Open Excel in Multiple Windows

by Brett on January 29, 2009

In my previous post I mentioned that there was a way to create a bat file to force Excel to open each file in a new window. Opening Excel in multiple windows makes it easier to use Excel across multiple monitors and gives back the standard alt+tab to flip between Excel Spreadsheets. The problem with my previous solution was that the Excel files loose their icons. Unfortunately because the solution uses a bat file the icon cannot be changed. So I took the previous solution and enhanced it a little bit.

OpenOffice Icon

OpenOffice Icon

This solution uses the same principle but installs a program instead of using a bat file. This program has an icon so all the associated Excel files will also use that icon. I was originally hoping to use the Microsoft Icon for this program but after looking at their Terms of Use a decided to use the Open Office Icon.

Without further ado the directions to get Excel running on multiple monitors is below:

1. Download the following file and run the installer.

DOWNLOAD: Open Excel in Multiple Windows (5821 Downloads)
If you cannot install this application because you need admin privileges you can download the following file. Then follow the directions below and make sure you browse to the location of where you stored this download (in the 2nd step).
DOWNLOAD: Standalone - Open Excel in Multiple Windows (2178 Downloads)

2. Update the file association for each Excel File.

Right click the excel file and select “Open With…” and then in the window that opens click “Browse…”

Open With

Then select the program that you just installed. By default it will be installed at C:\Program Files\Brett Batie\Excel on Multiple Monitors\runExcel.exe. Make sure that “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” is checked in the “Open With” dialog.

Now anytime you open an Excel file it will open a new copy of Excel.

changelog:

1.1 - Fixed a problem where filenames with spaces would not open.

  • Jason

    Nice work! I was a little dismayed at using a cmd/bat icon as previous posters, but your little app handles things nicely. The strange thing is Excel opens *faster* when clicking on the file now than previously. Makes me think the normal execution method is doing something extra & unnecessary.

    p.s. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 & Office 2007.

  • Kyle

    Was looking for something like this since it doesn’t seem to be as easy in Vista. Is it possible for me to get a version of this EXE with the Microsoft Excel Icon though? If so, send to throwaway312@gmail.com — Thanks!

  • R. Gase

    This is awesome and super helpful. Thanks!

  • Daniel

    Hi Brett,

    hell of a job… as long as I use the tool on my machine at home. Unfortunately my office computer doesn’t allow for software to be installed without admin privileges.

    Any ideas on how to implement your new solution anyway? I tried the old one and the .xls’s lost their icons as described…

  • Hey Brett, Thanks so much for posting this. I always felt like having 2 monitors was a waste when I used excel, but now I feel I can properly get my moneys worth!

    Thanks again!

  • Kirsty

    Wow – Thanks so much – this also worked on Win XP and Excel 2007. What can I say except that this has fixed what seemed like the biggest oversight. Excel really is the app that most benefits from dual monitors – and now I can use it that way.

  • Alex

    Thank you, very good work, funny that Microsoft didn’t think of this.
    This is the best tool out for excel users, I’ll be sure to pass it along as I go.

  • Britt

    Or you can edit the registry on Vista and Windows 7 and it does the exact same thing as changing the file association through XP. This will not cause any Icon problems or anything.

    Delete the following lines in the registry:
    HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\ddeexec
    HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\ddeexec
    and change the below like shown:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”

  • Leon

    I’ll vouch for Britt’s suggestion.

    I’ve just tried it using Windows 7 RC1 (7100) and Excel 2003 and it works.

    If MS hadn’t modified the way we change Folder Options in Win7, we could just follow the typical instructions from:

    http://blog.drewery.net/2006/08/29/utilising-dual-monitors-with-microsoft-excel-2003/

  • Britt’s suggestion works for me.

    The software solution did not work for me under Vista 64b.

    The MSI file created a new Reg Entry under KEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command
    of the following type
    command=KEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command

    command
    REG_MULTI_SZ
    w_1^V8!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>(jumbled chars) /e

    Which did not work

  • James Cole

    On Windows 7 64bit with Excel 2007 SP2.

    WHAT DOES NOT WORK:
    1. Tried the registry setting, but I receive the error: “The parameter is incorrect.” and Excel won’t even open.
    Delete the following lines in the registry:
    HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\ddeexec
    HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\ddeexec
    and change the below like shown:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”

    2. Tried the “Ignore other applications that use DDE” option, and would receive “There was a problem sending the command to the program”

    This program was the only solution that did work. Wish there was more of a fix than a workaround.

    This will get me where I need to be for now. Thanks Brett!

  • James Cole

    Well I downloaded Office 2010 Beta 2. Same problem! Tried the Tried the “Ignore other applications that use DDE” option again, and still receive “There was a problem sending the command to the program”.

    Luckily this program you made still works with Excel 2010. Thanks.

  • Lori

    Thanks, this was a great help. Easy to use on my work computer, that I don’t have admin rights to :)

  • James

    You, Sir, are a legend :-)

    Your software works perfectly on my setup (W7 64-bit, Office 2K7).

    Many, many thanks!

  • How long have I been wanting to be able to just double click and have a CSV and or a XLS open in a new window and not interfere with any other excel sheet open at the the time

    Thanks
    Adam

  • Laszlo Lieszkovszky

    Fantastic! Works like a charm. Thank you!

  • Hi there! Great program, love it. However, in Windows 7 64-bit, it needs to be run with administrative privileges, otherwise it crashes with “This program stopped working…”.

    So, after install you have to:
    find the exe (C:\Program Files (x86)\Brett Batie\Excel on Multiple Monitors\runExcel.exe)
    right-click, select “Troubleshoot Compatibility”
    click “Troubleshoot program”
    check “The program requires additional permissions” and folllow the prompts to save the settings.

    Perhaps an update would be good. Also, it cannot automatically find the path to excel.

  • Thanks a mil dude!!! I will let everyone know about this great piece of little software.

    you know… you could make a fortune from this….

  • vom

    I must say it is for nothig, because now the clipboard is not working correctly.
    Now I have problem how to returt back and I do not know way.

    Plese help.

  • Bob A

    The reply from May 19th, 2009 titled Britt Says, worked for me… after fixing the double-quotes. You need to use the keyboard double-quote (“) instead of the slanted double-quotes, shown in the original response. I corrected the double quote below:

    Britt Says:

    May 19th, 2009 at 11:15 am
    Or you can edit the registry on Vista and Windows 7 and it does the exact same thing as changing the file association through XP. This will not cause any Icon problems or anything.

    Delete the following lines in the registry:
    HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\ddeexec
    HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\ddeexec
    and change the below like shown:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”

  • Mark Levenstein

    You are a genius! You have no idea how much this helps me. Thank you for your efforts and may you be blessed with everything good!

  • Matt

    THANKYOU!! All the other methods such as edit the folder options wouldnt work but your solution works great!

  • Francis

    Man, i really have to say: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

    I didn’t want it to use in dual screen actually, but because the “undo” option of excel 2010 is really not like i wanted…

    ex: if i had 2 or more sheets open, and i change something on sheet 1, then go to sheet 2, change something else, and go back to sheet 1 and press “undo”, excel 2010 was undoing the last change overall (in this case, the change in sheet 2, and not in sheet 1, were i was editing)….

    Your solution solved this case that was an enormous annoyance to users that works with lots of sheets at many time.

    Thank you very much again!

  • Skip

    Hmm.. it crashes on my Win 7 x64 computer. It worked great on my last computer (Win 7 x32). Any reason this can’t be made to work on x64 machines?

  • Skip

    I just now saw @Laszlo’s response a few posts above mine. That workaround is close, but it throws a UAC each time I run it. At least the program does correct the problem. Any workarounds to prevent the UAC from popping up?

  • Skip

    Hmmm… this is a brand new computer with a fresh MS Office installation. I just downloaded it again and installed it to the default location (C:\Program Files (x86)\Brett Batie\Excel on Multiple Monitors). If I run it by double-clicking it, I get a “runExcel.exe has stopped working” error and an option to check online (yeah yeah yeah, never works) or to close the program. If I right-click on it and choose run as administrator, it will run, but of course it throws a UAC. Are there any command line options to log any information?

    By the way, I have used this program for about two years with my last computer, and I can’t imagine life without it. I can’t believe MS is so ignorant to this issue. Great job, Brett!

  • Skip

    I fixed it. I had to adjust the folder security permissions to specifically allow myself full access. Strange.

  • Trent

    Thanks for posting this Brett! This is perfect!

  • MCM

    I just installed this and can not get it to work. As soon as I open it or any associated file it says “runExcel.exe has stopped working. Windows is trying to find the problem.” On Win 7-64 with Excel 2003. Sure I must be missing something simple.

  • Alex

    This solution have worked for me in the past, but after countless of updates from microsoft it does not work anymore. I can open multiple instances but as some othere here nothing opens inside them when I open a file. I have to drag a file into the instance that opens.
    Very sad since it worked before :S Any advice?

  • keith

    i downloaded the program , but in step 2 to choose another program, there is no C:\Program Files\Brett Batie\Excel :( please help

  • @Keith, did you install the program after downloading it? It’s also possible the program is in c:\program files (x86)\Brett Batie\Excel on Multiple Monitors\

    If that doesn’t work you might try downloading the “standalone” version and unzipping it. Then on step 2, point the location to where you unzipped the files.

    I hope that helps!

  • Jeremy J. Peper

    Microsoft now provides a “Fix it for me” for this issue:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2636670

  • Ainee Ali

    I want to run windows movie maker on N-Computing 32 bit optiplex system.In current scenario the software runs on the main terminal only as it has a CPU while i am not able to run a copy of it on the rest of the terminals any solution???

  • Ainee Ali

    need a solution please

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