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When I have Excel running and I double click an Excel file in Windows explorer, I'd like it to launch in a new window by default so that I can move documents to separate monitors. Is there any way to get this behavior?

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9 Answers 9

up vote 46 down vote accepted

I've had this problem too. Here's what I did:

In Excel 2003, go to Tools -> Options -> General tab.

Make sure the option, ‘Ignore other applications’ is checked.

In Excel 2007 & 2010, Click the Office button -> Excel Options -> Advanced.

Under General, check ‘Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange’.

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I don't know why this isn't built in. Source: http://www.lytebyte.com/2008/05/13/how-to-open-two-excel-files-side-by-side-in-separate-monitors/

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Wow! How unobvious is that? –  RBarryYoung Aug 16 '09 at 18:50
Why didn't they just call the option "jowfeio woif who82r wcjnmwvo 902r3hj2 w082f8"? it would have been more obvious! If I could +5 this answer, I would. Nay, I would +10 it. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! –  Michael Bray Mar 8 '12 at 17:14
I signed up for a super user account just to upvote this answer. Thank you! –  Neil Vass Nov 1 '12 at 13:51
Didn't work for me (Office 2010 & Win 7). When I check the option, I can't open any Excel files: There was a problem sending the command or something similar. –  Nolonar Apr 22 '13 at 16:14
This answer should not be used. See When I double-click an Excel spreadsheet, Excel opens but the document doesn't as for why. Also see this answer. –  GSerg Nov 6 '13 at 11:23

There are certain disadvantages to having all your workbooks opened in different windows. For one thing, if you write a formula in one workbook which references another, it will include the full file path of the other workbook. For another, copy/pasting from one workbook to another reduces the number of options available for the destination data, like keeping the column widths, etcetera. It's possible that for your purposes those things won't matter much, but basically if you experience any "weird" behavior when using multiple workbooks in multiple windows, you might try opening them in the same window to see if the weirdness goes away.

My preference is to leave the default behavior to open Excel workbooks in the same window, and when I want individual workbooks opened in different windows I right-click the file and select "Open in New Instance". In order to do that, I wrote this small utility. It's free. Feel free to install it.

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Cool! Thanks for the utility~ –  Leftium Oct 8 '10 at 21:46
You're welcome. :) –  Nick Oct 8 '10 at 22:00
I don't think your utility, as simple as it seems, would work if I'm opening Excel files from Outlook, right? Assuming the answer is "correct", then what would be REALLY nice is to have files that normally open in Excel actually open in a "hidden" application that can then either open the file in a new instance or somehow detect (eg SHIFT key held down?) that I want to open in an existing instance, and then if there's more than one instance, ask me which one. If you can do that, I'd buy it (for a fair price). –  Michael Bray Mar 27 '13 at 21:02
You are correct: the utility will not work directly from Outlook. Your suggestion is interesting. But implementing it would make my utility way more invasive and resource intensive than I ever intended it to be. –  Nick Mar 28 '13 at 2:57

Excel 2007: If you have access to edit your windows registry, here are a few registry files that add the option to open in a new instance (either by default or not) when you right-click on your files so you can use both functionalities.

There is a .reg file to 'uninstall' it as well. Tried and tested in excel 2007 (32-bits windows). I believe the technique is the same as in hyperslug's answer: DDE or not.

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Now that's much better! I just had to add "(x86)" to the paths in the registry file since I run on 64bit. –  David Schmitt Jan 25 '10 at 14:56

Since hyperslug's answer didn't work for me, I followed "Option B" from his link and now open a new (empty) Excel from the start menu and drag'n'drop the file I want to open into the new window.

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In Office 2013 they solved this issue. Each workbook is in its own window in Office 2013.

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Each book has its own window, but they all still belong to the same instance of Excel (which can be highly confusing when you have code that wants to work with multiple opened workbooks). –  GSerg Nov 6 '13 at 11:27

Here's another set of registry files I (which I created) to solve the same problem: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Excel/A_1007-Option-to-open-excel-2007-documents-in-a-new-instance.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+30+excel+instanc+new

Gives a right click menu to open excel files in a new instance, and optionally makes it the default behavior, but still leaves the option to open it in an existing instance if the workbooks need cutting and pasting with formatting between them.

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I use Excel 2010, and wanted to open a new instance for the purpose of being able to easily switch between spreadsheets. I use Alt+Tab which doesn't work with excel's default settings. If this is the main reason you wish to open a new instance for each spreadsheet, it can be resolved by;

  1. Open Excel
  2. Open the File Menu
  3. Click 'Options'
  4. Click 'Advanced'
  5. Scroll down to 'Display' Section
  6. Check the "Show all windows in the Taskbar" box

This makes it easier to switch between spreadsheets, but if you're looking to view two spreadsheets simultaneously (i.e. if you have multiple monitors) you will still have to open a new instance of excel and open the file from within that instance.

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This thread is old, but the problem is persistent! Hyperslugs solution didn't work for me, but I found a nifty launcher application that middle-mans the opening of excel documents and forces new instances. It can be found here http://blog.thomascsherman.com/2010/06/opening-excel-files-in-new-processes-excel-launcher-helper-app/ . I hope this helps someone with this annoying problem.

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finally one regedit instruction that works for my windows 7 and excel 2010

To launch multiple instances of Excel, we change it by not using DDE to open the file. Check the "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)" box in Excel -> Excel Options -> Advanced

If this does not work,for Windows Vista and Windows 7, we need to edit the registry to remove DDE completely. =============== Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs.

  1. Click Start, in the Search box, type regedit and press Enter.
  2. Locate the registry subkey: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.14\shell\Open
  3. Delete the ddeexec subkey.
  4. Click on the command subkey, and then double-click the Default value from the right pane. Replace the value data with: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE14\EXCEL.EXE" "%1" Double-click the Command string value, replace its data with: (f'^Vn-}f(ZXfeAR6.jiEXCELFiles>!De@]Vz(r=f1lfq?R& "%1"

Thank you to sally tang , on this forum https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/ee76d08d-3306-406d-894c-16fd3cb824d9/each-workbook-in-separate-windows-excel-2010-windows-7?forum=excel

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