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: Seeing Excel's Program Window.

Seeing Excel's Program Window

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 17, 2018)

Have you ever opened Excel, only to be greeted by a program window that was obviously too big for your screen? For example, you may see only the top left portion of the program window, with Excel's title bar missing off the top of the visible screen. Typically such a condition crops up when, for whatever reason, you decrease the resolution at which the Windows screen is displayed. For instance, if you had been viewing your screen at 1024 x 768 and you decrease your screen resolution to 800 x 600. When you later try to open Excel, it may appear off the top of the screen because it is "larger" than the available space on the desktop.

The first solution that springs to mind is that you can simply switch back to the higher resolution, open Excel and make the window smaller, and then switch back to the lower resolution. If this is not possible for some reason, then you must select a different way to accomplish the task.

One method you can try is by using the window controls. Since you cannot see them (they are accessible through the Control menu at the upper-left corner of the program window) because they are off the screen, you must use the keyboard. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Alt+Spacebar. This displays the Control menu (even if you cannot see it).
  2. Press the letter R; the Excel window is restored to its "in between" size.
  3. Press Alt+Spacebar to again display the Control menu.
  4. Press the letter X; the Excel window is maximized.

You might think that the last two steps would revert Excel back to its oversized condition. Instead, it forces Excel to calculate the correct size of the desktop and to set the maximum window size accordingly. If you would rather use the mouse than the keyboard, you can follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Excel task on the task bar. Windows displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Restore from the Context menu. The Excel window is restored to its "in between" size.
  3. Again right-click on the Excel task on the task bar. Windows again displays a Context menu.
  4. Choose Maximize from the Context menu.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2079) 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: Seeing Excel's Program Window.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Converting Text to Values

When you import information originating in a different program, Excel may not do the best job at figuring out what ...

Discover More

Storing Sorting Criteria

Need to do the same sorting operation over and over again? Excel doesn't provide a way to save your sorting criteria, but ...

Discover More

Quickly Moving Your Table

For those who love to use the mouse during editing, you can use the little critter to help move your tables to exactly ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Displaying a Count of Zeros on the Status Bar

Excel allows you to display the results of several common worksheet functions on the status bar. The available functions ...

Discover More

Starting in Safe Mode

By using a command-line switch, Excel can be started in safe mode. This means that the program is loaded with bare-bones ...

Discover More

Inserting Different Dashes

Excel supports several types of dashes. This tip describes those different types and explains how to enter them in a cell.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.