Defective Opening Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2014)

Subscriber Robin Dempster experienced a problem when opening Word, in that whenever he double-clicked on a document file, Word would start and the program would open two files instead of one. The first was the desired Word document, but the second was a blank document with no insertion point, non-functioning toolbars, and menu shortcuts that don't respond.

There are several things that may cause such a problem in Word. It is possible that a known bug in some versions of the Norton Anti-Virus Office plug-in causes the problem. If you are using the plug-in, you may want to either disable NAV (to see if the problem clears up) or make sure you get the latest version of the plug-in from the Norton Web site. You can find more information on problems with NAV in the following Knowledge Base article:

It is also possible that incorrect file associations for DOC files cause the problem. Try the following steps:

  1. Get out of Word completely.
  2. In Windows, choose Start | Settings | Folder Options. If this option is not available in your version of Windows, double-click on My Computer on the desktop, and in the resulting window choose Tools | Folder Options. Either way, you should see the Folder Options dialog box.
  3. Make sure the File Types tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The File Types tab of the Folder Options dialog box.

  5. In the list of registered file types, find and select the entry for DOC (Microsoft Word Document).
  6. Depending on your version of Windows, click on either the Edit or the Advanced button. You should see the Edit File Type dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Edit File Type dialog box.

  8. In the list of actions, choose Open.
  9. Click the Edit button. Windows displays the Editing Action dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  10. Figure 3. The Editing Action dialog box.

  11. The Application Used to Perform Action box contains the actual command line used to start Word. Double-check the line to make sure there are no strange extra filenames at the end of the command line.
  12. Make sure the Use DDE check box is selected, and that the DDE Message box is set to the following:
  13.      [REM _DDE_Direct][FileOpen("%1")]
  14. Click on OK.
  15. Close all the other open dialog boxes.
  16. Restart Word.

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Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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