Is Dynamics CRMs ‘Export to Excel’ Opening a Blank File?

A few weeks ago, we began to notice an increasing number of issues exporting data to Excel on a variety of Dynamics CRM platforms, ranging from Dynamics 2011 to 2015. One of our clients was attempting to export their data to Excel, like they have done countless times, but now any exported Excel files were completely blank. The Excel file wasn’t displaying any data or worksheets, and the ribbon was disabled.
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Here is one such scenario we encountered:

  1. Dynamics CRM 2015 On-Premises, version
  2. Windows 10 with Office365 (fully updated)
  3. Our client exports the same view on a weekly basis

Naturally, everyone’s first instinct would be to assume that their Dynamics CRM had changed in some way. However, in this scenario, our client’s Dynamics CRM was managed in a hosted environment, which allowed us to review the logs to see if anything had changed on their environment. After reviewing the logs, we were able to determine that nothing had changed had occurred, so we began looking at what else could be causing this issue.
Initially, we were under the impression that only one person in our client’s office was experiencing this issue. Upon further investigation, we discovered that several Dynamics users, but not all, were experiencing this issue. This led us to look at each user’s computer to try and determine what the cause could be.
At this point, all we knew was exporting to Excel was displaying a blank document and that no changes had been made to their Dynamics CRM. It turns out that an Office365 update had recently been deployed on the effected computers which was causing an issue with Excel. While investigating the issue we noticed that the exported Excel file actually contained data, just not on the effected computers. The client was able to send the exported file to me, and I could open the file without issue (I hadn’t updated my version of Office365 yet). This led us to believe that the recent Office update was the cause of this issue.
After a fair amount of troubleshooting, we were able to find a way around the issue entirely. Turns out this issue was being caused by a security feature in Excel. We disabled the Protected View in Excel which then allowed my client to open the Excel files without issue. To deactivate the Protected View feature of Excel, follow the steps below.
How to Deactivated Protected View:

1. Open Excel
2. Click File > Options
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3. Click on Trust Center > Trust Center Settings
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4. Click Protected View, uncheck the three options, Click OK
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This should allow you to open the Excel files you previously exported from Dynamics. If you get Prompted with the following warning, click Yes.
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I would not recommend keeping Protected View disabled as a long term solution for this issue. Protected View is designed to keep your computer safe from viruses, worms, and other kinds of malware. While you have Protected View disabled, make sure to only download files from sites you trust!

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