Known Issues

Microsoft Office

This section primarily describes problems resulting from Microsoft Office updates that introduce bugs or other changes that break Macabacus (or Macabacus Lite) functionality, and does not include problems with Macabacus add-ins themselves, which we fix promptly upon discovery when possible.

VSTO add-ins denied access to Office DLLs and will not load

This is an Office bug

This is a critical Microsoft Office bug; not a problem with Macabacus. This bug affects most or all VSTO add-ins, not just Macabacus. See interim solutions proposed below. If a workaround was possible and practical, we would have implemented it. Please contact Microsoft for assistance with this issue, as all guidance we have is provided below.

New computers

If you are experiencing this problem with a new computer, then the OEM preinstalled a buggy Office version contrary to Microsoft guidance. The OEM delivered a defective computer with a fatal flaw, and you should return the computer for a refund.

An Office or Windows bug introduced in or around March 2019 strips user permissions from Office DLLs used by VSTO add-ins like Macabacus. Consequently, when VSTO add-ins load and attempt to access these DLLs, access is denied and loading is aborted. The only way to detect this condition is by setting the environment variables as described in step 10 of this troubleshooting guide and observing the resulting error.

This problem affects only some computers / Office installations, and seems to occur most commonly in new computers running Windows 10 and Microsoft 365, Office 2016, and Office 2019. The impact is widespread, with add-ins from many vendors affected. There are posts in several online forums on this topic, including this Microsoft forum.

We reported this issue to Microsoft in April 2019 and have been working with them since to identify the root cause of the problem. This issue is a priority for Microsoft, which has several teams involved in researching this matter. The unique nature of this problem and inability to reproduce it on demand has made troubleshooting difficult and inconclusive.

Microsoft is currently working directly with Macabacus customers to troubleshoot and resolve this issue. If you observe an "access denied" error in step 10 of of the troubleshooting guide, we will arrange a troubleshooting session with Microsoft.

Update — On November 5, 2019 Microsoft informed us that they may have identified Office as the root cause of the problem, and they are now refocusing their efforts accordingly.

Update — On November 20, 2019 Microsoft confirmed that they have identified the root cause of the problem, and are working toward releasing a fix for Office. At this time, the fix is not expected earlier than the January 2020 Office update.

Update — On November 21, 2019 Microsoft asked that we direct customers affected by this problem to uninstall and reinstall Office as a temporary workaround to restore the DLL permissions until a permanent fix is released. Microsoft is no longer working directly with Macabacus customers to troubleshoot / fix this problem. We do not have any additional guidance to offer at this time.

Update — On January 7, 2020 Microsoft informed us that the Centennial version of Office that ships / shipped with new PCs is at the root of the problem. Microsoft guided PC manufacturers ("OEMs") to discontinue shipping Centennial Office with new PCs, but this practice nonetheless continued into 2019. Centennial Office updates automatically from the Windows Store, and when it does, permissions are corrupted as described above. While uninstalling and reinstalling Office will temporarily resolve the problem, uninstalling Office does not completely remove Centennial Office, and when the remaining Centennial Office files are again updated from the Windows Store, permissions will again become corrupted. Temporarily disabling automatic updates from the Windows Store—if that is even possible—until a permanent fix is released would theoretically offer a more permanent remedy, but potentially affect updates of other installed software was well.

Microsoft continues to work on developing a fix for this problem, but it no longer appears that this fix can be implemented via an Office / Windows update, instead requiring a more manual effort given the problem's complexity and scope. Fortunately, OEMs should no longer be shipping Centennial Office preinstalled, so this problem's frequency should decrease over time.

Update — On January 10, 2020 Microsoft indicated that it now believes it may be possible to ship a fix in an Office or Windows update. Additional internal approvals are required given the scope of such a solution.

Update — On March 6, 2020 Microsoft indicated that it expects to release a fix in April or May.

Update — On March 25, 2020 Microsoft said, "The updated code to enforce Centennial removal has already made it to DevMain in release 12723.2000. After the release hits the April monthly update, end users installing a new install of Office will have the appx package removed prior. For existing installs, the same detection and removal of Centennial and then the repair can be performed by running the Online repair function from Programs & Features."

Update — On April 28, 2020 Microsoft release a fix for this issue. See this Microsoft article for more information.

Cannot export some charts with linked data labels

You may be unable to export charts whose data labels are linked to a non-contiguous range of cells from Excel to PowerPoint/Word using Macabacus. You may also find that you cannot copy/paste these charts natively (either to PowerPoint/Word or even within the same worksheet), or perform other native operations on them (e.g., change chart type, move chart). This problem is described in a Microsoft forum post and corroborated by our testing.

We have concluded that this is an Excel bug for which there is currently no workaround other than restructuring the chart data so that the cells to which data labels are linked are contiguous.

Some Macabacus dialogs appear blank in Office 2016+

This problem is due to a Windows or Office bug. To resolve this issue, change your display setting to "Optimize for compatibility" under File > Options > General in all affected Office applications and restart those applications.

Microsoft would challenge the classification of this behavior as a bug, and argue that this behavior results from your chosen display setting. However, the average user lacks technical experience required to knowledgeably set this setting, and deferring to the uninformed user is not appropriate. This setting deflects responsibility for, conceals, and fails to address the underlying problem: Office incompatibilities with high-density displays that Microsoft has been unable to resolve.

Some Macabacus task panes not displaying properly in Excel 2016+

Content in some Macabacus task panes for Excel 365/2016, such as the Shortcut Manager and Explorer panes, may not display properly. This problem was first observed in May 2018, and does not appear to affect other Office versions (e.g., Excel 2013) or applications (e.g., PowerPoint 2016). This problem was observed in Microsoft Office 365 Business, but could not be reproduced in Microsoft Office Professional 2016.

We reported this issue to Microsoft engineers on May 15, 2018. Microsoft responded that, prior to Office build 9330, customers should set their Excel display setting to "Optimize for compatibility" under File > Options > General. We confirmed that this recommendation resolves the issue, and additionally concluded that:

  • This problem impacts only Office 365 at the time of this writing, not Office 2016, since this setting is not available in Office 2016 and could not be reproduced there.
  • This problem is caused by a Microsoft bug introduced in a May 8 or May 14, 2018 Office 365 update, rather than an issue with Macabacus. We are calling this a "bug" because it (a) is an undocumented breaking change that (b) does not affect Office 365 applications and task pane controls uniformly.

Microsoft implied that this issue is resolved in build 9330, which is already available in some release channels, so any impact to users who reject the recommendation above should be temporary. For more information about this setting, see this Microsoft article.

Update — Build 9330 does not fix this bug. We notified Microsoft on May 30, 2018 and are awaiting further guidance.

Cannot export new Office 2016+ chart types

Microsoft introduced several new chart types in Office 2016 (e.g., waterfall, treemap). These new chart types are plagued by a number of widely documented bugs and limitations, including the inability to copy them programmatically. Macabacus copies charts programmatically when exporting from Excel to PowerPoint / Word, so exporting these new chart types will fail.

We reported this bug to Microsoft on Feb 6, 2018 and received a response that the ability to copy these new chart types programmatically is not yet implemented, and that Microsoft does not have a timeline for when this functionality will be available. If you need to export a waterfall chart, use Macabacus' waterfall Quick Chart rather than the native waterfall chart.

Excel data may be deleted unexpectedly

In August or September 2017, Microsoft released an Office update that introduced a bug that may cause Excel 2016 purchased via an Office 365 subscription (only) to delete data unexpectedly after saving when Macabacus' AutoColor on Entry is enabled. This bug was discovered in Office 2016 build 8326, and may be present in other builds. It is believed that you will only encounter this problem if you see the AutoSave option (enabled or disabled) in the top left corner of the Excel window. To avoid this bug, you can disable AutoColor on Entry (which is disabled by default). We reported this bug to Microsoft on Sep 7, 2017 and they have acknowledged it. Any updates will be posted here.

Some Macabacus dialogs do not respond to keyboard input

If some Macabacus dialogs do not respond to keyboard input, another add-in may be causing this condition with low-level keyboard hooks that "hijack" your keyboard. While keyboard hooking has legitimate uses, it should never interfere with the operation of other software. We have observed this conflict only with Workshare's Excel add-in, specifically, although other add-ins might produce the same result. Disable the Workshare or other conflicting COM add-in to resolve the problem, and report the problem to that add-in's manufacturer. This issue seems to affect only modeless Macabacus dialogs (e.g., Pro Precedents/Dependents), not modal dialogs.

Creating new presentations freezes PowerPoint

In June 2019, Microsoft introduced a PowerPoint bug via an Office update that may cause an infinite number of slides to be added to new presentations created using Macabacus, freezing PowerPoint. This bug was discovered in Office 365 ProPlus version 1905, build 11629, and may be present in other builds. The problem does not appear to impact PowerPoint 2013. As a temporary workaround until Microsoft fixes the bug or we release an update that includes a permanent workaround, remove default sections added to presentations created using Macabacus in the Settings dialog. As the full impact of this bug is not yet known, other Macabacus functionality may be affected. We reported this bug to Microsoft on Jun 11, 2019. Updates will be posted here.

Update — Macabacus v8.11.11, released on Jun 12, includes an interim workaround to this bug until Microsoft fixes it. This workaround is believed to address all related issues.

Update — Microsoft reportedly fixed this issue in a July update.

Growth Arrow tool errors in Excel 365 / 2016

When trying to add a growth arrow to a chart or changing the line style of an existing arrow in Excel 365/2016, only, you may get a "Parameter not valid" or "Attempted to read or write protected memory..." error. We have confirmed that this problem is due to a Microsoft bug, and reported the bug to Microsoft on May 31, 2018.

Update — Macabacus v8.9.17 provides a workaround for this bug.

Excel and Word are slow to quit

Since Macabacus v8.9, Excel and Word may take 5-10 seconds to close after opening some Macabacus windows. This appears to predominantly affect Excel 2016 and Word 2016 (but not PowerPoint) running Windows 10 on PCs with touch screens, and is due to a Microsoft bug identical to one reported to and supposedly fixed by Microsoft several years ago. You may observe similar behavior with other add-ins using WPF. Only Microsoft can fix this bug, and we reported this issue to Microsoft on Nov 20, 2017.

You can work around this issue by opening Windows' Device Manager, expanding the Human Interface Devices section, and disabling one or more "HID-compliant" items (disabling only "HID-compliant touch screen" worked in our tests).

Update 1 — Microsoft originally planned to release a fix for this problem in an update to Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime (VSTOR) in Jan 2018, but the release was delayed. We tested a preview of this update, version number 60828, and confirmed that it resolves the issue.

Update 2 — Microsoft publicly released VSTOR version 60828 in May 2018. Download this update in the Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft reports that this version is also scheduled to release with an upcoming Office build sometime in 2018.

Macabacus Lite not loading upon starting Excel

In July 2016, Microsoft released a flawed Office security update that prevents many VBA add-ins (including Macabacus Lite) from loading when starting Excel 2016, 2013, or 2010. This update leaves hundreds of thousands (or more) of Excel users wondering why their add-ins are suddenly not loading.

Update — This issue can be resolved by changing how you install/load VBA add-ins. Please see our updated Macabacus Lite installation instructions for more information. Commentary from Microsoft suggests that they may reverse some of these changes to avoid further confusion, and we will update the installation instructions as required if they do.

Saving triggers Undo in Excel 2016

In June 2016, Microsoft released an Office update that introduced a bug that may cause Excel 2016 (only) to undo the last change when saving workbooks with Macabacus' AutoColor on Entry feature enabled. In response, we promptly released a workaround in Macabacus v8.1 that disables AutoColor on Entry and clears Excel's undo stack upon saving. To avoid clearing Excel's undo stack upon saving, you can disable Macabacus Undo. Alternatively, in older versions of Macabacus for Excel 2016, you can disable both Macabacus Undo and AutoColor on Entry as a workaround.

Update — Microsoft released a fix for this bug in a subsequent Office update in late July 2016. Install Macabacus v8.2.0 or later, and install the Office update to get the fix.

Erratic behavior in Excel 2013

A serious Excel 2013 bug introduced in Microsoft Office update KB3085502 in September 2015 affecting Office builds 4753 and 4763 can make add-ins—including some Macabacus features—behave erratically.

Update — Microsoft update KB3101499, released on November 10, 2015, fixed this bug in Office build 4771. Update Office 2013 to build 4771 or later to get the fix.

Excel Add-in

This section describes and/or troubleshoots unresolved problems involving Macabacus' Excel add-in not addressed elsewhere in this documentation, which are due to bugs in either our add-in or Microsoft Office that we have not been able to confirm. If your problem is not listed here, check the applicable section of this documentation and our general usage tips.

Quick Save tools do not work

A small number of users have reported that Macabacus' Quick Save tools do not work. We have yet to determine the cause of this malfunction, and continue to investigate the issue. If you have this problem, please contact [email protected] and include in your email the two files generated when you click the Macabacus > Help > Email Support button.

PowerPoint Add-in

This section describes and/or troubleshoots unresolved problems involving Macabacus' PowerPoint add-in not addressed elsewhere in this documentation, which are due to bugs in either our add-in or Microsoft Office that we have not been able to confirm. If your problem is not listed here, check the applicable section of this documentation and our general usage tips.

There are no known problems using Macabacus for PowerPoint that are not documented in the applicable section of this documentation.

Word Add-in

This section describes and/or troubleshoots unresolved problems involving Macabacus' Word add-in not addressed elsewhere in this documentation, which are due to bugs in either our add-in or Microsoft Office that we have not been able to confirm. If your problem is not listed here, check the applicable section of this documentation and our general usage tips.

When opening Word attachments in email, an error message reads "This method or property is not available because this command is not available for reading."

Go to File > Options > General and uncheck the "Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view" box.

This documentation refers to Macabacus version 9.4.5. Some features and descriptions of these features may not
apply to older versions of Macabacus. Update your Macabacus software to take advantage of the latest features.