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Years ago I figured out how to embed a spreadsheet in an Outlook email to automate a task I do regularly. Whenever I want to send a new quote request I open an old email, tell Outlook I want to resend it, fill in the new values in my embedded spreadsheet and then send it off. This method worked well for years.

After switching to a new computer however, I have found that when I open the latest emails I have sent, I cannot edit the embedded spreadsheet because Outlook interprets it now as a GIF. Saved emails that I sent with the old computer however, still work fine - I can still open, edit and resend and Outlook interprets the embedded spreadsheet correctly.

I would like to figure out how to setup Outlook in the new PC correctly so that the embedded spreadsheet is interpreted correctly when the email is reopened. Some sort of security setting, maybe? Any help anyone could provide would be appreciated.

Edit:
I developed the spreadsheet originally in Excel. Then I went into Outlook, created a new email, did Insert->Object->Excel Spreadsheet. At that point I had a blank spreadsheet in my email. Then I copied and pasted the spreadsheet from Excel into the blank spreadsheet in Outlook and it worked perfectly (until this recent problem)

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  • I developed the spreadsheet originally in Excel. Then I went into Outlook, created a new email, did Insert->Object->Excel Spreadsheet. At that point I had a blank spreadsheet in my email. Then I copied and pasted the spreadsheet from Excel into the blank spreadsheet in Outlook and it worked perfectly (until this recent problem).
    – bensky101
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 21:45

2 Answers 2

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When you send emails, make sure they are sent as Rich Text, not HTML (which is the default in Outlook 2010). Rich Text is the only hope you have of saving the full document. This is found in the Format Text tab of the ribbon in a new message window.

Sadly, there's no way to recover the original spreadsheet(s) from the emails that have already had the conversion done on them.

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  • On rereading my original answer, I said you couldn't recover the original embedded spreadsheets "from the older emails." You can from the ones that were sent as RTF (Rich Text Format), but not from those that have already been saved in HTML format. I've edited the answer to clarify.
    – Joe Sewell
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:28
  • For some reason this only works when the recipient chooses Forward, and not for Reply or Reply all. Very strange, but at least it works...
    – martin
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 11:46
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When you insert a OLE object into your office product (word, excel, outlook, etc) it creates an object and links this to the program ascociated to it. When you are done editing, it creates a screenshot of the content and uses that as an image placeholder.

When you open a document/sheet/email that has such embedded file in it, and opening doesn't work, it means it cannot establish a connection with the program ascociated, or it is linked to a non-existing file.

When you embed a file into your document/sheet/email, you have the option to embed it fully, or link to it. If you've chosen to link to it, the actual file has to be in the exact same location for it to open correctly.

Additionally, it is very likely that the linked program has to be exactly that linked program. Eg: excel 2013 is not the same as excel 2010. But any updates installed for your office product won't matter.

So what you need to make sure, is how the latest emails are setup. Are they linked to a file rather than fully embedded, and did the versions from the old pc and new pc are the same?

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    Although it uses COM, it’s an OLE object. ;)
    – Daniel B
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 21:55
  • @DanielB you're absolutely right. I couldn't think of the exact name and after some long thinking and COM was the only thing I could think of, I thought I just was overthinking it. :) Thanks. edited.
    – LPChip
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 21:56
  • What you are saying makes sense, so I tried a test where I made a new email, embedded a new spreadsheet in it (all from the same PC) and sent it to myself as a test, but no luck. While it is still unsent, the object behaves as a spreadsheet in my email. I can click on it, edit cells, etc. As soon as I send it, it becomes a GIF, both in the sent and received copies.
    – bensky101
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:13
  • Ah, that is because of the HTML vs RTF format. See Joe Sewell's answer.
    – LPChip
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 8:53

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