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You receive a "Word could not re-establish a DDE connection to Microsoft Excel" error message when you attach a Microsoft Excel worksheet as a mail-merge data source in Word 2000

This article was previously published under Q198299
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

For a Microsoft Word 97 version of this article, see 196952.
For a Microsoft Word for Windows 95 or earlier version of this article, see 113705.
If you specify a cell range when you attach a Microsoft Excel worksheet as a mail-merge data source by using Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), the following error message may appear:
Word could not re-establish a DDE connection to Microsoft Excel to complete the current task.
This problem can be caused by one of the following:
  • The Ignore Other Applications check box in Excel is selected. To locate this option in Excel, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the General tab.

  • You used a colon to specify a range of cells. For example, if you specify a range by typing "A1:G6" (without the quotation marks) in the Excel dialog box that appears after you select a worksheet, this error occurs.

  • The Microsoft Excel worksheet is damaged.
Use one of the following methods appropriate for your situation.

Method 1: Clear the "Ignore Other Applications" Check Box

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

Method 2: Use the Excel Converter

In the Mail Merge Helper (on the Tools menu, click Mail Merge), click the Get Data button, and then click Open Data Source. Select your Excel worksheet and 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.

NOTE: When you use the converter, the error does not occur, even if you specify a range using a colon as the separator.

Method 3: Use the Row/Column Designation

When you type in the cell range, use the row and column range RxCx instead.

NOTE: x indicates the number of the column or row. For example, instead of typing A1:C3, type R1C1:R3C3.

Method 4: Copy Data from the Damaged Sheet to a New Worksheet

To copy the contents of the damaged Excel worksheet to a new worksheet, follow these steps:
  1. In Excel, open the damaged worksheet.
  2. Select the contents of the worksheet that you want to save.
  3. On the Edit menu, click Copy.
  4. On the File menu, click New.
  5. On the Edit menu, click Paste Special.
  6. In the Paste Special dialog box, click Values and then click OK.
Save your new worksheet and use the new worksheet as your mail-merge data source.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.
Word Help contains incorrect information in the Microsoft Excel dialog box Help topic. This Help topic states the following:
Enter the range of worksheet cells you want to include. For example, A1:C5 includes the information in cells A1 through C5.
NOTE: To view the incorrect Help topic in the Microsoft Excel dialog box when you specify the cell range, right-click Named or cell range, and then click What's This?
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Article ID: 198299 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 10:11:44 - Revision: 1.1

Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition

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