select the Program Manually

If the problem persists, try choosing your program manually.

To accomplish this right click on your word document or excel sheet and choose “Open with…

Click on “More apps“.

Scroll down and click “Look for another app on this PC“.

Look for the EXE file in the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 and click “Open“.

6. Disable Protected View in Word

The error “There was a problem sending the command to the program” may also appear when you try to open a downloaded file. Thus we should disable Protected view feature in MS Word.

First open Microsoft Word. Click on “File” and select “Options“.

Click “Trust Center” tab from the left pane and select “Trust Center Settings“.

From the left pane click on “Protected View“.

Uncheck all the options listed below:

  • Enable Protected View for the files originating from the Internet
  • Enable Protected View for the files located in potentially unsafe location
  • Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments

Click “OK” and “OK“.

7. Registry Fixes

1st Registry Fix

Open the Registry Editor by using the command regedit in Run (Windows+R).

Open this path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office

You will find multiple versions of Microsoft Office, find the one you are using. Here I have 16.0.

Open that key (16.0 in my case) that represents the version of your MS Office, then find the program that is causing the error (e.g Word) and delete the key “Data” under it.

I hope this tutorial helped you open your word documents and excel sheets back again.

If so drop a comment down below.



The author:

Soufiane is a young computer scientist and specialist in web design, knows a lot of things in the computer world. This enthusiast enjoys helping people innovate and learn more about the IT world...

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