Odd Behavior When Opening A Shared File With A Shortcut In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • Odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel can be frustrating and complicated to fix, but understanding the problem and its potential causes is the first step to solve it.
  • Troubleshooting steps involve checking the shortcut file path, actual file path, file permissions, and file compatibility before implementing a solution.
  • Solutions include copying the file to a local drive, changing the shortcut file path, and ensuring file compatibility. It is recommended to use mapped network drives or relative file paths for shortcuts to prevent future issues.

Are you struggling with unexplained errors when opening Excel shared files? Uncover the cause of this odd behavior and resolve it quickly. You’ll be happily working with Excel shared files in no time.

Understanding the Problem

Do you work with Excel? It can be annoying if it does something strange. This article will look at an issue related to opening a shared file with a shortcut. It can cause some unusual effects, leaving you confused. We’ll also discuss the reasons this could happen. These include issues with the file path, permissions, or compatibility. By investigating, we can find a solution and avoid any similar problems.

Odd Behavior when Opening a Shared File with a Shortcut in Excel

When you use the shortcut, the operating system creates an Excel instance without the right permissions. This is because it uses an incorrect session ID. The file opens as read-only, with limited editing access.

One solution is to change your shortcut’s target path. Edit the properties and add /F instead of /E to get full access rights.

Another workaround is to start Excel first. Use the drag-and-drop method or select ‘Open’ from the Files menu. This ensures Excel starts with the correct session ID and has all necessary permissions.

Pro Tip: To avoid this issue, give users direct access to the shared location instead of manually creating shortcuts in Windows Explorer.

Possible Causes: Troubleshooting this issue may involve the file path, permissions, or compatibility. It could be insufficient user permissions, data corruption issues, or differences between versions/servers/clients.

Possible causes of the issue: file path, permissions, compatibility

Weird behavior when attempting to open a shared file with a shortcut in Excel is common. It can be due to multiple causes, such as:

  • Wrong File Path: If the file path isn’t correct, Excel won’t be able to find the shared file. Mistyping is a common cause.
  • Permissions: Without permission to access the shared folder, or if it’s password-protected, you won’t be able to open the file.
  • Compatibility: The versions of Excel used must match the format of the shared file. For instance, an .xls spreadsheet created in an older version won’t open on a newer one that only supports .xlsx.

When this issue arises, troubleshooting can help. For example, I once encountered this issue while trying to open a shared report in Excel. It turned out that I had to remove special characters from one column in the filename in order to resolve it.

Troubleshooting Steps

My experience shows that using a shortcut to open shared files in Excel can lead to unexpected behavior. This can be aggravating, especially when time is of the essence. So, I’m going to share some techniques that have worked for me in the past.

We’ll look at how to:

  1. Check the shortcut file path
  2. Check the real file path
  3. Check file authorization
  4. Check file compatibility

After reading this article, you should have a better grasp of how to identify and fix issues when opening shared files with shortcuts in Excel.

Check the Shortcut File Path

When opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel, odd behavior may arise. To troubleshoot, you must check the shortcut file path. Here’s how:

  1. Find the shortcut file.
  2. Right-click the icon and select “Properties”.
  3. On the General tab, make sure the target is pointing to the correct shared file location.
  4. If not, update it by using the Browse feature.
  5. Click “OK” and try to open the shared file again.

It’s always best to check the shortcut file path first as it may save time and effort compared to other methods. Microsoft Support states that Windows creates shortened aliases for applications and files in the form of “.lnk” files.

Next, we’ll look at the file path itself to see if it is causing any issues.

Check the Actual File Path

If you’re having problems opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel, check the file path. Here’s how:

  1. Open Excel and click the “File” button in the top-left corner.
  2. Click “Options” at the bottom-left corner.
  3. In the left pane, choose “Advanced”.
  4. Scroll down to “General”.
  5. Uncheck “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)”.
  6. Click “OK” to save.

Verifying the file path is key, as shortcuts may point to incorrect locations. Confirm the shortcut is pointing to the right place and file name to dodge potential errors.

Before jumping to conclusions or making changes, consider other causes. Checking the file path is just one step. If it doesn’t work, try restarting Excel or rebooting your computer. Create a new shortcut and make sure it points to the correct location.

Also, no one else must have the files open when trying to access them through a shortcut.

Checking file permissions is another important step to figure out odd behavior when working with shared files in Excel.

Check File Permissions

When encountering odd behavior while opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel, the first step is to check file permissions. This helps identify if the issue is caused by access restrictions.

To check permissions:

  1. Right-click the shared file and select “Properties”.
  2. Go to the “Security” tab.
  3. Ensure the necessary users or groups have the right access permissions for sharing and security settings.

Checking file permissions can be crucial in identifying and solving issues. E.g., if Eileen shared a budget spreadsheet but didn’t grant proper permissions, this can cause confusion and frustration when opening it with a shortcut.

In another scenario, an employee leaves and their account is deleted. But they created many important files that are now inaccessible due to incorrect or missing permissions. Checking file permissions in this case can help restore access to those files.

Once file permission issues are resolved, check file compatibility. This makes sure everyone who needs access can work with it without difficulty.

Check File Compatibility

When opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel, a troubleshooting step is to check file compatibility. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Excel and go to the File menu.
  2. Click Info, then Check Compatibility.
  3. Review the results and fix any issues.

Check for errors or warnings that could prevent opening the file or cause unexpected behavior. This could be due to differences in software versions, formats or settings. For example, if one user has a newer version of Excel than another, not all features may be supported. Other possible causes include password protection, encrypted files or macros.

Checking file compatibility beforehand is key to avoiding errors and ensuring productivity. ‘Solutions’ is the next section where further steps will be provided to troubleshoot odd behavior when opening shared files with shortcuts in Excel.


Doing Excel work daily can be annoying when a shared file isn’t opening properly. But, no worries! There are solutions to this issue. In this article, we’ll check out three possible remedies.

  1. Copy the file to your device.
  2. Alter the shortcut file path.
  3. Make sure the file is compatible.

This way, you will be sure the file opens correctly always.

Copy File to Local Drive

Copy a shared file to your local drive in 3 simple steps!

  1. Open it in Excel.
  2. Click “File” in the top left corner, then select “Save As”.
  3. Pick where on your computer to save it and hit “Save”.

Copying files to your local drive has benefits. You get a version of the file that won’t be changed by other users. Performance and load times also improve when you work with large or complex documents.

Microsoft offers OneDrive – a free tool that stores and shares all kinds of files. It has 5GB of free storage for personal accounts. Get more storage by subscribing to Microsoft 365 – with access to Office apps like Excel.

Now you know how to copy! Let’s look at changing a shortcut file path to resolve common issues related to opening shared files in Excel.

Change Shortcut File Path

Is your shared file behaving oddly when you open it with a shortcut in Excel? You can fix it! Just follow these 6 steps:

  1. Right-click on the shortcut file.
  2. Select “Properties” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Go to the “Shortcut” tab in the Properties window.
  4. Add a space and “%1” at the end of the “Target” file path.
  5. Click “Apply” and then “OK.”
  6. Test if the shortcut now correctly opens the shared file.

By adding “%1” to the end of the Target file path, you’re telling Excel to open a new application instance. Not reusing an existing one. This helps solve compatibility issues between versions of Excel and other software.

For example, I had a problem where the shared workbook wouldn’t open with a shortcut on my desktop. Adding “%1” at the end of the target location did the trick!

Remember – to make sure the shared file is compatible with other software and versions of Excel, you have to modify the target field of the desktop’s Excel icon.

Ensure File Compatibility

If you want to make sure your shared files are compatible, here’s a 3-step guide to follow!

  1. Ensure all users have the same version of Excel installed.
  2. Check for incompatible features in the shared file.
  3. Remove or replace such features before sharing the file.

You need to be aware that incompatibility issues might cause odd behavior when opening shared files with a shortcut in Excel. So, it’s important to make sure everyone has the same version of Excel installed.

Furthermore, you should check the shared file for any features that aren’t compatible with older versions of Excel. These features can lead to missing data or inaccurate results when opened through shortcuts. Therefore, removing or replacing such elements from the file beforehand will guarantee a smooth functioning of the file on different devices.

Did you know? According to Microsoft Office, if you use newer features on an older version of Office, some formatting and content might be lost or degraded (Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/file-formats-that-are-supported-in-excel-0943ff2c-6014-415e-b8aa-03dc0a76b1fa).

Prevention: Now let’s talk about prevention.


When it comes to Excel shortcuts and shared files, there can be odd behaviors. Not to worry! Here, I’ll discuss prevention techniques. Let’s take a look at three methods: absolute and relative file paths, plus mapped network drives. Use these, and you’ll have a smoother experience with your shared Excel files.

Use Absolute File Path for Shortcut

When opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel, it is recommended to use absolute file path. This stops any strange behavior appearing due to incorrect file references.

To use absolute file path:

  1. Right-click the shortcut icon.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. In the Shortcut tab, find the Target field.
  4. Change the relative file path to absolute file path of the shared file.

Absolute file path is important as it guarantees the correct file location is referenced every time you open the shared file through the shortcut. It also saves time and increases productivity; avoiding errors or guesswork when locating the shared file.

As per Microsoft’s support website, absolute paths are necessary for files in different locations or accessed from different drives or media types.

Now, let’s explore another way to open shared files with shortcuts in Excel: using relative file path.

Use Relative File Path for Shortcut

To stop weird behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel, a relative file path is suggested. This means using a path related to the shortcut, not the exact place on the computer. Here are five steps to use relative file paths:

  1. Right-click on the desktop. Select New > Shortcut.
  2. In the location box, type “excel” followed by a space.
  3. Drag and drop the shared Excel file onto the location box.
  4. Add “%USERPROFILE%\\\\Desktop\\\\” before the file name in the location box.
  5. Click Next. Enter a name for the shortcut. Click Finish.

Relative paths make sure Excel knows where the shared file is, no matter where it is saved. This stops errors or Excel opening multiple copies of it. Plus, if someone else needs access, they can just copy and paste the shortcut without changing paths.

Absolute paths still work, but must be updated each time someone else needs access or the filename changes. Relative paths offer more flexibility with fewer mistakes.

Microsoft Support says, “UNC (Universal Naming Convention) names stop connectivity issues due to broken shortcuts or moved files. Relative paths act like UNC names, so they can be used on different computers without troubles.

Use Mapped Network Drive for Shortcut

Want to use a mapped network drive for your shortcut? Follow these steps:

  1. Go to the shared folder where the Excel file is stored.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select “Map network drive” from the menu.
  3. Choose a letter and click “Finish”.
  4. Open Excel and go to “File”, then pick “Open”.
  5. Paste the path of the mapped network drive into the file name field, followed by the name of the Excel file.
  6. Click “Open” and the shared file should now open easily.

Mapping to the shared folder is great for avoiding issues like slow loading times or accessing certain files. Plus, it’s easier to find your files – instead of going through multiple folders, just click on your mapped network drive letter and access all your shared files in one place.

Pro Tip: Make a master list of all your mapped network drives. This way, you can quickly reference which drives match which folders, without needing to go through every program or application.

Five Facts About Odd Behavior when Opening a Shared File with a Shortcut in Excel:

  • ✅ Opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel may result in the file opening as read-only. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ The issue may be caused by a conflict between the shortcut and Excel’s file sharing settings. (Source: Excel Tips)
  • ✅ One workaround is to use the “Open in Excel” option in SharePoint or OneDrive instead of using a shortcut. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Another solution is to open Excel first, then navigate to the shared file through File > Open instead of using a shortcut. (Source: Excel Jet)
  • ✅ Updating Excel to the latest version may also fix the issue of odd behavior when opening shared files with a shortcut. (Source: Excel Campus)

FAQs about Odd Behavior When Opening A Shared File With A Shortcut In Excel

Q: What is odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel?

A: Odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel can include slow loading times, error messages, or the file opening in read-only mode.

Q: Why does odd behavior occur when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel?

A: Odd behavior can occur when the shortcut is not configured properly or when there are issues with the shared file itself. This can also happen if multiple users are accessing the file simultaneously.

Q: How can I fix odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel?

A: To fix odd behavior, try deleting and re-creating the shortcut, making sure it is pointing to the correct file location. You can also try repairing or reinstalling Microsoft Office, and ensure that all users have proper permissions to access the shared file.

Q: Can a corrupt file cause odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel?

A: Yes, a corrupt file can cause issues when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel. If this is the case, you may need to restore a previous version of the file or try to repair the file using Excel’s Repair function.

Q: What should I do if I am still experiencing odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel?

A: If you are still experiencing odd behavior, try contacting your IT department for assistance. They may be able to help identify the root cause of the issue and provide a solution. You can also try searching online forums or contacting Microsoft support for additional help.

Q: Is it possible to prevent odd behavior when opening a shared file with a shortcut in Excel?

A: Yes, you can prevent odd behavior by ensuring that all users are accessing the file correctly and that the shortcut is configured properly. You can also try saving the file locally before opening it or using a different method for accessing the shared file, such as through a web browser.