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: Default Worksheet when Opening.

Default Worksheet when Opening

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 1, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


When you open a workbook, Excel normally displays the worksheet last displayed when the workbook was last saved. You may want a specific worksheet to always be displayed when the workbook is opened, regardless of the worksheet displayed when the workbook was last saved.

You can control which worksheet is displayed by using this macro:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
End Sub

This macro will always display a worksheet named StartSheet. You will obviously need to change the worksheet name to something different; it should exactly match the name of the desired worksheet.

For this macro to work properly, it has to be associated with the workbook object. Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have only a single Excel workbook open. While this isn't exactly mandatory, it will make creating the macro a bit easier.
  2. Press Alt+F11 to display the VBA Editor.
  3. In the Project Explorer window you will see a list of the open workbooks and templates. If the Project Explorer is not visible on your screen, choose Project Explorer from the View menu.
  4. Locate your current workbook in the Project Explorer. It will be named something like VBAProject (MyWorkbook), where "MyWorkbook" is the name of the actual workbook.
  5. If there is a plus sign to the left of the current workbook in the Project Explorer, click on it. You should see a list of worksheets appear underneath the workbook.
  6. If you don't see a list of worksheets, but instead see a list of folders with plus signs to their left, click on the plus sign to the left of Microsoft Excel Objects. Now you should see the worksheets.
  7. At the bottom of the list of worksheets is the ThisWorkbook object. Double-click on it. A code window is opened.
  8. In the code window, paste or create the macro shown above. Make sure you name it exactly as shown.
  9. Close the VBA Editor.
  10. Save your workbook.

Now, whenever you open the workbook, the specified worksheet will be displayed.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2014) 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: Default Worksheet when Opening.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is one less than 7?

2023-05-24 06:10:20


You say that "Excel normally displays the worksheet last displayed when the workbook was last saved".. This is NOT TRUE and this is my problem. Why can't it display the sheet that was last saved when I open the file!?

2021-03-30 12:49:28


The example does not work as written.

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
End Sub

This worked for me:

\Private Sub Workbook_Open()
Sheets("Start Sheet").Select
End Sub

2020-02-27 14:20:29


These instructions were extremely helpful! Thanks much for providing them! I will mention that one needs to make sure that one is working on a file that is of a "macro enabled" type. I didn't realize that the version of Excel that I was using wouldn't allowed macros until I tried to save the file with the added macro. It wouldn't save the macro. So I first had to save the file as a macro-enabled type and then add the macro. It worked perfectly!

2019-10-25 03:52:46


Hi, For the advice at June 25, 2018, "Default worksheet when opening": If you want to always go to a specific work sheet when you open excel workbook, for sure a macro with sheet.activate works. many (most?) organizations, for security reasons, all office tools, including excel, open with macros disabled. And, nowadays in the MS Office 365 environment the Excel workbooks don't open event into the native Excel desktop app but into the browser Excel extension where macros, and many other advanced features, don't work. Therefore it would be a good addition from MS to add an property/attribute for the Workbook object: "DefaultOpeningWorksheet".

2018-11-02 03:07:13

Alan Elston

Hallo again Heidi
Just to quote Allen Wyatt:--....."..You will obviously need to change the worksheet name to something different; it should exactly match the name of the desired worksheet...."....

2018-11-02 03:04:04

Alan Elston

Hello Heidi
Usually that error means that you don’t have a Worksheet with the tab name that you are trying to use in this part of the code: (“ “). If you are using the code exactly as Allen has given it , then you must have a tab name of "StartSheet". Usually , if you are using a normal/ default workbook in an English version of Excel, then the code line that you usually need would be for the first sheet:
and for the second sheet the code line would usually be:
As an alternative, you can refer to a worksheet item by its index number ( The index number is an integer counting the tabs as you see them from the left. So, for example, the first worksheet tab from the left has index number 1 ). So for example, to refer to the second sheet, an alternative code line would be

Alan Elston

2018-11-01 16:09:56


Getting a run-time error 9
Subscript out of range

2018-09-14 05:29:11

Manish Maurya

It is not working, It says
Activate method of Worksheet Class Failed

2018-02-01 11:08:26

Willy Vanhaelen

Perhaps you use
Private Sub Workbook_Activate()
istead of
Private Sub Workbook_Open()

2018-01-31 08:46:20

Mark Arnold


Thank You for all you do. This is something I use all the time but just came across an anomoly. I have the macro so that my file opens on the page that I want , but if I go temporarily to use a different excel spreadsheet and then return to the one with the code it goes back to the initial opening window rather than stay on the page I was on, even though the worksheet was already open. is there any way I can stop this from happening.


2017-12-20 14:37:37

Megan Smith

Doesn't seem to work for 2013?

2017-09-09 08:24:36

Frank Natalia

Most helpful. I would add that after adding Macro you have to save your Workbook in a Macro-Enabled format. (Save as)

2017-08-19 12:21:46

Robert Matthews

Worked great - thanks! Might be worth saying at point 8

"In the code window, paste or create the macro shown above. Make sure you use exactly the format shown - including the quote marks - around the sheet name you want to open with".

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