How to open Excel files in separate windows

Once we covered how to view Excel workbooks side by side. But there is another, presumably non-standard, task that appears to be very popular - to open your Excel 2016 or 2013 spreadsheets in different windows. I've read all the complaints and solutions on the Office forums, and this post will try to provide the summary of the easiest ways to go, which don't require messing with the registry.

3 solutions that actually work

Solution number one - Excel icon on the taskbar

Open your first table, then use one of the following four ways to open a new instance:

  • Right-click Excel icon on the taskbar and pick "Microsoft Excel 2010" (or 2007):

    Open a new window with Excel using the taskbar icon

    Then navigate to File -> Open and browse for your second table.

  • Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and click the program icon on the taskbar. Then open your second table from the new instance.
  • If your mouse has a wheel - click on the Excel taskbar icon with the wheel.
  • If you have Windows 7 or an earlier version, you can also go to Start menu -> All Programs -> Microsoft Office -> Excel, or simply enter Excel in the search line and click on the program icon. This will always open a new instance of the program.

    Start a new Excel instance from the Start menu

Number two - Excel shortcut

  • Open the folder where your Office is installed. The default path for Excel 2010 is C:/Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office 14. If you have Excel 2007, the name of the last folder is Office 12.
  • Find the Excel.exe application and right-click on it
  • Choose the option to Create shortcut and send it to your desktop.

    Create a shortcut to Excel

Whenever you need to open a new instance of Excel - double-click this desktop shortcut.

Number three - Excel option in the Send To menu

If you often have to open two Excel windows simultaneously, see this advanced shortcut solution suggested on the forum. It is actually easier than it may seem, just try it:

  • Follow the steps above for creating Excel shortcut;
  • Open this folder on your computer: C:/Users/UserName/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Windows/SendTo
    Note. AppData folder is hidden. To make it visible, go to Folder options in Control Panel, switch to View tab and select to "Show hidden files, folders, or drives".
  • Paste the shortcut into the SendTo folder.

    Add Excel as an option in the Send To menu

Now you can avoid opening your second file from within Excel. You can right-click the file you want in a new instance, and choose to Send To -> Excel.

Other suggestions that may work for you

There are two other solutions that work for many people. One of them is selecting the "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)" option in Advanced Excel Options. The other one involves registry changes.

Looking at spreadsheets in two different windows makes many Excel tasks easier. Trying to view the files side by side eats a lot of space and it isn't always the best option. The advantages of two files comprise something more than just the ability to compare or view sheets next to each other. If you corrupt the data in one file, you won't have to re-open all other documents from separate instances.

You may also be interested in