Seeing the error message “Microsoft Word is waiting for an OLE Action to finish” can be frustrating, especially when you have important documents to edit. This error essentially means that Word is waiting for communication from another Office application through OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) and the response is delayed.
Don’t panic though – in most cases, this issue can be easily resolved. Here’s a step-by-step guide to troubleshoot and fix this error in Word.
What Causes This Error Message in Word?
There are a few potential culprits behind this OLE action error message:
- A conflicting Office add-in is causing problems with OLE communication
- An Office application like Excel has an open dialog box preventing OLE actions
- The DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) protocol used by Office programs is disabled
- Corrupted Office programs are leading to failed OLE connections
- Too many Office applications are open, overloading OLE channels
Essentially any disruption in the OLE communication system between Office apps can trigger this error.
Step 1: Close Unnecessary Applications and Documents
Start troubleshooting by closing all other unnecessary applications and documents. Keep only the Word document with the error message open.
Closing other programs eliminates possible conflicts and frees up system resources for a smooth OLE exchange between Word and other required Office apps.
Step 2: Check for Open Dialog Boxes in Other Microsoft Applications
The “Word is waiting” error also occurs when another Office program has an open dialog box waiting for user action.
Check the taskbar for icons of other running Office applications. Switch to any open Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook or other Office documents and close any visible dialog prompts.
Step 3: Disable Potentially Conflicting Add-ins
Next, disable Word add-ins that could be interfering with OLE connections by following these steps:
- Go to File > Options > Add-Ins
- In the Manage drop-down, select Word Add-ins
- Uncheck the add-ins you want to disable
- Click OK
Restart Word and check if the OLE action error still appears. If yes, repeat the steps to disable more add-ins.
Step 4: Enable the DDE Protocol
If other troubleshooting steps don’t work, try enabling the DDE protocol:
- Go to File > Options > Advanced
- In the General section, check the box for Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange
- Click OK and restart Word
Enabling DDE allows proper communication between Office apps.
Step 5: Repair Office from Control Panel
Corrupted Office files can also interrupt OLE connections in Word. Run the Office repair tool in Control Panel to fix errors:
- Go to Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program
- Right-click on your Office version and select Change
- Click Quick Repair and then Repair
- Restart Word after the repair
This will replace any faulty Office program files.
Step 6: Contact Microsoft Support
If you still get the OLE action error after trying all troubleshooting steps, contact Microsoft Support for further help.
Provide details of the error message, your Office version, Windows OS version, and the fixes you have attempted so far. Microsoft can then investigate and offer solutions.
Tips to Prevent the “Waiting for OLE Action” Error
Here are some tips to avoid OLE errors in Word in the future:
- Close all unnecessary Office applications before working in Word
- Temporarily disable add-ins if they cause conflicts
- Ensure Office programs are up-to-date and not corrupted
- Don’t overload your system by having too many Office documents and apps open
- Maintain reliable antivirus software to keep malware from disrupting Office processes
Following these best practices will help Word and other Office applications communicate smoothly for OLE actions.
When to Try Alternative Fixes
If you still see the “Microsoft Word is waiting for an OLE action to finish” error after exhausting the standard troubleshooting steps, try these additional fixes:
- Update your graphics card drivers
- Adjust the virtual memory/page file settings
- Uninstall and reinstall Office using the Office removal tool
- Reset Word to default settings by renaming Normal.dotm file
- Perform a Windows System Restore to undo recent system changes
While less common, sometimes issues outside of Office can lead to OLE breakdowns in Word. Contact tech support if these advanced fixes also fail to resolve the problem.
The “Word is waiting for an OLE action” message may be annoying, but getting rid of it is straightforward once you know the likely causes. Follow the step-by-step troubleshooting guide outlined here to enable smooth OLE functioning and banish this error for good.
Implementing best practices like closing unused apps while working in Word, keeping Office updated and avoiding too many add-ins can also stop this OLE issue from recurring. Contact Microsoft or tech support if the solutions here don’t do the trick.
Hopefully you can now get back to editing Word documents without frustrating delays from pending OLE actions!