How to Open a Second Instance of MS Excel in a New Window

Opening a second instance of Microsoft Excel in a new window is as simple as opening the Excel application from the start menu or taskbar while holding down the ALT key. This quick action allows you to work on multiple spreadsheets side by side, compare data, or multitask without flipping back and forth between tabs.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Open a Second Instance of MS Excel

Opening a second instance of MS Excel can increase your productivity by allowing you to work on multiple Excel files simultaneously. Follow these steps to accomplish the task.

Step 1: Locate the Excel Application

Find the Excel application icon on your desktop, start menu, or taskbar.

Locating the Excel application is the first step. You can find the Excel icon on your desktop, start menu, or pinned to your taskbar. If you cannot find it, you can search for “Excel” in the start menu search bar.

Step 2: Hold Down the ALT Key

Press and hold down the ALT key on your keyboard.

While holding down the ALT key, you are signaling to the computer that you want to open a new instance, rather than just a new file in the existing instance.

Step 3: Double-click the Excel Application

While still holding the ALT key, double-click the Excel application icon.

When you double-click the Excel icon while holding the ALT key, a dialog box may appear asking if you want to start a new instance of Excel. Click ‘Yes’ to confirm.

Step 4: Release the ALT Key

Once the new instance of Excel has opened, you can release the ALT key.

Releasing the ALT key will not affect the new instance of Excel you have opened. You can now start working on a different spreadsheet in this new window.

After completing these steps, you will have two instances of Excel running independently. You can open different files in each instance, which allows you to view and edit them side by side, which is particularly useful for tasks such as data comparison.

Tips on How to Open a Second Instance of MS Excel

  • Make sure you’re using a version of Excel that supports multiple instances (Excel 2010 or later).
  • If the ALT key method does not work, try opening Excel from the start menu or searching for the Excel application file (EXCEL.EXE) and double-clicking it.
  • You can use the Windows task view (Windows Key + Tab) to manage and switch between Excel instances.
  • If you frequently need to open multiple instances, consider pinning the Excel app to your taskbar for easy access.
  • Remember that each instance of Excel will use its own system resources, so monitor your computer’s performance if you open several instances.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have opened a second instance of Excel?

You can check by looking at your taskbar; each open instance will have its own Excel icon displayed.

Can I open more than two instances of Excel?

Yes, you can open as many instances as your computer’s resources will allow.

Will this method work on a Mac?

No, this method is specific to Windows. Mac users can open a new instance by searching for Excel in the Finder and then Command-clicking on its icon.

Can I use this method with other Microsoft Office applications?

Yes, this method can be used to open new instances of other Office applications like Word and PowerPoint.

What should I do if Excel fails to open a second instance?

Make sure you are pressing and holding the ALT key before you double-click. If it still doesn’t work, try restarting your computer or repairing your Office installation.


  1. Locate the Excel application.
  2. Hold down the ALT key.
  3. Double-click the Excel application.
  4. Release the ALT key.


Opening a second instance of MS Excel can seem tricky, but with these simple steps, it becomes a breeze. Whether you’re a data analyst, an accountant, or just someone who loves to be organized, having multiple Excel windows open can significantly enhance your workflow. Imagine the ease of cross-referencing figures or having a source data sheet open while you work on another. It’s all about working smarter, not harder, right?

The best part is that you don’t need to be a tech wizard to pull this off. As we’ve seen, it’s as simple as holding down the ALT key and clicking on the Excel icon. The tips outlined above, like ensuring you have the right version of Excel and using the task view to manage your windows, will make the process even smoother.

Don’t be afraid to try opening a second instance of MS Excel. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed with flipping back and forth between tabs in a single window. So, go ahead, give it a try and watch your productivity soar!

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