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Workaround for Multiple Rows of Worksheet Tabs

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Workaround for Multiple Rows of Worksheet Tabs.

At the bottom of Excel's program window you can see tabs that represent the various worksheets in your workbook. (If you don't see the tabs, you need to choose Tools | Options | View tab and make sure the Sheet Tabs check box is selected.) You may wonder if there is a way to have multiple rows of the sheet tabs displayed, for those workbooks that have many worksheets in them.

Unfortunately, Excel provides no intrinsic way to change the number of rows of worksheet tabs displayed; it appears that the limit of a single row is hard-coded into the program. There are a couple of workarounds you can try, however.

  • Use shorter worksheet names. Shorter names allows more tabs to be automatically displayed horizontally.
  • Click the divider bar between the tab area and the horizontal scroll bar, dragging it to the right. The scroll bar gets narrower, and the space allotted to the tabs becomes wider.

If your tabs still won't all fit on the screen, right-click on the navigation controls just to the left of the tabs. You should see a list of sheet names you can select. If there are too many sheet names to display in that way (more than 15), select the More Sheets option, and Excel displays the Activate dialog box, from which you can select a sheet name.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3009) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Workaround for Multiple Rows of Worksheet Tabs.

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Comments for this tip:

sasky    01 Apr 2015, 03:26
2 Gilbert Dupuis: Thanks for great advice. This saved a lot of my time.
Dave    12 Mar 2015, 18:20
The Hyperlink idea is kind of cool, just a lot of work.

As the author notes, you can right click the left of the tabs and get a combo box with all of them showing. I'm on 2013 and don't see the 15 limit he references though - the list has a scroll bar to the right, but better than most things MS, the focus is correct and my mouse scroll wheel works instantly - so, right click move the wheel and I can see any and all sheets to select from - very fast - so much so that I'm no longer concerned about MS not giving us multiple rows for tabs (I agree it's lame though). If we want to speak lame, though not germane to this question, what about tabs for multiple work books - seriously as much Excel is a staple in business they don't anticipate that need and you have to buy a 3rd party app?
Ron Jeremias    30 Jan 2015, 08:59
I just switched to a newer version of Excel. I have an older workbook with a large number of spreadsheets that I named a, b, c, etc. and I was able to see all of my tabs. But in the newer version of Excel the tabs seem to have a minimum width of about 5 characters, even when the tab name has only one character. Thus, fewer tabs are visible. Is there a fix for this?
Gilbert Dupuis    25 Dec 2014, 19:54

I have over 30 tabs and I like good names for them. I solved my navigation problem by creating a new sheet (INDEX)in witch I have created hyperlinks to every sheet (Insert menu-Hyperlinks). These hyperlnks are very flexible in setting.

On every sheet, I froze the first column and copy (rows 1 to 200) an hyperlink to the INDEX sheet. So this column is always visible and with two clicks I could select the next sheet I want to go to.

And since the hyperlinks are in cells, I could arrange them, move them in whatever disposition suits me.

Snap shot available.

Good day
Christian    15 Aug 2014, 11:48
Pretty lame, Microsoft...pretty lame.

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