Friday, July 22, 2011

Opening Excel 2007/2010 in New Windows for Multi-Monitor Support

If you don't use multiple monitors, you might not be annoyed by this change in post-2003 versions of Excel.  However, if you like to open Excel spreadsheets in separate windows, say, for sending them to different monitors, you've probably beat your head against your Biltmore stick wondering why the new versions of Excel don't allow this.  By separate windows, I'm not talking about being able to minimize multiple worksheets and view them with the "View Side by Side" feature.  I'm talking about opening totally different instances of Excel.

Edit Dec 23, 2014: Recently I found another easy way to open multiple Excel windows in Office version 2010:  Simply shift-click on the Excel icon in the start menu or the task bar and another instance of Excel will open.  You can then navigate to a specific spreadsheet to open. You can't shift click on a spreadsheet file itself, so in some ways I find it easier to use the method below.

The good news is that there are ways to accomplish this.  By far the easiest method that I've found so far is to add an Excel.exe shortcut to the "Send To" option of the context menu (it's an option that shows when you right-click on a file).  To do this, follow these instructions:

1. Open My Documents or My Computer
2. In the address box, type: %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo
    Or you can navigate to something similar to:
3. Open another instance of My Documents and navigate to your MS Office folder to locate EXCEL.EXE.  
    For me, it was in this folder:  C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
4. Drag "EXCEL.EXE" into the SendTo folder.  This will create a shortcut to Excel in that folder
5. To open an Excel file in a separate window when there is already one open, right-click on the .xlsx or .xls file, hover over "Send To", and then select "Excel".

This unfortunately doesn't work for me if I'm opening a spreadsheet that's attached to an email since the "Send To" option isn't there, but it's really freed up my ability to manage my Excel windows over two monitors.

As a side note, I've also found a very useful free application that creates "Tabs" for quick switching and organizing of mutliple spreadsheets, Word documents, or PowerPoint presentations at the same time.  It's called OfficeTabs, found here (translated to English).

If you like this tip, click on the "+1" to show your support or leave a comment!


  1. I just noticed a problem when pasting from one instance of an Excel window into another when two totally separate windows are open:

    All text and numbers WILL paste OK, but formulas will paste as values. As far as I know, there's no work around for this. If you know of one, please let me know.

    1. copy and paste, even formulas, seems to work between different instances of Excel now. At least for version 2010.

  2. This works!! Thanks, you saved me hours!

  3. Glad to hear this was useful for you. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Best solution for this by far - no registry hacking and leaves the option to open Excel workbooks n the same instance if required. Nice!

  5. Thank you for the post. Worked like a charm on Windows 8 with MS Office 2010.

  6. Best solution I have found so far with no changes to the registry.

  7. Finally a solution that worked... .WTF can't Microsoft just create things like this for us instead of making it a freaking guessing game for months on end? Win7 and Win8 are so GUI backward intuitive compared to XP... Obviously NOBODY at MS uses their own products!

    Thanks for solution btw!

  8. Works great, thanks so much for posting!