Word or Excel File Opens Slowly When Double Clicked

I recently experienced a strange issue with a client where office documents from Word and Excel (.doc and .xls) would open very slowly when double clicked.  If you first opened the respective application and then selected the document from the open menu, it would open almost instantly.  After exhaustive research, I found the issue was related to the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) settings for those applications.  More on DDE can be found here.

The corrective action was to modify the “Application used to perform this action” string in the DDE settings.  Here it is step-by-step:

  1. Open folder options from within the control panel.
  2. Select the tab for file types.
  3. From the list, select the document extension you are having trouble with (.doc or .xls)
  4. Click the advanced button
  5. Append the string “%1” including the quotes to the end of the existing “Application used to perform this action” string.  If the existing string ends with a “/dde” remove that.
  6. Click OK and try again.