Office documents may not open in the expected version when using multiple versions of Office with Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)


When a Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) virtualized Office package is used in conjunction with a locally installed version of Office, Office documents may open with an unexpected version. 

Note This behavior can occur on any version of Office (Office 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010).


File type associations (FTA) and dynamic data exchange (DDE) control the Office version that launches. There are three ways for an application to launch for a specific file type:
  • When launching directly from a file, Office uses a windows mechanism (DDE) to determine which application to launch. DDE registers application types to extensions on first launch.
  • When launching from inside an application, the application could use DDE or the File Type Associations that are set for that extension in Windows.
  • Application Virtualization also registers file type associations for the application. If the application is launched via a mechanism that launches through Application Virtualization specifically, those file type associations could be selected as defined in the App-V package.


As a best practice, Microsoft recommends the following configuration when running multiple versions of Office:
  1. Locally install the version of Office that you plan to use primarily.
  2. Virtualize additional versions of Office by using Application Virtualization (App-V).
  3. The recommended practice is to have a primary local version that has all the FTA’s by default and a virtual version that has all the FTAs removed and is called only through shortcuts.

More Information

When the best practices are followed, the version coexistence issues of the applications are minimized and the locally installed version of Office acts as the “Primary version” and is registered to handle the File Type Associations (FTA) with Windows. The virtual version of Office does not handle the FTAs, because they are removed from the virtual applications. Application Virtualization shortcuts should be created to launch the virtual version. A typical scenario where this would be implemented is when a line of business application is dependent on a specific version of Office that is different than the “Primary version”.

If the virtual version of an application is running and a user clicks on a file with an associated extension, it may open in the virtual version of the application. When launching an application from file type associations, Windows will check for applications that support that File Type Association that are already running.

Article ID: 2605618 - Last Review: Aug 25, 2011 - Revision: 1