FIX: Compile error in hidden module in Word and Excel

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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Office 2016 app updates

Compile error in hidden module is an error message that might pop up for some MS Word and Excel users.

The error message is generally triggered when Office users open Word or Excel. Consequently, neither application launches.

Does the Compile error in hidden module error message pop up when you open Excel or Word? If so, these are a few resolutions that might fix it.

How do I fix compile errors in Word/ Excel?

  1. Update Adobe Acrobat
  2. Run Stellar Repair for Excel
  3. Move Pdfmaker Files to Another Folder
  4. Reregister OCX Files With the Command Prompt
  5. Update the Norton Antivirus Software
  6. Uninstall Norton Software

1. Update Adobe Acrobat

The Compile error in hidden module error can be due to two Adobe Acrobat template files in MS Office folders. As such, updating Adobe Acrobat is one potential resolution for the issue.

It’s also of utmost importance to run a software that comes from a trusted source, which is why we strongly recommend you only install the Acrobat from its official website.

As a powerful editing suite that is closely connected to Microsoft Office file formats, the Acrobat delivers an all-digital document experience.

In fact, there is no need to start over if you happen to run into an error, you can quickly export PDFs into other Microsoft 365 such as Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Simplified workflows across any platform from desktop, to mobile and web
  • Convert a PDF to Microsoft 365 formats
  • Enhanced collaboration tools to share, review, and sign documents across devices
  • Edit data in scanned tables and convert forms to fillable forms
  • Powerful editing toolkit (merge, convert, delete, rotate, crop and more)

To manually check for Adobe updates, click Help on Acrobat’s window.

Select Check for Updates to open the updater window. Then you can press a Download and Install button if there are updates for it.

Adobe Acrobat

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Download Adobe Acrobat for Windows here


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2. Run Stellar Repair for Excel

No error is a match for this powerful tool and the compile error in hidden module makes no exception. Stellar Repair is the ultimate repair software for Excel protecting your workbook data from corruption and permanent loss.

Stellar Repair for Excel fixes severely corrupt .XLS/.XLSX files, with the highest degree of precision and restores all data to its original state while preserving all properties and formatting.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Repair corrupt Excel files and restore original formatting, layout, and specifications
  • Uncluttered, intuitive UI with an integrated step-by-step wizard and repair recommendations
  • Easy Find and Search options to quickly track down your files and folders
  • Real-Time Pre-recovery Preview feature
  • Fully compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and, XP
  • Supports Microsoft Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and 2000 versions
  • Powerfully data recovery toolkit (including tables, charts, cell comments, formulas, and filters)
Stellar Repair for Excel

Stellar Repair for Excel

Repair and restore Excel files with granular accuracy and 100% formulas, filters, and specifications integrity!
Free trial Visit website

3. Move Pdfmaker Files to Another Folder

Pdfmaker.xla and Pdfmaker.dot are the two Adobe Acrobat files linked with the Compile error in hidden module issue. As such, moving those files out of their MS Office folders might also fix the error.

This is how you can move those files to an alternative folder in Windows 10.

  • Press the Type here to search button to open Cortana’s search box.
  • Enter Pdfmaker.xla in the search box to search for that file.
  • To search for Pdfmaker.dot, enter that file title in the search box.
  • Then right-click the files and select Open file location to open their folders in File Explorer.
  • If you can’t find those files with the search tool, open the MS Office Startup and Xlstart folders in File Explorer. The Startup folder includes Pdfmaker.dot, and the Xlstart directory includes Pdfmaker.xla.
  • To move the Pdfmaker files to the desktop, right-click them in File Explorer and select the Cut option.
  • Right-click another folder (or Windows desktop) to move them to and select Paste.

4. Reregister OCX Files With the Command Prompt

The Compile error in hidden module error can also be the side effect of Windows updates. As such, registering a mscomctl.ocx file might also fix the issue. This is how you can reregister that OCX file in the Command Prompt.

  • Press the Windows key + X hotkey.
  • Select Command Prompt (Admin) to open the Prompt as administrator.
  • For a 32-bit Windows platform, input the following commands in the Prompt:

regsvr32 -u c:windowssystem32mscomctl.ocx
regsvr32 c:windowssystem32mscomctl.ocx

  • On 64-bit Windows platforms, input these commands:

regsvr32 -u c:windowssyswow64mscomctl.ocx
regsvr32 c:windowssyswow64mscomctl.ocx


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5. Update the Norton Antivirus Software

Norton Antivirus is also linked with the Compile error in hidden module error. If Norton AV is on your desktop or laptop, updating that software might fix the issue.

You can check for updates by pressing the Update Me Now button on this webpage. Alternatively, right-click the Norton Antivirus system tray icon and select Norton LiveUpdate.

6. Uninstall Norton Software

  • If updating Norton Antivirus doesn’t fix the hidden module error, consider uninstalling your Norton software. To do that, press the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
  • Enter ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run, and click the OK button.

  • Select the listed Norton Antivirus software, and press its Uninstall button.
  • Then click Yes to remove the software.

One of these resolutions for the Compile error in hidden module error might kick-start Word or Excel so that you can launch them again.

Some of the more general tips in this post for fixing MS Office applications that don’t open might also come in handy for fixing the hidden module issue.

Let us know which one worked for you in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in August 2018 and was revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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