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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 article you will find all the possible solutions that you may try in order to get your Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel back to work.

Fix File Associations Using /r

Open Run using the Windows+R keyboard shortcut and type in this command if you want to open Word:

winword.exe /r

And this command if you want to open 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!

Repair Microsoft Office

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

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

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

Disable Ignore DDE Option for Microsoft Office

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.

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 choose the “Advanced” and uncheck “Run as administrator“.


Click “OK” two times to apply the changes.

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\Microsoft Office\root\ and click “Open“.

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“.

I hope this tutorial helped you open your word documents and excel sheets back again. If so drop a comment down below.

Thanks in advance!