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

Applies to: Excel 2013Word 2013PowerPoint 2013 More


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


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


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. Type appwiz.cpl in the Search box, and then press Enter.
  2. 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.



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

If 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)

How to repair the operating system and how to restore the operating system configuration to an earlier point in time in Windows Vista

How to restore Windows XP to a previous state

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.

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