"Cannot start the source application for this object" when opening an embedded PDF in an Excel file

Issue
When opening an embedded PDF from an Excel file, the following error displays:
"Cannot start the source application for this object".

Cause
The embedded PDF may have been added when a different version of Adobe Acrobat was being used (for example, on a terminal server) which has different file type associations for the PDF viewer to the version installed on your computer.

When adding an embedded PDF to a new spreadsheet, the formula bar in Excel may show the following:
="EMBED("Acrobat Document","")

But in the spreadsheet that is showing the error, the formula bar in Excel shows something different, such as the following:
="EMBED("AcroExch.Document.DC","")

This indicates that the file type associations are different and the source application cannot be started.

Solution
Contact your IT department so they can change the file type association for the PDF viewer. Refer to the following Adobe help article Setting the Default PDF Viewer.

 

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