A Microsoft Excel, Word or PowerPoint file does not open because of incorrect file associations

Symptoms

When you double-click one of these file types:
  • Word document (.doc or .docx)
  • Excel (.xls or .xlsx)
  • PowerPoint (.ppt or .pptx)
You may experience any of these problems:
  1. The file icon is blank or displays an incorrect image.
  2. The file does not open.
  3. You receive this error:

    This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder Options control panel.
  4. You receive this error:

    <file name> not a valid Win32 Application

Cause

These problems occur when the association between the file and the corresponding application is missing.

Resolution

Before you continue with any of the methods in this section, we recommend that you check for multiple Office installations on your computer. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start.
    • For Windows XP, click Run and then click in the Open box.
    • For Windows Vista, click in the Start Search box.
    • For Windows 7, click in the Search programs and files box.
  2. Type appwiz.cpl and then click OK.
  3. Check the list of currently installed programs for multiple installations of the Microsoft Office suite.
If there are multiple installations of Microsoft Office installed on the computer we recommend that you follow the steps that are listed in Method 2 of this section. If there is only one installation of Microsoft Office on the computer, follow the steps that are listed in Method 1 of this section. Only follow the steps that are listed in Method 3 if you still experience the problem after you have attempted the first two methods or you have installed Microsoft Office Trial suite.

Method 1

If there is only one installation of Microsoft Office 2010 on the computer, follow these steps to repair Microsoft Office:
  1. Click Start.
    • For Windows XP, click Run and then click in the Open box.
    • For Windows Vista, click in the Start Search box.
    • For Windows 7, click in the Search programs and files box.
  2. Type appwiz.cpl and then click OK.
  3. Select the Microsoft Office 2010 suite you want to repair and then click Change.
  4. Select Repair, and then click Continue. You may have to restart your computer after the repair is completed.
Method 2

Method 3


More Information

The Click-to-Run and traditional MSI (Microsoft installer package) versions of Microsoft Office 2010 are not designed for use on the same computer. We recommend that you select one version to run on the computer to avoid problems such as those stated in this article.

For more information about Microsoft Office Click-to-Run and file associations, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

982434 An overview of Microsoft Office Click-to-Run for Office 2010


f you have followed the steps in this article, and you are still receiving the same error messages listed in the Symptoms section of this article, you may have permissions problems with your registry.
Since it may not be possible to know what caused or led to the permissions problems, we suggest you consider restoring Windows to a previous state.

Restore system files and settings (Windows 7)
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Restore-system-files-and-settings

How to repair the operating system and how to restore the operating system configuration to an earlier point in time in Windows Vista
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/936212

How to restore Windows XP to a previous state
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306084


If your Excel files are still not opening, but the error has stopped after following these steps, you may have an additional problem to resolve.

We suggest you also check the content provided in this article:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/211494


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Article ID: 2464297 - Last Review: Jan 24, 2013 - Revision: 1

Microsoft Excel 2013, Microsoft Word 2013, Microsoft PowerPoint 2013, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Microsoft Office Standard 2010, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010, Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010

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