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 All Open Workbook Names.

Seeing All Open Workbook Names

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 22, 2014)


Excel allows you to open quite a few workbooks at the same time, depending on the amount of memory you have available on your system. For some people it is not unusual to have ten, fifteen, twenty, or more workbooks open, all at once.

Traditionally, the normal method used to switch from one workbook to another is to activate the Window menu, and then select the desired workbook from those displayed in the menu. If there are more than nine workbooks open, then Excel displays a menu option that says "More Windows," which you can select to display a list of all open workbooks. Selecting a workbook from this list ends up in that workbook being displayed.

If you routinely work with many open workbooks, it can be a pain to repeatedly click Window | More Windows and then select which workbook you want to view. It would be much easier if the workbooks were all listed, and if you could then select from the list. Unfortunately, Excel doesn't allow you to display more than nine workbooks in the Windows menu. (Nine seems to be a rather arbitrary number, but Microsoft had to set a limit somewhere. Nine is just as good as any other arbitrary limit.) There are, however, some workarounds you can use.

The first workaround is to simply make better use of the Windows Taskbar. First, configure Excel so that it displays a Taskbar button for every open workbook:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is displayed.
  3. Make sure the Windows in Taskbar check box is selected.
  4. Click on OK.

Now, as you open additional workbooks, Excel displays a Taskbar button for each workbook. That means that if you have twenty open workbooks, you will see twenty buttons on the Taskbar. Of course, each Taskbar button will be rather small, and you may not be able to make out the name of the workbook on each button. You can help mitigate this problem by simply making the Taskbar larger: Move the mouse pointer over the top border of the Taskbar. Click on the border and drag it upwards. This allows you to have two, three, or more rows designated for the Taskbar. Individual buttons will then be larger as they reorient themselves for the increased Taskbar room.

With the Taskbar enlarged and buttons available that correspond to each open workbook, there is no longer a need to even pull down the Window menu to switch from one workbook to another. All you need to do is click on the proper Taskbar button.

If you would rather not enlarge the Taskbar so it occupies additional rows, you can instead use the task-switching capabilities of Excel. Just hold down the Alt key as you repeatedly press the Tab key to switch from one window to another. When the desired workbook window is selected, release the Alt key and the actual workbook is displayed.

If you would rather not fiddle with the Taskbar or clutter it up with one button for each workbook, you will need to develop macros to display a list of workbooks, allow you to select one, and then switch among them. The most efficient way to do this is to create a UserForm and attach several macros to it. Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have created a Personal.xls file to contain your common macros. (How this is done has been discussed in other issues of ExcelTips.)
  2. Press Alt+F11 to display the VBA Editor.
  3. Make sure the Personal.xls workbook is selected in the Object Browser window. (Upper-left corner of the VBA Editor.)
  4. Choose UserForm from the Insert menu. A new UserForm appears in the center of your screen.
  5. Using the toolbox at the left side of the VBA Editor, place a ListBox control on the UserForm. This control will hold the list of open workbooks. (Feel free to make the ListBox as large or small as desired.)
  6. Add any other items desired to the UserForm, such as explanation text, etc.
  7. Resize the UserForm to the size you want displayed.
  8. Right-click on the UserForm (not on the ListBox) and select View Code from the Context menu. You then see the Code window for the UserForm.
  9. Replace whatever is in the Code window with the following code:
  10. Private Sub ListBox1_Click()
        Unload Me
    End Sub
    Private Sub UserForm_Activate()
        Dim wkb As Workbook
        For Each wkb In Workbooks
            If Windows(wkb.Name).Visible Then _
              ListBox1.AddItem wkb.Name
    End Sub
  11. Choose Module from the Insert menu. A Code window appears for the new module.
  12. Add the following code to the module's Code window:
  13. Sub AllWindows()
    End Sub
  14. Close the VBA Editor and return to Excel by pressing Alt+Q.

Once in Excel, you can assign the AllWindows macro to a toolbar button or to a menu item. When you then click on the button or choose the menu option, the UserForm is displayed, showing all the open workbooks. You can then select one, and the UserForm disappears and the selected workbook is displayed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2807) 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 All Open Workbook Names.

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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Comments for this tip:

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. 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 nine more than 2?

2015-05-27 13:10:51

ND Pard

Office version 2010

I love this; however, if I have gone to Excel's View ribbon and clicked on "New Window" ... then the macro crashes.

Is there a way to have the list display the file name again if it has been opened again via the "New Window" feature?


2014-03-22 11:14:29

Steve Brockbank

Previously there was a tip that when paramaterized didn't work. I this the same? We are taught that "Upload Me" is a subroutime or function that requires a function or subroutine.

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