Is there any way to open more than one instance of Microsoft Project on a Windows desktop computer? Clicking to launch a new instance while I already have one open or going to Start -> Run... -> winproj.exe simply gives the focus to the instance that is already open.

I'm running on a Windows XP 32-bit machine.

4 Answers 4


Short answer, there is no easy way to do it. Project is designed to only allow one instance running at a time. There are a couple of convoluted solutions out there dealing with running it as a separate user, which work with only limited success, if at all.

Here's a discussion that discusses a couple of possible workarounds. But basically your options are to run a second copy under a VM/terminal service or as another user id locally (which may or may not work).

You might also investigate alternative software that might offer that feature and be compatible (to varying degrees) with MS Project files.

  • Thank you, I was aware of opening two windows in project and spanning the application across two monitors. It's a bit clunky but it does work. I'm still interested in whether there is another solution to this. Jan 7, 2011 at 17:01
  • Just for future reference, this still applies to Office 2010.
    – PedroC88
    Apr 9, 2012 at 15:13
  • ... and also applies to Office 2016 :-/ May 2, 2020 at 10:00
  • Wow. This is really boiling my bunny today. I have two projects I'd like to be comparing, on two monitors. But no, I can't have them both open in separate instances. What is this, 1998???
    – Maxcelcat
    Aug 4, 2022 at 1:09

I found a solution on another forum that works on 2016 and 2010 :

Edward Medri · WORK AROUND (MS Project 2016)

1) Open one project file with MS Project (double click on the *.MPP file)

2) Open second project file with Internet Explorer (right click on the *.MPP file and Open With)

--- A Dialog Box Message will pop up with following text, "What do you want to do with filename.mpp?"

--- Select "Open".

--- Then the Internet Explorer window will have no content (blank page). It is OK.

--- Switch back to MS Project to view a new Dialog Box Message with the following text, "Project Cannot Open the File".

---Select "OK"


You now have two separate windows, with two different filenames projects that are each editable and savable.

Note: When you save with new filename, it will create and save BUT does not display/update in the browser.



  • 1
    Thank you, this is a great workaround! Works here on Windows 10 with Project 2016. May 1, 2020 at 6:58

The Microsoft User Voice Open multiple instances of Project for side-by-side comparison has this workaround by a user named Janell:

I figured out a workaround--doesn't give you another Project screen but allows you to show multiple projects next to each other within Project.

Open the projects you want to compare and first click on Project's main "full screen button" (looks like a little square or double square on the top right next to the close x) make it just a single square. This will allow you to change the screen size to anything you like (I pull mine to be as big as both of my monitors).

Then, right below the Project's main 'full screen' tab click the lighter gray double square tab on the individual project to make it a single square. Then drag the top title bar of the top project a little to the right or left to separate it from the other projects below.

You can then resize and drag the individual project screens within project to be next to one another. You'll need to make the other projects the same size and not overlap or if you click one, it will cover the smaller one and you have to start over. Hope that helps.

  • This workaround does not address the main issue why me and others (like the OP) want 2 instances: we want the ribbon showing twice, and want to be able to resize/maximize both instances separately . See OP's comment to BBlake's answer from 2011. May 2, 2020 at 10:08
  • @JonasHeidelberg: For future readers, this completes the list of what's possible to do.
    – harrymc
    May 2, 2020 at 10:17
  1. open the 2 needed files and one extra random file (the order should be: 1st needed, random, 2nd needed)
  2. arrange all, will give one half screen and two quarters
  3. Select the needed window & drag the edge to the screen edge
  4. The unneeded window will be left behind and the two needed half-screen windows are kept shown

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