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Using a Single Instance of Excel with Two Monitors

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: Using a Single Instance of Excel with Two Monitors.

Joe has a system that uses dual monitors. He would like to have one Excel workbook appear on one of the monitors and another workbook appear on the other monitor. He can do this, but only if he opens two instances of Excel. The problem with that, however, is that he cannot easily copy and paste information from one workbook to another. What would be ideal is if Joe could open both workbooks in a single instance of Excel and still have the two workbooks appear on their own monitors.

Assuming that you've got Windows configured so that it views the two monitors as a single desktop, there is only one way to do this that we've been able to discover. Follow these general steps:

  1. Open one of the workbooks in Excel, as you normally would.
  2. Make sure that the Excel program window doesn't fill the entirety of a monitor. (Click the Restore button, in the upper-right corner of the program window, if necessary.)
  3. Make sure the program window is fully visible in your left-most monitor. (Drag the title bar of that program window into that monitor, if necessary.)
  4. Drag the right side of the program window into the right-most monitor. Your program window should now cover most of the extended desktop, across two monitors.
  5. Open the second workbook in this same instance of Excel.
  6. Select the Arrange option from the Window menu. Excel displays the Arrange Windows dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Arrange Windows dialog box.

  8. Make sure the Vertical radio button is selected.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Drag the left and right borders of the workbooks so that each appears in the left and right monitor windows.

If you prefer, you can record a macro as you do these steps, and then run that macro each time you want to position your workbooks. Also, there is one drawback to this approach: The menu bar extends across the top of both monitors, which can (once in a while) make getting to some commands a bit interesting.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3262) 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: Using a Single Instance of Excel with Two Monitors.

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