Supercharge your PowerPoint productivity with
Supercharge your PPT Productivity with PPTools - Click here to learn more.

Proud member of


Image Export converts PowerPoint slides to high-quality images.

PPT2HTML exports HTML even from PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, gives you full control of PowerPoint HTML output, helps meet Section 508 accessibility requirements

Merge Excel data into PowerPoint presentations to create certificates, awards presentations, personalized presentations and more

Resize your presentations quickly and without distortion

Language Selector switches the text in your presentation from one language to another

FixLinks prevents broken links when you distribute PowerPoint presentations

Shape Styles brings styles to PowerPoint. Apply complex formatting with a single click.

Can't edit Org Chart, Graph, Excel (error msg: "server application, source file, or item can't be found")

First off, a BIG thank-you to MVP Echo Swinford - this is all her hard work.

You may experience the same or similar error messages when you Copy/Paste Special from Excel to PowerPoint in order to embed an Excel object, or when you do Insert | Object | Create From File and choose an Excel or other Office file.

If you're seeing this or similar error messages when you double-click an embedded PDF object see this page.

Try re-registering OLE32.DLL

If you use Windows XP

If you use Vista or Windows 7

Multiple Office versions

We haven't been able to confirm this with Microsoft, but it seems that this kind of error is common on systems with both Office 2003 and later versions of Office both installed.

Windows 7 / 64-bit

Again, we've been unable to confirm this with Microsoft, but here (Steve's office) we see this error on three different Windows 7 / 64-bit systems, one with both Office 2003 and 2012 installed, two with only Office 2012. The error occurs consistently when attempting to embed an Excel object on a PowerPoint slide. Repairing Office and re-registering OLE32.DLL both fail to correct the problem.

Error messages start after installing Office XP SP2 or Office 2000 SP3

If these error messages started after you installed Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office XP, or Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Office 2000, see Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office XP Released and "Server Not Found" messages after installing Office XP SP2 or Office 2000 SP3

OrgChart error messages

There are several reasons why Org Charts may cause problems; some have to do with the version of Office/PowerPoint you have, some relate to Org Chart itself.

In PowerPoint 2002 or later
If you run into these error messages in PowerPoint 2002 or 2003, it's because they no longer include the Org Chart "mini-application" so they can't invoke it to edit org charts on slides created in earlier versions of PowerPoint.

Microsoft has a rather confusing explanation of this here, but the short version is that the downloadable Org Chart 2 utility available on that page will probably solve the problem. The article talks about OPX files, but when we tested it here, it enabled us to edit Org Charts in PowerPoint 2003.

But this looks like an even better deal: HumanConcepts, the company that owns and continues to develop OrgChart, offers a free OrgPlus Express Add-In for Microsoft Office

Learn more about how OrgPlus Express works with PowerPoint here

Earlier PPT versions / Other Org Chart issues
If the above links don't help, or if you run into Org Chart errors while using older PowerPoint versions:

If you see error messages when double-clicking to edit an organization chart, see this

Also know that PPT's Org Chart sometimes has difficulties with the permissions under Win2000, NT and XP and throws a similar error. Learn more about it here.

If this is your issue, you need to make sure that users have read/write but not delete permissions on the files mentioned. Apparently if they have delete permission, Org Chart deletes the files the next time it starts, but because of the folder permissions, the files won't be created.

Problems with Organization Chart (OrgChart) explains other problems (and solutions). See in particular the solution (removing excess fonts) for insufficient memory error messages. That can also solve "server application can't be found" errors.

Office Virus Checkers are Evil

Some anti-virus programs include features that check for viruses in Office files. These can cause many problems with Office installation and operation. You'll want to disable them, certainly as a test if you're having problems, but permanently is better.

The following information refers to the Norton AntiVirus (NAV) program. Check your anti-virus program manufacturer's web site for more information.

Is it safe to disable Office virus checking? Here's what Microsoft has to say:

"When the Norton AntiVirus plug-in is disabled, the Norton AntiVirus for Microsoft Office plug-in does not scan documents when you open the documents. Even if the Norton AntiVirus for Office plug-in is disabled, the Norton AntiVirus Auto-Protect feature still provides ongoing protection by scanning any file that you run, download, open, create, or delete."

Disabling NAV doesn't disable the plug-in; In NAV go to Options. In the Miscellaneous section turn off "Enable Office Plug-in".

Some NAV versions (CE for example) don't include the Office Plug-In, but a previously installed version of Norton AV may have left the Office Plug-In DLL installed, registered and active.

Use Windows Explorer to search for: officeav.dll
If you find it, click Start, click Run and type this, quote marks and all:

regsvr32 /u "\officeav.dll"

then click OK

Again ... Norton isn't the only culprit
Other antivirus programs include Office virus scanning features. It's always a good idea to disable them, if only temporarily, at the first sign of trouble with PowerPoint.

MS Graph or Excel charts

If you encounter "Server not found" types of error messages under Windows NT 4, while inserting an Office Object, see this

If you see error messages when double-clicking on an Excel graph or an MS Graph in PPT 2002/XP with Service Pack 2 (SP-2) installed, see this

If you encounter this error when double-clicking an MS Graph in a different version of PPT (ie, NOT PPT 2002 with SP-2), see this and this

Re-register MS Graph.
Click Start, click Run and type

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Graph.exe" /regserver


Reregistering Graph works for all versions of PPT except 2002/XP with SP-2 installed. That means if you're using PPT 95, 97, 2000, 2002/XP, or 2002/XP with SP-1, this is worth a try.

If you're not sure of the correct path, use Windows Explorer to search for GRAPH*.EXE

Check for links with long names
An anonyMoose on the PowerPoint moose ... er news group mentioned this possible reason for this same error and other related ones:
XL2000: Linking Charts Does Not Work Correctly If Name Has More Than 64 Characters

The short version: This usually happens when the path to the file that contains the embedded chart object exceeds 64 characters. Shorten the path (by shortening the file name or directory names, or storing the file in a less-deeply nested folder) and the problem goes away.

So. What's a "Server Application?

When you copy and paste content from Word or Excel and some other programs into Powerpoint, or when you insert Graphs, Equations or Word Tables, you're embedding an OLE object into Powerpoint. The OLE object has a "client" (the program that makes use of the object ... that'd be PowerPoint) and a "server" (the program that supplies the object to PowerPoint).

If the program that created the object in the first place isn't installed on your computer, you'll get a Server Not Found message when you doubleclick the object in order to edit it. For example, if you receive a presentation that includes a formula from Equation Editor, you won't be able to edit it unless Equation Editor's installed on your computer. When in doubt, re-run Setup, choose a custom install and make sure you have all the Office bits and pieces you need.

Did this solve your problem? If so, please consider supporting the PPT FAQ with a small PayPal donation.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape Contents © 1995 - 2022 Stephen Rindsberg, Rindsberg Photography, Inc. and members of the MS PowerPoint MVP team. You may link to this page but any form of unauthorized reproduction of this page's contents is expressly forbidden.

Supercharge your PPT Productivity with PPTools

content authoring & site maintenance by
Friday, the automatic faq maker (logo)
Friday - The Automatic FAQ Maker

Can't edit Org Chart, Graph, Excel (error msg: "server application, source file, or item can't be found")
Last update 08 July, 2012