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This week we continue exploring new features in Excel 2013. This post is brought to you by Chad Rothschiller, a Program Manager in the Excel Team.
"How do I open my workbooks in separate windows?" This has been a common inquiry from many of our customers who want to look at their workbooks side by side, or spread them across more than one monitor.
Good news: starting with Excel 2013, each of your workbooks opens in its own window, similar to Word and PowerPoint today. That means that each workbook has its own ribbon and top-level window frame that you can move and resize independent from your other open workbooks. This functionality can improve multitasking, visibility, and analysis across workbooks.
In computing terminology, this is called Single Document Interface (SDI). Versions of Excel before the 2013 release used Multiple Document Interface (MDI), where all workbook windows were contained within a top-level "master" container window.
Here's an example of four new workbooks. Note that each one has its own window and ribbon:
Now that you have multiple windows, how should you arrange them? Well, there are plenty of options and below are some favorites:
Smart Snapping: Grab the top of the window, and drag it to the top, left, or right edge of your screen, then let go. The window automatically resize:
Windows Taskbar: If you hold down the Shift Key and then right click the Excel icon on the Windows Task Bar you will see options for arranging your open windows. The cool thing about these options is that if you have multiple monitors, Windows remembers each workbook's monitor and arranges workbooks displayed within the same monitor.
Excel Ribbon: Click on View the Arrange All to see more options for arranging your workbooks:
Note that you can still create new windows (or multiple windows) showing the same workbook. Similarly, the "View Side by Side" and "Synchronous Scrolling" features work just like they used to.
Thanks for learning more about this new feature in Excel 2013. I hope you all get wonderful benefits from being able to arrange workbooks on your screens! In a future post, we'll go into a couple more advanced topics such as "Merging Instances and Long Running Operations" and how they work with pre-existing add-ins. In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you're planning to use this new feature or anything else you'd like to see in future versions.
--Chad Rothschiller, Excel Program Manager
haven't seen you lately. glad to see your post.
In Office 2010, we can open two different instances by running excel from 'Run'.
Good to know that we can now open different instances easily.
That's all well and good, but can I reference a cell in another workbook that way? That is the benefit of having workbooks open in the same Excel instance currently and the disadvantage of having workbooks open in separate instances. I'm assuming that the answer is "Yes", because otherwise that would be a crippling issue with Excel 2013.
This is the absolute worst feature of Excel 2013 and the #1 reason (out of many) that I won't use it. There should at least be an option for those of us who prefer the SDI interface.
If you had multiple workbooks open in previous versions you could CTRL-Tab and flip through all of them. You can still do that in 2013 as long as you never click out of Excel into another program. I guess you could rearrange your windows with one of the above options but what a PITA.
Along with the horrible interface, giant buttons and worksheet tabs, slowness (especially compared to 2010), invisible window bug and frequent crashes, Excel 2013 is probably the worst Excel "upgrade" in history.
I tried the preview for two months ad the RTM version for about a week. Horrible. Excel 2010 is the best version of Excel ... fast & stable.
That should say, "... for those of us who prefer the MDI interface."
This is the feature I've missed in previous versions of Excel.
looks great; I missed this in 2010
when will 2013 be available?
I use excel 2013 for a short period of time now. In my opinion a dangerous feature of the new handling of different instances is the fact that the instances are not really truely independent. So when excel crashes which happens sometimes unfortunately (at least until now), excel forces to close all excel instances. With older versions, only the one which had the problem was closed.
In thic context, is there a possiblilty to open different excel instances so that they are truely independent ?
hey just wanted to jump in since he wasn't responding - the recent files or "Recent Workbooks" is still there... it's in a more intuitive place File > Open.... it's all listed on the right side.
Hi Gary - thanks for the feedback, and thaman04 for a quick response. Yes, recent files is still there, but in what we think is a more intuitive place. I'll get the rest of this feedback over to the folks who own this part of the Office user interface.
Hi there - I *think* what you are seeing is just 1 instance, but it is handling several different workbook windows. In that case, when 1 of the workbooks becomes unresponsive (sorry about that), all of them will, because it's just the single Excel.exe servicing them.
In order to truly get 2 different instances running, do this:
1. boot the first instance of Excel
2. hold down ALT + X, and boot another instance of Excel
>>In Windows 7, you could right-click on the Excel icon on the task bar, and choose "Excel 2013" from the pop up
>>Be sure you continue holding down those 2 keyboard keys (ALT and X) until you get a dialog
3. When you see the dialog asking "Do you want to start a new instance of Excel?", choose "Yes"
I will write more about these more advanced aspects of SDI in an upcoming post. Thanks!
Try checking here: www.microsoftstore.com/.../pbPage.Office365_Compare_Editions
Hi there, I'm sorry you're having a hard time with Excel 2013. CTRL + TAB works as long as you've got one of the Excel windows activated - - nothing is different there. If you don't have Excel activated (maybe you have Word or some other application active), of course CTRL + TAB isn't going to do anything with your Excel windows, but that's no different than in the past either.
Regarding the invisible window bug & crashes, you might try looking for an answer at the Microsoft Office Answers Forum for Excel, here: answers.microsoft.com/.../office/forum/excel
If nothing seems to match, can you please send us an email with the steps on how to reproduce each these issues? We would be happy to take a look and see if they can be fixed. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!
Incidentally, I worked a bunch on performance and stability for Excel 2010, glad you like it!
Thanks for the quick response.
Awesome, exactly what I was looking for. By pressing ALT+x when opening Excel, it even tells you that this would be a new instance.