How to display two Excel sheets side by side on two monitors in Windows 7

If you use Excel a lot and spend most of your day toggling across multiple Excel files, then having a dual monitor setup will help you tremendously! In fact, a New York Times study has shown that having an additional monitor increases productivity by 20 to 30 percent. However, the challenge is that some applications such as MS Office Excel load multiple files from the same instance of the application. This means that Excel opens multiple files on top of each other on the same monitor. And if you try moving one Excel file to the second monitor, all other Excel files also move to the second monitor.

How to display one Excel file on one monitor and another file on a second monitor

To display the two files side by side instead of on top of each other, you have to load the two files as two separate instances. To do this, you must open a new instance of Excel, then open/create a workbook. I’ve summarized the steps below.

  1. Open the first Excel file you need to access and put that on Monitor #1.
  2. Open a second instance of Excel on Monitor #2 by going to the Start Menu > Programs > Micrrosoft Office > Excel.
  3. Move this second instance of Excel to Monitor #2.
  4. Open or create a workbook from the second instance of Excel that’s now on Monitor #2.

Voila!

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120 Comments

  1. martin613
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Great answer but does anyonehow do I get the same formatting to appear on each Excel 2007 file I open, including the ones on each monitor?

    • karen
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:18 am | Permalink

      Hi Martin! I am not sure that I fully understood what you are looking for. Are you looking to display the exact same Excel file on two monitors? And are you looking to make changes on one instance on one monitor and have the changes also appear on the second instance of the file on the second monitor? If so, I am not sure that that is possible.

  2. Tom
    Posted June 9, 2015 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Very useful – did this ages ago and just could not remember how – thanks!

    • karen
      Posted June 9, 2015 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear it helped, Tom 🙂

  3. Frank
    Posted June 8, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much guy!!!

    • karen
      Posted June 9, 2015 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      You’re very welcome Frank!

  4. Bill
    Posted June 4, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Fabulous! Thanks so much. I had been trying and trying to have two screens showing at once, but couldn’t get it to work. It didn’t occur to me that what happens in Microsoft Word (which doesn’t require separate instances) wouldn’t happen the same way in Excel.

    • karen
      Posted June 9, 2015 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      Excel is indeed quite tricky! Glad to hear this worked for you, Bill!

  5. Andrea
    Posted April 28, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    It WORKED!!! thank you!! This will make my job so much easier. Thank you for taking the time so share your expertise, that is so kind of you. Merci!!

    • karen
      Posted June 9, 2015 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      Yayy! Happy to hear it helped you, Andrea 🙂

  6. Anna
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    WHAT A LIFESAVER! It has been driving me nuts that I have 2 monitors and I couldn’t display my excel sheets side-by-side -___- I finally had it and so glad that I found your site! Most of my departments work is on Excel so on behalf of my team, THANK YOU!!! Just in time for our deadlines coming up 🙂

    • karen
      Posted June 9, 2015 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      You are so welcome, Anna! Happy to hear it worked on your 2 monitors 🙂

  7. Sasima L.
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Perfect! Thanks God I found you!!

    • karen
      Posted April 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Glad you found my site, Sasima 🙂

  8. Jean B
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Cool! Awesome! Man, I love the internet….Karen you Rock!

    • karen
      Posted April 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome Jean!!! 🙂

  9. Aigul S
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Very much helpful, I was just wasting my time reading comments on the other forums that didn’t give me an answer… So Great!!!! thanx

    • karen
      Posted April 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Aigul 🙂

  10. Alex
    Posted February 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Awesome, I wish i found this 3 hours ago.

    • karen
      Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Glad you found it helpful, Alex 🙂

      • max
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        Fantastic!!!!! You saved my day
        Max

        • karen
          Posted April 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome Max 🙂

  11. Anne
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way to make opening two different screens a “default” action? That is, is there a way to always make the second selected Excel file open as a separate file on the second screen without having to do the above action every time the files are opened?

    • karen
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Hi Anne! I know! Wouldn’t it be amazing if Excel always opened a new file in a new instance?! Unfortunately, I don’t know of any settings that you can change to enable Excel to always open a new file in a new instance. Sadly, you have to follow these steps each time you want to open a file in a new instance 🙁

  12. Jh
    Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Quick way of opening second instance of Excel is to hold shift key down while clicking Excel icon on the task bar (the first instance of open excel).

    • karen
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      That’s a great suggestion, JH! Thank you!

    • Susie
      Posted February 5, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      This is a great idea….wished I had known this like 5 years ago…..

      • karen
        Posted February 6, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Hi Susie! Glad to hear this was helpful 🙂

  13. Chrissy
    Posted January 23, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much!!! I have searched many articles and yours was the only one to provide what I needed!

    • karen
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear that, Chrissy 🙂

  14. matt
    Posted January 15, 2015 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    THANKS a million! VERY helpful and easy.

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Matt 🙂

  15. Naish
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful! Have been looking for this for so long… thanks so much!

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Glad to hear it helped, Naish!

  16. Anders Sand
    Posted January 7, 2015 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much!

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome Anders!

  17. Ashish Saraf
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    At first i didn’t believe this would work Coz i was following a post & was ready to make changes in registry :-p
    Saw your post and it worked like MAGIC

    Thanks Karen your the best 🙂

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Ashish 🙂

  18. Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    So much help!
    Been doing marketing strategies for 2015 going insane working with each sheet opening on top of each other! Stumbled upon this and I feel like doing a little dance of happiness!
    Thank you!

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      I know!!! It is pretty crazy to have to look at each file one at a time!

  19. Katy
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!!! I tried everything BUT that!!!

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Glad it worked, Katy!

  20. Gabriel
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The problem I keep running into is that I can’t paste formulas from one instance of excel into another. Only values are “paste-able” Is there something I can do for this?

    • karen
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi Gabriel! Sadly, that is one limitation of opening a second instance of Excel. The way to copy and paste formulas would be to go into the cell (by clicking F2) and copying and pasting the actual formula text and then pasting it. Try it and see if it works for you.

  21. Ana
    Posted October 13, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks a lot! It saves a lot of time and helped me make fewer mistakes!

    • karen
      Posted November 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Ana! Glad I was able to help 🙂

  22. NC
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    This is so helpful! Thanks for posting 🙂

    • karen
      Posted November 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, NC 🙂

  23. Luz
    Posted September 12, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you!!! This was very helpful.

    • karen
      Posted September 12, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      You are so welcome, Jessica! 🙂

  24. Marilia
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much! Real time saver!

    • karen
      Posted September 12, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome Marilla 🙂

  25. Ron
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the much needed advice, Karen.

    Imagine, that almost 2 years after you had published this post, your advice is still helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • karen
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ron! I am so glad that you found my article and found it so helpful. It truly makes me so happy to see that I can help so many people with this one post 🙂

  26. Posted August 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    This is a much better response than some of the several I’ve read, but I would still like to find a way to open a second instance from excel email attachments – it takes time to have to save it somewhere just to turn around and open it again in another instance of excel.
    thanks all

    • karen
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      I know! It’s such a pain to have to open a second instance of Excel, isn’t it?! Unfortunately, I don’t know of any solution that doesn’t require opening a second instance of Excel. Sorry about that! However, to make it easier, you can do the following:

      1. Open your Excel email attachment. Doing so automatically saves the file in your “Downloads” folder. This means you don’t need to save the file.
      2. Open a second instance of Excel.
      3. Find the Excel email attachment in the “Recent” document list. To do this quickly, just press “ALT + F” to open the file menu and press 1, 2, 3, or 4 or the number that corresponds in front of the recent file you want to open.

      Hope this helps!

  27. Velavan
    Posted August 23, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you . its working

    • karen
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Happy to hear that 🙂

  28. Nikki
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Infact…you are the best. I have tried to find a solution to this for 7 months, and its frustrating when the sheet wont split. Just discovered your post now and yea it truly works like magic.

    Thanks a lot for this

    • karen
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Hi Nikki! So happy to hear that my solution worked for you! Yayy! 🙂

  29. Marjana
    Posted July 22, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    thank you

    • karen
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Marjana!

  30. Donna
    Posted June 17, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    best advice ever.
    just saying.

    • karen
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      So happy it worked for you Donna 🙂

  31. Bob
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I just found this link, and I have to say it works properly, and better than any other suggestions I’ve been reading from the Microsoft website.

    Thank you very much for your helpful post.

    • karen
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      So glad to hear that, Bob 🙂

  32. leisanne
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    thanks! works like a charm.

    • karen
      Posted May 8, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Happy to hear that it worked beautifully, Leisanne 🙂

    • jim
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      thanks so much, you have saved me a lot of time.

      • karen
        Posted August 8, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        You’re welcome, Jim! Glad I saved you a lot of time 🙂

  33. Abid
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. . .

    • karen
      Posted May 8, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome Abid!

  34. Andrea
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much!! We keep track of metrics in my department in Excel so this allows for the master file to be on one monitor and every one’s personal files on the other. You’re a sanity saver!

    • karen
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      So happy I was able to help, Andrea! 🙂

    • karen
      Posted May 8, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Andrea! I’m so happy that it worked well for you 🙂

  35. Satish
    Posted April 8, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Thanks.

  36. Susan
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    It worked, thank you much!

    • karen
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome, Susan! So glad I was able to help 🙂

  37. Susan
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, this helps a lot….and of course it worked.
    Save my time…..thank you again

    • karen
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome, Susan! So glad I was able to help 🙂

  38. Ranjith
    Posted April 6, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you

    • karen
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      You are so welcome Ranjith! 🙂

  39. Kelly
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I owe you my first born child. I kept looking for a solution for this but people kept telling me how to open two excel docs in one window side by side. Thank you, you are the absolute best.

    • karen
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly! I am so thrilled that I was able to help you! 🙂 I remember how frustrated I was when I was looking for a solution to this problem. I am happy it worked for you 🙂

  40. Arek
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Great! Thank you.

    • karen
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome Arek 🙂

  41. Andy
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately opening two sessions of excel means that I can no longer reference one file to another. For example, if I’m creating a formula, and I want to highlight the data to lookup against, the formula doesn’t recognise the other session (e.g. vlookup, where 2 sessions would be useful for specifying column numbers). Any way round this? Thanks!

    • karen
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Hi Andy! You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, that is one limitation of opening two instances of Excel — you cannot reference formulas as easily anymore. There are two ways to get around this:

      1. You can open the same file in the first instance of Excel.

      2. You can type the file path into the formula.

      Hope one of these 2 solutions work for you!

    • Dibb
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      The way I get around this is as follows:

      Without Excel maximised drag the left and right border to span both monitors.

      With the mouse on your main screen (the one with the taskbar) drag the window to the very top of the screen. The height will expand to the distance between the top and the taskbar. Doing this on main screen means you don’t have part of the sheet hidden behind the taskbar.

      You now have an Excel Window that fills both screens. Open 2 workbooks and press ALT > W > A > V > Enter. Or choose view ribbon, arrange all, vertical. All windows will be displayed side-by-side. Minimise windows that you don’t want to include in the view if you have more than 2 open and arrange all again.

      You now have 2 worksheets displayed side by side in the same instance of Excel. Pressing maximise returns the view to one screen. Restoring puts you back to the wide view.

      A bit of a pain, but easy enough when you have done it a few times and invaluable when you are working with 2 sheets.

  42. Thank you. This work
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Thank you. This work

    • karen
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome!

  43. Will
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    on behalf of my team. thank u

    • karen
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome, Will. Glad I was able to help you and your team!

  44. Saurab
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    It works and It was so easy. Thanks.

    • karen
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Happy to hear that, Saurab 🙂

  45. htet htet win
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    It really works! Thanks a lot!

    • karen
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      I am so happy to hear that it worked for you 🙂

  46. Ragawaprasad
    Posted January 13, 2014 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Great!.. It works excellent for me:)

    Thank you 🙂

    • karen
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Happy to hear that it worked for you 🙂

  47. Sean
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much Karen! You’re a life saver!

    • karen
      Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      You are very welcome Sean! I am just so happy that I was able to help you!

  48. Big Worm
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    You’re awesome! This works.

    • karen
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      So happy to hear that it worked for you 🙂

  49. Tomek
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    In some advanced copying/pasting operations may result in different behaviour mostly related to formatting. It’s still great but good to be aware.

    Thanks

  50. Ronald Scurry
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    This seems to work perfectly if you’re opening two separate “files”. My problem is “How can I get two “sheets” of the same file to open on separate monitors in Excel 2013 using Windows 7?

    • karen
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Ronald, you can certainly open two worksheets from the safe file using the same steps I outlined above. The only thing you CANNOT do is edit both worksheets at the same time. When you open the second instance of the same file on another monitor, you will see a message saying that the file is locked for editing and that you can only open it as “Read only”. One caveat is that I have tried this only using the Excel 2010 on Windows 7. I don’t have a copy of Excel 2013 on my machine so I was not able to test it and see if it works on Excel 2013.

    • Luis
      Posted January 15, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      The only problem I’ve had when running two instances of Excel (not running Windows 7 – but it may be an issue there as well) is when trying to copy/paste into the second running instance of Excel, I don’t have the same options (paste formatting, paste formulas, etc..)

      When running one instance of Excel, you can work on the same worksheet by manually expanding the Excel window to cover both monitors. At that point, you can open the “New Window” button from the “View” tab. Afterwards, simply click on the “Arrange All” button and selct “Vertical”. If you only have one worksheet open, it will place the two windows side-by-side on opposite monitors. This is useful when working with large spreadsheets or with multi-tab workbooks where modifications to one section will affect other tabs or sections in real-time.

  51. Ronald Scurry
    Posted October 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    This only works if you’re working with two different files. How can you open sheets within the same file on “two” separate monitors. I cant seem to make this work.

    • karen
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Ronald, you can certainly open two worksheets from the safe file using the same steps I outlined above. The only thing you CANNOT do is edit both worksheets at the same time. When you open the second instance of the same file on another monitor, you will see a message saying that the file is locked for editing and that you can only open it as “Read only”. One caveat is that I have tried this only using the Excel 2010 on Windows 7. I don’t have a copy of Excel 2013 on my machine so I was not able to test it and see if it works on Excel 2013.

  52. cyber kat
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    but what if I want to open two separate already existing excel workbooks. I just want them each in a separate monitor.

    • karen
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kat, you need to launch a new instance of Excel and then just open that existing workbook. Hope that helps!

      • nancy grijalva
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Is there a way around opening a “new”excel sheet and dragging the existing file over?

        • karen
          Posted December 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Hi Nancy! After you open a second instance of Excel, you’ll now have two different applications running on your machine. This means that you cannot just drag one file in one instance to the second one. What you can do, however, is close that file in the first instance and then re-open that same file in the second instance. That should be really easy!

  53. Skipp
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you. This works.

    • karen
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome Skipp! Glad I was able to help 🙂

  54. Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    This tip will make a project that I’ll be starting infinitely easier. Thanks for taking the time to post it. Julie

    • karen
      Posted September 27, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Glad I was able to help you, Julie!

  55. Daryl
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Very Helpful!! Thanks!

  56. Roman Wonsul
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Worked like a charm. Thank you!!!

    • karen
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      So glad it worked for you, Roman! That’s great!

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