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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:

  1. Open Registry Editor (Start > Search: regedit > Enter)
  2. Expand: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open
  3. In the Command node open the Default key.
  4. Change the value to:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE /e “%1”
  5. The only thing that is changing is the ending after the / it should have /dde but we want to replace it with /e “%1
  6. Rename the Command Key to CommandOld
  7. 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.

Extension Registry subKey
.xlsx Excel.sheet.12
.xls Excel.sheet.8
.csv Excel.CSV




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11 thoughts on “Open Excel 2010 in Separate Windows

  1. Reply Tob May 8, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Works great for me, thanks!

    Ps. Using Windows 7 and Office 2010

  2. Reply MarkN January 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks a lot… worked like a charm

  3. Reply Paul February 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I use .xlsm (macro enabled worksheet). The registry subkey location to modify is Excel.SheetMacroEnabled.12

  4. Reply jane March 28, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Confirm this works in Win 8 and 8.1 with Excel 2010

  5. Reply Judy May 9, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I did all the above steps, but it’s not working for me, so I tried to undo it, but it still doesn’t let me open
    Excel from my desktop icon. Any suggestions? If you could tell me how to get it back to the way it was before, i’d be grateful.

  6. Reply Judy May 9, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I used the separate windows advice & couldn’t open some of my excel spreadsheets, so i went back & tried to undo it, but some of them still don’t work, can you help me undo what I did?

  7. Reply ND September 12, 2014 at 7:50 am

    This works great, except for when you are opening Excel files attached in an e-mail. Then they still go to the same window. Is there another location in the registry that needs to be updated when opening Excel files via Outlook?

  8. Reply Ben May 27, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I was frustrated having to do this repeatedly on about 40 computers after office would update.

    here is a batch file I wrote to make it quicker!

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\ddeexec /f

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command /v command /f

    reg add HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command /ve /t REG_SZ /d “\”C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE\” /dde \”%%1\” ” /f

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\ddeexec /f

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command /v command /f

    reg add HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command /ve /t REG_SZ /d “\”C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE\” /dde \”%%1\” ” /f

  9. Reply Chris September 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve been trying to get this behavior to work for 64 bit Excel 2010 for a while. This did the trick! Thanks!

  10. Reply Kristen December 28, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Worked in Windows 10 with Excel 2010

  11. Reply Todd July 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

    This fix worked, thanks. However is there a way so I can run vlookups now from the 2 separate windows? It doesn’t allow me to do this…

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