Every since Excel 2007 when you open more than one spreadsheet, you won’t get a second window. Depending on you’re workflow this may be a feature or a bit of a bummer. If you’d like excel to go back to opening new spreadsheets in a new window and you don’t mind a bit of setup there is a way.There are two different methods, to do this with the latest version of Excel (2010). First the easier of the two:

Make a shortcut on your desktop that opens a new Excel window (even if Excel is already open)

  • Right click on the desktop
  • Mouse over ‘New’ and select ‘Shortcut’
  • Type or paste (with quotes): “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” /e
  • Press Next
  • Give your Shortcut a name like: New Excel Instance and press Finish

Every time you click on this it will open a new Excel window, however you’ll need to open spreadsheets through the file tab in each new excel window.

The second method relies on setting a little program I’ve written to “open” spreadsheets. The program actually just tells excel to open each spreadsheet in a new instance using a method similar to the one above. To use it:

  • First download Open Excel.exe
  • Make sure you save it somewhere you can find it later
  • Next right click on an Excel spreadsheet
  • From the General tab press the ‘Change’ button
  • Click the ‘Browse’ button
  • Find the Open Excel.exe program you downloaded earlier
  • Select it and press ‘Open’
  • Press ‘OK’ twice

Now when you open a spreadsheet there will be a slight delay but each spreadsheet will open in its own window.

Note: This program is offered free of charge and you may use or distribute it as you see fit, however the UUA is in no way responsible for any damage it may cause.

About the Author
James Curran


  1. Janine Larsen

    This is great, James! A question on the second solution (your little program): Do I only need to do this once, and then it will always work, even after I’ve closed Excel for the day? Or will I need to go through the “change” process every time I open Excel?

  2. James Curran

    You’ll only need to go through the change process once for each type of file you want excel to open. For most people this will mean they will need to repeat the process several times. The most common file types people open with excel are: .csv (Comma delimited list) .xls (Excel 97 – 2003 Workbook) and .xlsx (Modern Excel workbook). That said Excel is capable of opening a number of other file types as well and the number of times you’ll need to do this process will depend on how many of those you work with regularly.

  3. Mike G

    To extend the above idea further, I’ve found a way to make it so you can easily open a spreadsheet in it’s own window. First, create a shortcut as shown above using the “/e” option. Next, go to your SendTo folder (i.e. C:\Users\mylogin\SendTo) – and place copy of your new “/e” shortcut there. Now, whenever you right click a spreadsheet, select “Send to” and select your new Excel shortcut – and your spreadsheet will open in its own window.

  4. Gordon A.

    Thanks! This worked great and WAS one of my pet peeves about working in Excel!

  5. Mary

    Is there a way to do this with Word documents?

  6. Annette Marquis

    Thanks, James, this is helpful. That was a frustrating “enhancement!” I was happy to learn that you can open more than one Excel workbook in the latest version of Excel, Excel 2013 (or Office 365). So it’s coming back!

  7. Ruby

    THANKS! The shortcut trick was quick and easy and did what I needed it to do.

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