How to Open Excel Sheets in Separate Windows: A Step-by-Step Guide

Opening Excel sheets in separate windows allows for easier comparison and multitasking. To do this, first, open Excel and then open the first workbook you wish to view. For the second workbook, instead of opening it within the same instance of Excel, launch a new instance of Excel, then open the workbook there. This way, both workbooks will be in separate windows, enabling you to view them side by side or on different monitors.

After completing this action, you will have two or more Excel windows opened, each containing a different workbook. This allows you to work on multiple sheets simultaneously without switching back and forth between tabs within the same window.


When it comes to productivity, it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. One such thing is the ability to open Excel sheets in separate windows. This feature is a game-changer for anyone who works with large datasets or needs to compare information across multiple spreadsheets. It’s particularly relevant to accountants, data analysts, and anyone who relies heavily on Excel for their daily tasks.

But why is it so crucial? Well, imagine trying to compare two sets of data that are in different workbooks. If you have both sets open in the same window, you’re constantly flipping back and forth between tabs, trying to remember figures, and often losing your train of thought in the process. It’s inefficient and frustrating. Opening Excel sheets in separate windows eliminates this hassle and can greatly enhance your workflow. Plus, it’s not as complicated as you might think to set up. Whether you’re a seasoned Excel user or just getting started, this article will guide you through the process step by step. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: Opening Excel Sheets in Separate Windows

Before we begin, ensure you have the latest version of Excel installed on your computer. This will help you avoid any compatibility issues.

Step 1: Open the first Excel workbook

Open Excel and then open the first workbook you want to work with. This is your starting point.

Opening the first Excel workbook is straightforward. Simply click on the Excel icon, and once it’s open, find your document and open it as you usually would. If it’s a recent document, it might appear in the ‘Recent’ list, making it even quicker to access.

Step 2: Launch a new instance of Excel

For the second workbook, you want to open in a separate window, you’ll need to open a new instance of Excel.

To launch a new instance, go to the Start Menu or taskbar, find Excel, and click on it to open a new window completely separate from the first one. If you’re using Windows, you can also hold the ‘Shift’ key and click on the Excel icon to open a new instance.

Step 3: Open the second workbook in the new instance

In the new instance of Excel that you just opened, go to ‘File’ and then ‘Open’ to select the second workbook you want to view.

When you open the second workbook in the new instance of Excel, it’ll appear in its own separate window. You can now position the windows side by side, or if you have multiple monitors, drag one to the other screen for even more space to work.


MultitaskingOpening Excel sheets in separate windows allows for more efficient multitasking and data comparison.
Increased productivityIt reduces the time spent switching between tabs, thereby increasing productivity.
Better organizationHaving separate windows can lead to better organization of work, especially when dealing with multiple datasets.

Multitasking becomes a breeze when you can view multiple Excel sheets simultaneously. Instead of flipping between tabs, you can have all the information you need visible at once, making cross-referencing data or working on parallel tasks much easier.

Increased productivity is a natural outcome of better multitasking capabilities. When you’re not constantly switching between tabs, you save time and maintain your focus better. This streamlined workflow can significantly boost your efficiency.

Better organization is another advantage. When each project or dataset has its own window, it’s easier to keep track of your work. This can be particularly helpful when you’re juggling multiple tasks and need to ensure that no detail is overlooked.


More resources usedOpening multiple instances of Excel can use more of your computer’s resources, potentially slowing it down.
Potential for confusionHaving multiple windows open might be confusing for some users, leading to lost data or errors.
Screen real estateIf you have a single monitor or limited screen space, managing multiple windows can be challenging.

More resources used is a consideration, as each open instance of Excel will consume a portion of your computer’s processing power and memory. If your machine is older or has limited resources, this could lead to performance issues.

Potential for confusion can occur, especially if you’re not used to working with multiple windows. There’s a risk of closing the wrong window or losing track of where specific data is located.

Screen real estate can be a limitation for some users. If you don’t have multiple monitors or your screen size is small, it can be difficult to arrange the windows in a way that is helpful rather than hindering.

Additional Information

Mastering the art of opening Excel sheets in separate windows can significantly enhance your data management skills. However, there are some additional tips that can make this process even smoother. For example, you can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly switch between open Excel windows. Alt + Tab (on Windows) or Command + Tab (on macOS) will allow you to cycle through all open applications, including different instances of Excel.

Additionally, if you’re using Excel on Windows 10, you can take advantage of the ‘Snap’ feature to easily organize your open windows. Just drag a window to the side of your screen, and it will automatically resize to fill half the screen, making it simple to work with two sheets side by side.

Remember that if you’re working with very large datasets, opening them in separate windows might slow down your computer. In this scenario, consider whether the benefit of viewing the sheets simultaneously outweighs the potential performance hit.


  1. Open the first Excel workbook normally.
  2. Launch a new instance of Excel for the second workbook.
  3. Open the second workbook in the new instance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open more than two Excel sheets in separate windows?

Yes, you can open as many instances of Excel as you need, as long as your computer’s resources allow.

Will this work with Excel on a Mac?

The process is similar on a Mac, but the way you open a new instance of Excel may differ slightly. You can use the ‘Open’ command while holding the Option key to open a new instance.

What if I accidentally close the wrong Excel window?

Excel’s ‘AutoRecover’ feature should save your work periodically. However, it’s always a good idea to save frequently to avoid losing data.

Can I use this method to compare more than two workbooks?

Absolutely! As long as you have the screen space and computing power, you can open multiple workbooks in separate windows for comparison.

Is there a limit to the number of separate Excel windows I can open?

No hard limit, but your computer’s performance may start to decline if you open too many.


Learning how to open Excel sheets in separate windows is a simple yet effective way to boost your productivity and streamline your workflow. Whether you’re analyzing financial data, comparing sales reports, or managing inventory, this skill allows you to multitask and organize your work more efficiently.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to take full advantage of Excel’s capabilities and tackle your tasks with greater ease and confidence. Keep practicing, and soon opening Excel sheets in separate windows will become second nature.