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 February 2, 2017)

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. ...

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