Office documents may not open in the expected version when using multiple versions of Office with Microsoft App-V


Here’s a new Knowledge Base article we published today.  This one talks about FTAs and Office and there’s a link to the official KB at the bottom:


When a Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) virtualized Office package is used in conjunction with a locally installed version of Office, Office documents may open with an unexpected version.
Note This behavior can occur on any version of Office (Office 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010).


File type associations (FTA) and dynamic data exchange (DDE) control the Office version that launches. There are three ways for an application to launch for a specific file type:

  • When launching directly from a file, Office uses a windows mechanism (DDE) to determine which application to launch. DDE registers application types to extensions on first launch.
  • When launching from inside an application, the application could use DDE or the File Type Associations that are set for that extension in Windows.
  • Application Virtualization also registers file type associations for the application. If the application is launched via a mechanism that launches through Application Virtualization specifically, those file type associations could be selected as defined in the App-V package.


As a best practice, Microsoft recommends the following configuration when running multiple versions of Office:

  1. Locally install the version of Office that you plan to use primarily.
  2. Virtualize additional versions of Office by using Application Virtualization (App-V).
  3. The recommended practice is to have a primary local version that has all the FTA’s by default and a virtual version that has all the FTAs removed and is called only through shortcuts.

More Information

When the best practices are followed, the version coexistence issues of the applications are minimized and the locally installed version of Office acts as the “Primary version” and is registered to handle the File Type Associations (FTA) with Windows. The virtual version of Office does not handle the FTAs, because they are removed from the virtual applications. Application Virtualization shortcuts should be created to launch the virtual version. A typical scenario where this would be implemented is when a line of business application is dependent on a specific version of Office that is different than the “Primary version”.

If the virtual version of an application is running and a user clicks on a file with an associated extension, it may open in the virtual version of the application. When launching an application from file type associations, Windows will check for applications that support that File Type Association that are already running.


For the most current version of this article please see the following:

2605618 : Office documents may not open in the expected version when using multiple versions of Office with Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

J.C. Hornbeck | System Center Knowledge Engineer

App-V Team blog:
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Server App-V Team blog:
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System Center Essentials Team blog:
WSUS Support Team blog:

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Comments (3)
  1. What would be the recommended best practice in this situation?

    Local install:  Office 2007 with FTAs

    AppV install:  Office 2003

    Local install needs to be upgraded to Office 2010.

  2. kkaminsk says:

    Upgrade the local install from 2007 to 2010 as you normally would. Because Office 2003 is in an App-V application it should not be affected by the change.

  3. nick says:

    Is it possible to have an appv install of Office 2003 with  a local install of Office 2010 . Then have one appv'd application that is dsc'd to use  Office 2003 with a second appv'd application that uses the local copy of 2010

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