How to Repair ‘Excel is Waiting for Another Application to Complete an OLE’ Error Message

Microsoft Excel and its importance in our daily lives need no introduction. We all use Microsoft Office programs for different purposes. However, sometimes problems arise for technical reasons. One of the most common problems that users encounter is an OLE action error. You may be wondering what this error means and how it occurs. If you encounter this problem, we can help you solve it.

In this article, we’ve covered everything about this error, from identifying, why it occurs, to how to solve the problem. Read on to learn how to fix the “Microsoft Excel is waiting for another application to complete the OLE action” error.

What is an OLE action?

OLE stands for Object Linking and Embedding Action, which was developed by Microsoft and allows Office applications to communicate with other applications. This means that an editing application can send part of a document to other applications, then import it and take it back along with other content. For example, when Excel tries to communicate with PowerPoint, it sends a command to the OLE object and waits for PowerPoint to respond.

An Excel OLE Action error appears if the response does not arrive within a certain amount of time. As a result, an OLE Action Excel error is displayed:

Microsoft Excel is waiting for another application to perform an OLE action.

What causes an OLE Action Excel error?

When Excel makes a request to communicate with another application (such as Word), it uses an OLE object and then waits for the application to respond. If the response does not arrive within the specified time, Excel sends the following warning to the end-user: “Microsoft Excel is waiting for another application to perform an OLE action.”

While the error message is always the same, there are actually several fairly common scenarios that cause this particular error in Microsoft Excel:

  • Office installation corrupted: Some affected users reported that the problem was resolved after reinstalling or restoring the entire Office installation.
  • The DDE protocol is disabled in Excel: This problem can occur because the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) protocol is disabled in Excel’s settings.
  • Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker add-in conflicts with Excel: Several users reported that the problem was resolved by disabling or removing the PDFMaker add-in.
  • IE (Internet Explorer) interferes with the DDE process: This usually happens when the user tries to save the file to Microsoft Excel. In this case, the solution is to manually close the process.

If you are having trouble resolving this particular error message, this article provides a collection of troubleshooting steps. Below is a selection of methods that other users have successfully used in a similar situation to solve the problem.

How do I fix the “Excel is waiting for an OLE action” error?

Activate the “Ignore other applications using DDE” feature

  1. Open the Excel worksheet, go to the File menu and click Options.
  2. In the new dialog box, click the “Advanced” tab and scroll down to the “General” option.
  3. There you will find the option “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)”. To enable this feature, you must check this option.
  4. If you do this, the application can work for you. You can restart Excel and try again.

Disable all add-ons

As mentioned earlier, add-ons are another major cause of this error, so disabling add-ons may solve the problem for you.

  1. Open the Excel menu, go to File, then Preferences.
  2. In the new Windows dialog box, you will find the Add-Ins option on the left, click on it.
  3. At the bottom of that dialog box, select the Excel Add-Ins option and click Go to display all the add-ins.
  4. Uncheck all the boxes next to the add-ins and click OK. This will disable all add-ons and reduce the load on the application.
  5. Try restarting the application and see if you can eliminate the Excel OLE action.

Disable Excel Compatibility Mode

  1. Display the MS Excel application on your desktop, right-click it, and choose Properties from the right-click menu.
  2. In the Microsoft Excel Properties dialog box, switch to the Compatibility tab.
  3. Now go to Compatibility Mode and uncheck Run this program in compatibility mode.
  4. Click Apply, then OK to save your changes and exit the program.

Uninstalling Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker

Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker is notorious for its incompatibility issues with MS Excel. Therefore, it is recommended that you disable this add-on.

  1. Start Excel and click the File tab at the top left of the worksheet.
  2. From the File menu, select Options.
  3. In the Excel Options dialog box, click on Add-ins on the left side of the window.
  4. Now go to the right side of the window and find the Manage option at the bottom.
  5. Select COM Add-ins from the drop-down list next to it and click Go.
  6. In the COM-Add-Ins box that opens, disable COM-Add-In Acrobat PDFMaker Office and click OK to save your changes, and close the window.
  7. Now just restart your computer and try opening Excel again or run the VBA script to see if the error has been fixed.

Brief summary

If you’re having trouble resolving the ‘Excel is waiting for another application to complete an ole’ error message, this article provides a collection of troubleshooting steps. Above is a selection of methods that other users have successfully used in a similar situation to solve the problem. You can try one or more of these suggestions until you find the one that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few things you can try to fix this error:

  • Activate the "Ignore other applications using DDE" feature in Excel.
  • Disable all add-ons.
  • Disable Excel Compatibility Mode.
  • Uninstall Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker.

Some potential causes of this error include:

  • Incompatible add-ons.
  • Excel Compatibility Mode.
  • Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker.

Possible solutions to this problem include:

  • Activating the "Ignore other applications using DDE" feature in Excel.
  • Disabling all the add-ons.
  • Disabling the Excel Compatibility Mode.
  • Uninstalling the Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker.

This error usually occurs because of incompatible add-ons, the Excel Compatibility Mode, or Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker.