Microsoft Office Click-to-Run and Microsoft Dynamics GP

David Meego - Click for blog homepageI recently had a support case where the customer was receiving the error "Unable to start Microsoft Excel." from Microsoft Dynamics GP when trying to export from SmartList to Microsoft Office Excel.

We went through a number of tests and checks, such as launching Excel to make sure it was installed and was working. We also checked to see if the anti-virus software was interfering.

Eventually, it was discovered that the customer did not truly have Microsoft Office 2010 installed on their system which meant that when SmartList attempted to use COM (Component Object Model) calls to "talk" to Excel; it failed and so generated the error.

So how can you run Office applications on your machine without installing Office?

Good question.  Office Web Apps you might say.... but they don't really run on your machine.

Well, there is another method of getting Microsoft Office 2010.  One that I had not heard of until this support case.

Introducing Office Click-to-Run, a new way of delivering and updating Microsoft Office to broadband customers using Microsoft virtualization and streaming technologies.  Please see the links below for more information.

The problems we were facing are sort of mentioned in the Known Issues page (link above):

  • Many add-ins might not function as expected when used with Click-to-Run. You might see error messages stating that an add-in failed to load or could not be found.
  • Sending e-mail messages from third-party applications might not function as expected. You might receive an error message indicating that a default e-mail client is not available.

This makes sense as both Office Web Apps and Office Click-to-Run are not actually installed on the local workstation.  This means that when applications attempt to communicate with each other (such as SmartList to Excel or Word, or Dynamics GP to Outlook), they will fail as they will not be able to find the appropriate Office application.

[Edit] A little clarification, Office Click-to-Run (C2R) is actually installed locally, but it is installed into a virtual application space.  It is the same full featured product, but runs in a virtual environment and so cannot be seen by Dynamics GP.  Please note that Office Click-to-Run is not targeted for mid market and enterprise customers, but is aimed for consumers and small businesses. Infact, it is only available for download for the Office Home & Student and Home & Business versions.

So, the bottom line is that if you want to use the Microsoft Office integration provided by Microsoft Dynamics GP, you will need the actual Office applications installed on the workstation and cannot use Office Web Apps or Office Click-to-Run.

In our case, once the customer installed a full Microsoft Office client on the workstation, the exporting to Excel worked.


28-Aug-2010: Added clarification of Office Click-to-Run installation and target audience. Thanks to Bob Cooley for explaining.

Comments (4)

  1. Jivtesh says:

    Good to know! I've seen people reporting this error in the community forums, now we know.

  2. Doug Pitcher says:

    I saw this when a user went from a trial version to full version by just adding reg keys. I had them reinstall office and it worked.

  3. David Musgrave says:

    Posting from Mark Polino at…/microsoft-office-click-to-run-and.html

  4. Victoria Yudin says:


    We are starting to see this more and more on client installations – thank you for this terrific write-up to help explain the issue.

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