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This can be a really irritating problem when suddenly the EXCEL file on your desktop you used to double-click on no longer gets viewed via Microsoft EXCEL, but instead gets viewed through the Microsoft Excel READER program instead!   In essence, either a new program you've installed has reset the file association, or you are working on a new computer that may have different software--overall, this area has to do with File Management/File Extension types.

Here's what to do:

In Windows XP:
1. Look for the 'My Computer'  icon on your desktop (usually to the far left, near the top of your monitor)
2. Double-click on the icon. A window will appear. Go to 'Tools'. Click on Folder Options...
3. Look to make sure the  'Hide Extensions for known file types' box is unchecked. Click 'Ok',
4. Go to the File Types tab.
5. Look for the File extension (e.g. XLS) you want to change.
6. Once found, highlight it and click on the Change button.
7. Under recommended programs, the one you want is probably there. Be sure the 'Always use the selected program to open this kind of file' is checked. Click OK.  (Note: If you can't find your program under recommended programs, continue to scroll until you find the one you want.)

In Vista:
1. open Control Panel. Go to Programs. Click on Make a file type always open in a specific program. ( if you are in classic view, open Default Programs. Click Associate a file type with a program.
2. Locate/highlight a file type in the Set Associations folder.
3. Click on the Change Program button.
4. The Set Associations window will show--pick your program--using the same advice in Step #7 above.
5. When you've selected the program, Click OK.

That should patch you right up!   

With that all that said:

If you do not find the program you are looking for, do not try to change the existing association for these files. First determine why the program you think is there no longer appears to be there.

posted on Thursday, May 28, 2009 2:51 AM