Viewing Multiple Workbooks: Synchronous Scrolling in Excel

Sometimes we work with more than one Excel workbook at a time. In this short article, I will show how you can view and use Excel Synchronous Scrolling in multiple workbooks at the same time.

At any given time, one and only one workbook window is the active window. The active window accepts your input and commands. To work in a different workbook rather than the active one, you have to make it active.

In today’s post, we will be actively discussing ways in which you can efficiently shift between Excel workbooks.

Right now three workbooks are open on my machine.

Multiple Workbooks, Excel, Scroll, View

Click on the image to get a full view

They are Indian population distribution, Australia Weather, and USA Population Distribution.


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4 Ways to View and Scroll Multiple Excel Workbooks at the Same Time


1. When the Workbooks Are Not Maximized

If the current window is not maximized, then you can click another window to activate it, if the window is visible. But this is not a good choice as most of the time; you work with a maximized workbook.


2. Using Keyboard Shortcut to View Multiple Workbooks

Now we’ll some easy keyboard shortcuts to view multiple workbooks at a time quickly.


1. Using CTRL + TAB Keys

The second way is that you can press CTRL and TAB keys on your keyboard to travel from one workbook to another one.

Multiple Workbooks, Excel, Scroll, View

Click on the image to get a full view

You can select your target file by continuously pressing CTRL + TAB to select one and then release both buttons at the same time to activate that workbook.

To travel in reverse order, you can press CTRL + SHIFT and TAB buttons on your keyboard.

Note: To view and scroll the workbook files in this way, all the workbooks must be open and will not be minimized.


2. Using CTRL + F6 Keys

The third way is to use CTRL and F6 keys in your keyboard to travel from one workbook to another. It functions similar to the CTRL + TAB, but this time you don’t see a screen like that above. So the workbooks are in the order you opened them and will be activated in the same order as you hit CTL + F6.

It doesn’t give you an option to open.


3. Using Windows + TAB Keys

Another way is- to press the Windows + TAB Keys at a time and soon you will get all the opened workbook’s overview at a time.


3. Using Switch Windows Command

The easiest way to travel from one workbook to another one is using the “Switch Windows” drop-down command in the Window group in the View Ribbon.

Just click on this drop-down command, and you see the already opened workbooks are available on the list.

The active window has a tick mark next to it. You just click on the workbook that you want to select to work with.


4. Using Windows Taskbar

Another way is that you can click on the Excel icon in the Windows taskbar. You can then choose the workbook window from the pop-up list. Say let’s open the Australian Weather workbook. Just take your mouse pointer over the Excel icon in the taskbar.

Multiple Workbooks, Excel, Scroll, View

Click on the image to get a full view

Windows Operating System shows all the Excel files in a pop-up list. If you move your mouse pointer over those workbooks, you will see the preview. Select the workbook that you want to open. Here I am using Windows 10 operating system, if you use another version of windows, then the interface may be a little bit different.


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How to Show All the Open Workbooks on One Screen

Sometimes you might want to show the open workbooks on one screen. Watching more than one workbook on one screen makes it easier to compare data. You can do it manually by adjusting the size of the workbooks. That’s terrific and time-consuming. Excel has a command that makes your job easier.

Go to Arrange All command in the View ribbon under the Window command group.

Arrange Windows dialog box appears with four radio buttons and one checkbox option.

This is how the workbooks are arranged in cascade mode.

Multiple Workbooks, Excel, Scroll, View

Click on the image to get a full view

If any of your workbooks is minimized, this command will not work on that one.

With the vertical option, you see that three workbooks are arranged vertically on the screen. You can work with any workbook by just selecting it.

Multiple Workbooks, Excel, Scroll, View

Click on the image to get a full view

Read More: [Solved!] Vertical Scroll Not Working in Excel (9 Quick Solutions)


View Side by Side and Synchronous Scrolling in Excel Workbooks

Now observe the Window group of commands. When you will click on the View side by Side command and then select the other active workbook to compare. Another command Synchronous Scrolling will be enabled automatically.

View Side by Side and Synchronous Scrolling in Excel Workbooks

The windows are now arranged horizontally; now when you scroll in the active workbook (the one with highlighted name), you see both the workbooks are scrolling at the same time.

See, the Synchronous Scrolling command has activated, you can turn it on/off now.

Turn on/off Excel Synchronous Scrolling

In this case, your machine is not showing the Tabs and Ribbons properly. Maximize any of the workbooks and arrange them all again this time by Tiled.

Multiple Workbooks, Excel, Scroll, View

Click on the image to get a full view

The arrangement (Tiled) has similarities with the vertical setup. But there is a big difference between them. The total screen will be divided into two equal sizes and then the workbooks will be arranged in that two screens. I have three workbooks open, one is placed left of the screen, and the other two are placed right above and below on the screen.  Here, as well, you can enable auto-scrolling by viewing side by side.

So that’s it for today folks. Hope you learned a trick or two to make your work-life efficient and organized. Sometimes don’t you feel you could arrange your tasks like we arranged Excel above to increase productivity? I hope they will create that app soon. Until then Happy Excellence!


How to Fix If Excel Synchronous Scrolling Does Not Work Properly

Sometimes, you may find that the Synchronous Scrolling command is not working or the Excel Synchronous Scrolling has grayed out like the image below.

Solution:

The solution is- you will have to use the View Side by Side command first and Excel Synchronous Scrolling will automatically start.

How to Fix Synchronous Scrolling Not Working Problem

Here you see, we activated the side-by-side window by following the previous section and the Synchronous Scrolling has been enabled now. Now you can turn it on/off manually.

Enabled Excel Synchronous Scrolling

Another reason is if any active cell remains in your sheet then you will get the Synchronous Scrolling command disabled or grayed out. Look, we kept activating Cell B18 in our sheet that’s why the Synchronous Scrolling command is not working.

Solution:

The solution is simple, just release the active cell by pressing the ESC button or by clicking anywhere then the excel synchronous scrolling will work properly.


Quick Summary

-> You can travel from one workbook to another in four ways:

  1. Press CTRL + TAB keys on your keyboard to travel from one workbook to another. To travel in reverse order, press CTRL + SHIFT + TAB keys on your keyboard.
  2. Press CTRL + F6 keys on your keyboard to travel from one workbook to another and use CTRL + SHIFT + F6 keys to travel in reverse order.
  3. Click on the “Switch Windows” drop-down and from the list of the workbooks, choose the workbook that you want to activate.
  4. Or just move your mouse pointer over the Excel icon on the Windows Taskbar, you will see the preview of the open workbooks, and choose the workbook that you want to activate.

-> You can arrange the open workbooks in a single screen in four ways:

In the Arrange Windows dialog box, you will find the ways. They are:

  1. Tiled
  2. Horizontal
  3. Vertical
  4. And Cascade

-> There is a difference between Vertical and Tiled arrangements.

-> You can scroll two workbooks simultaneously. The method is:

  1. In the View tab, click on the Arrange All command. Arrange Windows dialog box appears.
  2. In the Arrange Windows dialog box, select the Vertical option. The workbooks are arranged vertically.
  3. Click on the View Side by Side command. Now scroll the active window, you see both the workbooks are scrolling simultaneously.

-> To deactivate simultaneous scrolling:

Go to the View tab Then Window group of commands And then deselect the Synchronous Scrolling option.

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Conclusion

That’s all for the article. I hope the procedures described above will be good enough to view and scroll multiple workbooks at the same time in Excel. Feel free to ask any question in the comment section and please give me feedback. Visit ExcelDemy to explore more.


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Kawser

Kawser

Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share them here. Not only how-to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned! You can checkout my courses at Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/user/exceldemy/

2 Comments
  1. Hey Kawser, that’s a very clever trick – thank you.

    It should simplify life of many people who need to compare data in Excel spreadsheets.

    Best,

    Piotr

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