There was a problem sending the command to the program – Excel

I deal with this one, time and time again, within the Help Desk. What causes it to trigger, I’m not certain. But one day, when trying to open Excel 2007 XLS documents, I come to the error message that says “There was a problem sending the command to the program.” If this happens to you, the solution is typically quick and easy. I have yet to see it in Excel 2010, but the solution is most likely the same. When greeted with “There was a problem sending the command to the program here’s what you do:

  • Click on the Office Button (in the upper left, where the File Menu was in Office XP and is in Office 2010).
  • Click Excel Options at the bottom.
  • Click Advanced on the left.
  • Scroll all the way down and look for the longest option, named “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE).”
  • UNCHECK that box.

That’s it! Exit Excel 2007 and test it! This should be the solution to your error “problem sending the command” error.

My Printer Stopped Working, now what?

Update: If you’ve already tried everything below, see the sequel to this article!

Tales from the Help Desk?  It’s time for another Tech Tip Tuesday!

Ever hear of someone taking a few seconds to “reset the print spooler” and their computer magically started working for them?  Sometimes it really is that easy.  Resetting the print spooler takes about 10 seconds and is far more efficient than rebooting your whole computer.  So if you’re asking how do I restart the print spooler?  There are several ways.


If you’re familiar with the Command Prompt you can simply load one up and type in the following two commands:

net stop spooler

net start spooler



You’re done!  Your printer should start spitting out pages again.


If the command prompt feels just a little overwhelming for you, don’t worry – there’s an easier point and click way to do it.  If you’re in Windows XP, click on Start then Run, type the word “Services” and press Enter or click OK.  In Windows 7, click on the start menu and “search” for the Services console.




Once the Services console is loaded up, scroll through the big long list.  Don’t let the quantity scare you, you’re just looking for the Print Spooler Service.  Once you find it, RIGHT CLICK on it, then click RESTART from the right click menu.  A progress bar will pop up for a few seconds saying that it is stopping, then another will pop up saying it is starting.  And you’re done!




One more method for getting to the “Services” console that works in Windows XP / Vista / 7 – Right Click on the My Computer or Computer icon, then click Manage from the right click menu.  Then, on the left side, click Services.  You can memorize this process, then no matter what computer you find yourself working on, you can most likely find the quickest way to reset the print spooler.

How do I stop Word 2007 / 2010 from Double Spacing?

It’s Tech Tip Tuesday, AKA Tips from the Help Desk!  Another Word-related tip for you today, because here in the Help Desk, we se calls all the time about our favorite Office products.




In Word 2007, Microsoft changed the formatting to what they consider an easier to read double-spaced format.  They also changed the font to one that, as I understand it, is a little “greener” – as in, when it prints, the the letters are a little thinner meaning they use less ink.  All of these little changes have frustrated people to no end, since it had been previously unchanged since Office ‘97.  So how do you get back to the old format?  It’s easy.


Simply Open Microsoft Word, then on the right hand side click on Change Styles, choose Style Set, then select Word 2003 from the bottom of the list.  And just like that, you’re back to the old Single Spaced format, and if you want, you can even change back to Times New Roman font.  If you want it to be like this every time you open up Office from now on, just click the Change Styles button again and choose Set as Default.


There is another way to adjust the spacing (under the Home tab in the Ribbon menu at the top of the screen, click the Line Spacing button in the Paragraph group).  But I have actually found this not to work as well as simply changing the default style sheet.


One more tip: if you’re okay with the default Word 2007/2010 layout, but you would like the ability to just insert a single space every now and then, instead of being forced to always use a double space, you can simply hold the SHIFT key while you press the ENTER key.  This will bring you to the line immediately beneath where you are and might look a little better on certain occasions.


Now go forth and be productive!

Change Default Word 2007 2010 DOCX icon


Updated based on user feedback:

Ever see the icon above and asked “Help, my default DOCX icon has changed to something ugly! How do I solve this?”  If not, you’ve had good luck so far.  But some day you might, so commit this one to memory.

I had to deal with this issue on my girlfriend’s laptop just last month.  The DOCX icon had been replaced with this ugly icon.  Something had gone wrong with the file association, as well, but I had fixed that – still, the icon stayed.  I tried to edit literally DOZENS of Registry Keys, DWord Values, and expanding size entries…  I added things to my registry that weren’t there, changed the ones that were there, and rebooted dozens of times.  What finally fixed it?  Frustratingly simple.

Change the file association for .DOCX files to open with WordPad instead of MSWord (that’s where the ugly icon came from) – then set it back to MSWord.  Here’s how to do it:



  1. Right click the file, mouse over the “Open With” option at the bottom of the list of programs, click “Choose Default Program.”
  2. Select “WordPad” and hit OK.
  3. Once applied, open the menu back up, and now double click the Microsoft Office Word icon. The file should open with Word, then when you close it you’ll see the icon!

Hope this helps someone out there, some day!