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Whenever I "double click" on an Excel file and another Excel file is open, the newly opened file automatically opens in the same application window as the previously opened Excel file. This isn't limited to just Excel, as I've seen Word do this as well. This poses a problem when wanting to compare documents side by side.

The current solution I have for this is to actually open another Excel or Word instance, and then open the file from within that application window itself. Is there a way to force Office to open a new instance of the application when double clicking on the file icons?

I'm currently using Office 2007 and Windows XP but I've seen this on Office 2010 and Windows Vista and 7. I'm looking for an overall solution if possible.

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Office has at least with Word to compare to documents. What you are doing now is the way you "force" it to behave this way. –  Ramhound May 31 '12 at 16:17
dottech.org/26491/… This link has clear instructions with pictures to show you how to change the settings in Excel to force it to open each file in a different window. –  user277569 Nov 28 '13 at 1:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have Office 2010 and the only app that does this for me is Excel.

A posting on PC Review, How to open vista excel in multiple windows versus 1 window? explains how to set this up:

  1. Use the File Association Settings
  2. You have to tell Excel not to use DDE to open the worksheet.
  3. Open Windows Explorer, Tools, Options, File Types
  4. Scroll down to XLS
  5. Select Advance Button
  6. Click on OPEN in the Actions window, Then Edit
  7. On the 2nd line for application used add "%1".
  8. Make sure to put the quotes around %1.
  9. Example ...\Excel.exe" /e "%1"
  10. Write down what you see in the DDE Section.
  11. You will need this information if you want to return to the original settings.
  12. Now DeSelect Use DDE

When you double click on any XLS file a separate instance of excel will run.

Another advantage is that you can open more than one XLS file with the same name

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I found this on pcreview.co.uk –  Scott Felhofer May 31 '12 at 16:01
This works for XP and Office 2007. If this works on my Win 7 Office 2010 machine at home, I'll accept the answer. –  KronoS May 31 '12 at 17:25
The File Types tab looks to have been removed from the folder options in Win7. From what I've read this must be done through the registry. –  Scott Felhofer May 31 '12 at 18:55
This solution does not work for Windows-7. Do you have a way to solve this via the registry? –  KronoS Jun 18 '12 at 16:57

I have been using a small batch file to circumvent this problem with Excel and it works fine for me: every time I double click a document, it opens another instance of Excel.

  1. Using notepad create a batch file (e.g., "C:\Program Files\ExcelLauncher.bat") with following content:

    START "" "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE" %1
  2. Instead of "Office14" write the folder name where your Excel is installed (it depends on the version of the Office). It can be "Office12" ili "Office11" for older versions.

  3. Try double clicking the batch file. If it is configured works correctly, it should open Excel.
  4. Set up Excel documents to be opened with this batch file (right click any Excel document -> Open with -> Choose default program -> find and select "ExcelLauncher.bat").

Warning - this might change the desktop icon for Excel documents.

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No need for any of that for Windows 7!

If you go to the Taskbar and hover over an existing Excel icon (that then brings up a little preview of your open spreadsheet) and right click to bring up the Excel menu and then left click on the "Microsoft Excel 2010 option" it will open up another instance of Excel and you won't need any batch file or setting changes!

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This is an added step actually because I then have to manually open the file I want using the "open". I wouldn't be able to double click on an excel file and it automatically open a new instance, which is the issue I was running into. –  KronoS Mar 6 at 14:31

Solution tested on Windows 8 with Excel 2007

This is all linked to DDE which the application can be told to ignore

Open Excel, go to Excel Options Select Advanced tab on the left Scroll down to General Section near the bottom There is a check-box to allow Excel to ignore DDE

If you check this it will stop further opened spreadsheets from joining it.

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Another solution I found, using Total Commander:

Fo to File>Internal Associations (Total Commander Only)...

Click Add, specify the file extension you wish to open with Excel in separate windows with, such as .xlsx, .csv and .xls. Then, in the new window that pops up, paste in the Open box the path to the Excel executable, adding "%1" at the end. Mine looks like "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE" "%1".

That's it.

Note: Works with Excel 2010 and Windows 7 32 bit without the need of Admin rights.

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