How to Open Two Excel Files Side by Side in Separate Windows

Try 4 easy methods to accomplish this

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
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  • When users open two Excel files at once, they are not opened in separate windows.
  • In order to view and compare the content of two separate files, you need to open them side by side.
  • Our guide will show you how to open Excel files side by side on Windows.

When you open multiple files in Excel, those files do not open in separate windows. Instead, users can switch between them by clicking their thumbnail previews on Windows 10’s taskbar.

However, some users might need to open two MS Excel files in separate windows so they can view their contents side by side.

In the guides below you will find out how users can open two or more Excel files in multiple windows.

How can I have two Excel windows open side by side?

1. Open two Excel windows and place them side by side

  1. You can open the Excel application multiple times to have a couple of Excel windows on the desktop. To do that, click the Excel icon to open the software.
  2. Then click Excel’s icon again to open the software for a second time. Thereafter, you’ll have two Excel windows on the desktop.
  3. Click the Restore Down buttons on the windows.
    Restore Down option how to open two excel files in separate windows
  4. Then you can drag one window to the left of the desktop to fill the left side.
  5. Drag the other window to the right of the desktop to fill the right side of the desktop as shown directly below.Excel windows how to open two excel files in separate windows
  6. Then click File > Open in both windows to open spreadsheets in them.

2. Press the Shift Key to open multiple Excel files side by side

Alternatively, you can open multiple Excel windows by pressing and holding the Shift key. First, open the Excel software. Then hold the Shift key, and click Excel’s taskbar icon. That will open another window for the application that users can drag to both desktop sides as outlined above.


3. Add the Office Tab to Excel

Users can also open spreadsheets in separate windows with the Office Tab extension for Excel. That’s a $29 add-on for Excel that adds spreadsheet tabs to Excel, and users can try out a one-month free trial for Office Tab.

After installing that add-on, Excel will include alternative tabs for separate spreadsheets. Then users can right-click a spreadsheet tab and select its Open in New Window context menu option.

Excel tabs how to open two excel files in separate windows

4. Use the View Side by Side option

1. Launch Excel.

2. Click File > Open to open a couple of spreadsheets.

3. Choose the View tab.

4. Select the View Side by Side option in the Window group.

excel window options

5. Alternatively, users can select the New Window option to open another spreadsheet in separate window.

Users utilizing full versions of Excel 2019-2007 can select a View Side by Side option to compare two spreadsheets. The option is built-in on the app, and is very easy to toggle on.

So, there are a few ways users can open Excel spreadsheets in separate windows. Then users can drag windows to the left and right sides of the Windows desktop to view both the spreadsheets’ contents.

However, note that Windows XP and Vista don’t include the Windows Snap feature for arranging windows on the left and right sides of the desktop.

For any more questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach for the comments section below.

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