Excel: Opening Two Instances Of Excel

MS Excel Tricks: Two Instances

Anyone that uses Excel regularly has most likely needed to compare two spreadsheets side by side. In older versions of Excel, there was an obvious setting, in Options, that would allow that to happen.

In the newer versions of Excel the setting still exists, but it is not very intuitive, nor obvious.

Here is how to do it: (See the Note below the image too, for a potential error you might see)

  1. Open Excel and click on the File menu option.
  2. Choose Options or Excel Options, depending on your version of Excel.
  3. Choose Advanced
  4. Scroll down until you see the General section
  5. Check the box labeled Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)
  6. Click the OK button

Now, whenever you open more than one instance of Excel, it will open it up in its own window, completely separate from the first instance!!

MS Excel Tricks: Two Instances


In some cases, you may notice that you are unable to open any more spreadsheets, when you double click on them, from within My Computer (File Explorer). If you open Excel from the Start Menu and then open your file from within Excel, it will open the files. When double clicking on a file, it sends a DDE request to the application. The above steps tell Excel to ignore those requests, which is why it opens with this error: MS Excel Tricks - Two Instances Error
Joe Austin

Joe Austin is the founder of Potentials Unleashed. He is currently an IT Professional Manager in the Financial Industry and has been using computers since 1978. While mostly self-taught, he is proficient in several computing areas, such as Programming , Web Development, most Microsoft Office programs, Internet Marketing, Spyware / Malware Removal and even 3D Animation & Modeling.

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