How do I open all excel files in the same instance/window by default (happens only when I open from the menu, but not from the windows explorer)?

I have this option unchecked, but is still not working: "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)."

Thank you :)

  • 2
    By default this is what happens. You need to create another instance of the application to open separately. Do you have a screenshot? I don't know of a reason for it to act differently, at least not in excel. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 11:09
  • Are you sure you have the right Excel version number? I believe they changed the default behavior in 2013 - from 2010 and earlier, everything opened in one window by default.
    – Iszi
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 18:39
  • For the exact opposite problem, see superuser.com/questions/21602/open-excel-files-in-new-window
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:38

3 Answers 3


Found my own answer based on forum mrexcel.

Using program FilesTypeMan; On line excel.exe: Remove "%1" from the end of the Command Line and add [open("%1")] in the DDE message.


This functionality does not exist in Excel 2013.

In Excel 2010:

Try the following steps: File > Options > Advanced then under the Display heading, uncheck "Show all windows in the Taskbar" and click OK.

I had to close all open workbooks and make the change before it started working for files opened from both the menu and Windows Explorer.


My Excel 2010 crashed and I suddenly started having the same problem. Here's what worked for me: Right click any .xls file in windows explorer. Hover over "Open With" then click "Choose Default Program". Choose any program that isn't excel. Then repeat and choose excel.

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