One Shortcut for Two Macros

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 11, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003

William has two workbooks, each containing macros. Even though the macros are different, they are invoked by using the same keyboard shortcut. When only one of the workbooks is open, the shortcut works great. When both workbooks are open at the same time, William never knows exactly what will run. He wonders if there is a way for Excel to treat the shortcuts independently so that if both workbooks are open the keyboard shortcuts will work harmoniously.

The short answer is that there is no way to make this happen without making some changes to the macros themselves. Shortcut keys are "global" to the instance of the application that is running (in this case, Excel). As workbooks are opened, their shortcuts are added to an internal table that functions as an index of all the shortcuts and the macro they are designated to run.

This index seems to be sorted alphabetically, by workbook name. When you use a shortcut key, Excel looks at the index and picks the first matching shortcut in the index. Also if you have a shortcut that uses one of the built-in shortcuts, the created macro will always run before the built-in one. If the macros have the same name, the first one opened is run.

Since the index table maintained by Excel is created by application instance, you could get around the conflict by making sure that you open each workbook in its own instance of Excel. Don't use the Open dialog box to load the second workbook; instead double-click the workbook's icon in Windows.

If you tire of remembering to open the workbooks in this manner, the only other option is to start making changes to macros. The easy change would be to modify the shortcut keys so they are not the same. You could maintain the same shortcut keys by adding some code to the beginning of each macro. Have each macro check the name of the active workbook. If the name matches the expected name for that macro, then the code can continue to execute. If it does not match, then the code can activate the other workbook and directly run the macro in that one.


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 (2872) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...


Hiding Rows Based on Two Values

It's easy to use filtering to hide rows based on the value in a cell, but how do you hide rows based on the values in two ...

Discover More

Inserting the Document Revision Number

Need to know how many times your document has been saved? Word keeps track of this information, and makes it easily ...

Discover More

Searching for Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format

You can easily use Find and Replace to find text that has a particular format to it. Most people don't know you can use ...

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)

Clean Up Your Macro List

Got a workbook cluttered with all sorts of macros? Delete them and you'll make your workbook easier to manage.

Discover More

Disabling Shift Key Use when Opening a Workbook

Open up a workbook, and Excel normally runs the macros associated with that workbook. You can disable the automatic ...

Discover More

Removing a Directory

Macros allow you to perform all sorts of file-related operations. One such operation allows you to delete a directory. ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 seven minus 1?

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

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.