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: Duplicate Workbooks Opening.

Duplicate Workbooks Opening

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 1, 2017)


Joan has a problem with one of her Excel workbooks: When she opens it, Excel always "replicates" the workbook. Once opened, Joan reports that she has two workbooks showing in the task bar. Both contain the proper workbook name, but one is followed by a 1 and the other followed by a 2.

Believe it or not, this problem is actually a feature of Excel. What you are seeing is two windows, both open on the same workbook. Excel allows you to create multiple windows on the same workbook by using the Window | New Window. Each new window has the same name, except they have a suffix consisting of a colon and a number that indicates the window number (1, 2, 3, etc.).

When you save a workbook that has multiple windows, the next time you open the workbook it will display the same number of windows. If you want to get rid of some of the windows, you need to close them. You do this by clicking the Close Window control. (This is the X at the upper-right corner of the worksheet, not at the upper-right of the program window. It is black, not red, although it should be just below the red X. If you hover the mouse pointer over it, you'll see the ToolTip "Close Window" appear.)

Once you close any windows you don't want, save the workbook again. The next time you open it, you should see only a single window.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2994) 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: Duplicate Workbooks 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 1 + 5?

2018-02-23 07:06:17


Have You tried: window -> unhide?

2017-10-19 12:08:06

Willy Vanhaelen

@Beth Echels
Maximize Excel and you will probably discover your lost window:2

2017-10-17 17:19:32

Beth Echels

How can I get rid of the :1 after the window. There is no :2 window available for view (it is missing). When I select View New Window a window pops up with a :3. There are on 2 windows open that say :1 & :3 - but no :2 and when I close :3, there is still a is as if :2 crashed somewhere and is just hanging around but not visible. Any ideas? I tried rebooting and nothing has helped, so far.

2017-04-05 16:21:30

Pete White

Thanks Allen, co-incidentally I've been subscribing to Excel Tips for a few months now - great, great tips, every day. I have the opposite issue... sometimes I hit the x and close one window, through habit to close the workbook - but then when I reopen the second window is gone. Obviously it is easy to create the second window again, but all of the View formats (e.g zoom, no gridlines, freeze pains) have to be reinstalled.
Q - is there no way for Excel to ask if "just the window, or the workbook" should be closed?
thanks again.

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