Disabling Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) with group policy

Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is an older Microsoft technology. If you’re an administrator at your company, and you don’t want any users in your organization to use or launch DDE servers, you can disable the Allow Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) server lookup in Excel Group Policy setting. To do this, download the latest Office 2016 Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML).  The setting is found under:

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Excel 2016\Excel Options\Security\Trust Center\External Content  

If you change DDE settings using a group policy setting, the User Settings in the Trust Center will be greyed out and users won't be able to change them. If you don’t configure this policy setting, and use the default Excel settings, users will be able to access DDE servers that are already running, but will not be able to launch any new DDE servers.

There are two Group Policy Settings that relate to DDE as outlined below:

  • Don’t allow Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) server lookup This policy setting allows you to control whether Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) server lookup is allowed. If you don't use group policy settings, users can turn on DDE server lookup by going to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > External Content.  If you enable this policy setting, DDE server lookup isn’t allowed, and users can’t turn on DDE server lookup in the Trust Center. 

  • Don’t allow Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) server launch This policy setting allows you to control whether Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) server launch is allowed. By default, DDE server launch is turned off, but users can turn on DDE server launch by going to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > External Content. For security reasons, turning on DDE server launch is not recommended. If you enable this policy setting, DDE server launch isn’t allowed, and users can’t turn on DDE server launch in the Trust Center. If you disable or don’t configure this policy setting, DDE server launch is turned off, but users can turn on DDE server launch in the Trust Center.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

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