So you’ve got Excel 2010 and you need to view 2 spreadsheets side-by-side. However, when you navigate to those files in Windows Explorer and open them they open in the same window. Sure Microsoft has a fix for this, but it’s tedious. Microsoft suggests that after you open your first file, you right click on Excel and open a new instance. From there you go to File > Open and select your file. But who wants to take all those extra steps? Technology is supposed to be easy right? Until Microsoft wakes up and creates an easy way to toggle this feature here is a simple registry hack that can get you rolling.
NOTE: This is not supported by Microsoft and you are editing your registry at your own risk.
Being in the IT field I have done this for several clients. However it has only been tested with Windows 7 and Office 2010. To be honest I am not sure if it was 32-bit or 64-bit but it should result in the same outcome.
Microsoft has a tutorial here that might be useful for those that need more explanation. MS also has a “Fix it” wizard that is supposed to do this for you. I will admit I have tried MS fix-it tools before and usually it doesn’t solve anything. I always prefer the manual method.
Make sure to backup the keys before editing them to err on the side of caution. But here is the quick and dirty:
- Open Registry Editor (Start > Search: regedit > Enter)
- Expand: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open
- In the Command node open the Default key.
- Change the value to:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1″
- The only thing that is changing is the ending after the / it should have /dde but we want to replace it with /e “%1“
- Rename the Command Key to CommandOld
- Rename the ddeexec Node to ddeexecOld
That’s it! now all .xlsx files will open in a new window. Keep note that all excel file extensions have different registry values. So you will need to repeat this process for other file types. The standard are .xlsx, .xls, and .csv.