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initiating dde link with microsoft excel

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Programme - Word 2000

Using mailmerge

When attempting to merge a Word file with an Excel file the process hangs when the Excel file is selected and the following error is reported

initiating dde link with microsoft excel

I have tried
a. reloading the software. This solved the problem once but then the error was repeated when the next merge was tried
b. turning computer on and off which solved the problem once but not subsequently

I have used mailmerge for years and this is a sudden error on this PC

The error report to send to MS suggested an error with an mdmp file

Thanks for any help or guidance.
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