Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Office 2007, Windows Server 2008 x64.

How can I make Excel so that when I double-click a document, it opens in a new Excel instance, so that I can easily view them side-by-side as separate windows and not using the View-Arrange All functionality? Now I have to go to the task bar, click on one document to see it and then click on the other document in the task bar to switch to that one. As the alternative, I close one document, open a new Excel window, then drag the document in there.

Thank you.

share|improve this question
5 years later: By default, Excel 2013 opens each workbook in its own window. More Info –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 23 '14 at 15:42
Hey, whaddayaknow! Better late than never! –  Eugene Jul 23 '14 at 16:37
possible duplicate of Move open Excel document to separate window –  Tobias Kienzler Oct 15 '14 at 9:10

6 Answers 6

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is a very nice walk-through of modifying the registry here. It will be slightly different under Server 2008 but similar enough to hopefully make sense:


share|improve this answer
So far this is the closest answer to this question. Thank you. –  Eugene Dec 29 '12 at 1:47
The link has gone stale. –  Okuma.Scott Feb 6 at 14:54
  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Excel Options.
  2. Click Advanced, and then click to check the "Ignore other applications" check box in the General area.
  3. Click OK
share|improve this answer
Nope, worked only for the 2nd document. The third and all other documents opened in the second document's window. Thanks though :) –  Eugene Dec 16 '09 at 19:14

Go to My Computer > Tools > Folder Options > File Types > and Choose XLSX (XLSX for 2007 or XLS for 2003)

Click Advanced button

Uncheck "browse in same window" in advanced window.

Then highlight Open and click Edit

Make a note of these settings so you can revert back if needed

Make sure in the Action box it says &Open

Check the box next to use DDE

Remove anything that is in DDE Message box and DDE Application Not Running box.

share|improve this answer
How can I do this on Windows Server 2008? It no longer has the File Types dialog and the other one in Control Panel does not have these options. –  Eugene Dec 16 '09 at 22:37
you have to edit the registry. progress as promised. –  bugtussle Dec 17 '09 at 17:51
Kije has the correct answer. You can span excel across two monitors, I do it all the time. Depending on the os, you may not be able to use the max\restore button on the top right of the window. –  bugtussle Dec 17 '09 at 17:57
Kije's answer is not correct. I specifically state "open in the new Excel instance" while Kije offers to use one Excel instance. Memory usage is not of a concern to me. Spanning across two monitors is a pain. –  Eugene Dec 17 '09 at 19:47

There was a working solution for Windows XP here, using a registry fix. But it says that it only works in 32-bit OS. I am curious though, if you go in Start...Run and type "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE" "C:\Stuff\sheet.xlsx" does it open in the same window or a new one?

Because that was what this 32-bit hack was, the default open command used DDE open(%1) to provide the filename, which always used any existing window, while this direct %1 argument method without DDE opened a new window.

Just my 2 cents. Might very well not work.

share|improve this answer

I found a simple way, having had the same issue: Just go to Control Panel -> Folder Options, and switch from "Open Every Folder in the Same Window" to "Open Every Folder in a New Window" (or similar, I'm translating from German Windows 7 settings here)

share|improve this answer

Perhaps you already know this, but you can have multiple windows open with one Excel Instance. Use the Window/New Window pull down, and then arrange them anyway you like.

Multiple instances of Excel strikes me as expensive on memory.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
The problem is these are child windows, not top-level windows that could (for example) be moved to a second monitor. –  Chris W. Rea Dec 16 '09 at 21:17
I agree with BasicallyMoney.com -- this is not what I need. Thanks, though. –  Eugene Dec 16 '09 at 22:38
-1 complete opposite of OP question –  Chris Marisic Sep 21 '12 at 12:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.