WD97: Word Could Not Re-Establish DDE Connection to MS Excel

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Article ID: 196952 - View products that this article applies to.
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If you specify a range when you attach a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet as a mail merge data source using dynamic data exchange (DDE), the following error messages may occur
This task is taking longer than expected.
Do you want to continue waiting?
followed by:
Word could not re-establish a DDE connection to Microsoft Excel to complete the current task.


Case 1: Selecting Ignore Other Applications

This error occurs if the Ignore Other Applications check box in Microsoft Excel is selected. To locate this option in Microsoft Excel, click Options on the Tools menu, and then click the General tab.

Case 2: Using a Colon to Specify a Range of Cells

This error also occurs if you use a colon to specify a range of cells. For example, if you specify a range by typing "A1:G6" or "R1C1:R6C7" in the Microsoft Excel dialog box that appears after you select a spreadsheet, this error occurs. If you use a different separator (such as a comma, period, or semicolon) the data source opens as expected.


Case 1: Selecting Ignore Other Applications

In Microsoft Excel, clear the Ignore Other Applications check box and use a name to define the range of data you want to use as the mail merge data source. In Word, when the Microsoft Excel dialog box appears, select that name in the Named or Cell Range list. This method works whether you open the spreadsheet using DDE or the Microsoft Excel converter.

Case 2: Using a colon to specify a range of cells

On the Tools menu, click Mail Merge, click the Get Data button, and click Open Data Source. Ensure that the Select Method check box is selected. When Word prompts you to confirm the data source, select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Via Converter (*.xls) from the Open Data Source list. When you use the converter, the error does not occur, even if you specify a range using a colon as the separator.

More information

Word Help contains incorrect information in the Microsoft Excel Dialog Box Help topic. This Help topic states the following:
   Select a named range of cells or type the row and column references
   you want to use from the worksheet. For example, A1:C5 includes the
   information in cells A1 through C5.
Typing the row and column references will not produce the results you expect.


Article ID: 196952 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbmerge kbprb KB196952

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