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How to Open Two Excel Files Side by Side (3 Easy Ways)

At times, it is very handy if we can work on multiple files side by side. This results in easier visualization of data, better handling of large sets of similar data and even comparing large sets of data. In this article, I will show you how to open two Excel files side by side.


How to Open Two Excel Files Simultaneously

For Excel 2010 and Older Version Users:

The Multiple Document Interface is present in Excel 2010 and older versions (MDI). In these versions, multiple windows are nested under the main window with this interface, but only the head window has a toolbar/menu bar. So all workbooks are opened in the same application window and have a shared ribbon user interface (toolbar in Excel 2003 and older).

If you are a user of Excel 2010 or earlier versions, you can open multiple Excel files in one of the following ways.

1. Using Excel Icon from the Taskbar

  • First of all, you open the first Excel file normally.
  • Then open the second Excel file in one of the following ways.

👉 Right-click on the Excel icon in the taskbar and open a new MS Excel window. Then go to the File tab, click on the Open button, and then browse your second file. Then open it.

👉 Press the SHIFT key. Hold it and click on the Excel icon in your taskbar. Then do the same as in the first technique.

You can also open the second Excel file in any known way.

2. Create a Desktop Shortcut

  • Go to the search bar of your Windows and type excel.exe, then right-click on the icon and click on the Open file location button.
  • It will take you to the location.
  • Then right-click on the EXCEL or EXCEL.EXE icon and click on Create shortcut option from the context menu.

open Excel File with Shortcut

A desktop shortcut will be created this way. Now, whenever you need to open a new Excel file, double-click on the shortcut, and open a new file with the File tab > Open button > Browse sequence.

For Excel 2013 | 2016 | 2019 | 365 Users:

If you use any of these versions, whenever you want, you can open two or more Excel files the way you opened the first Excel file.

Read More: [Fixed!] Unable to Open Multiple Excel Files (8 Reasons with Solutions)


3 Easy Ways to Open Two Excel Files Side by Side

Now, if you want to work with two Excel files at the same time, you will find it useful if both of them are present in front of you. Here are three quick ways to do that.

1. Use Win and Arrow Keys for Windows 10 or Higher Versions

If you are a Windows 10 (or higher) user, you can open (we have already discussed how to open multiple Excel files) and place two Excel workbooks using Win + Arrow keys.

Steps:

  • Open the first workbook.
  • Click on it and press the Win+ → (Wind + Right Arrow keys) to place it on the right side of the monitor.
  • Open the second workbook.
  • Then press the Win+ ← (Wind + Left Arrow keys) to place it on the left side of the monitor.

Open Two Excel Files Side by Side


2. Use the ‘Arrange All’ Button from the View Ribbon

This is another easy way. Just follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Open the Excel workbooks.
  • Be in any of them. Then go to the View tab and click on the Arrange All button from the Window group.

Open Two Excel Files Side by Side

  • The following pop-up window will appear. Choose from the options according to your need. We have chosen Horizontal here.
  • Then press OK.

Here is the result.


3. Open Two Excel Files and Place Them Manually Side by Side

You can also open two workbooks and place them side by side with the Restore Down button in the top-right corner. Then drag manually and place the Excel windows in the desired positions.

Read More: [Solved] Excel Files Not Opening in Separate Windows (4 Solutions)


How to Open Two Windows for the Same Excel File (and Same Sheet) Side by Side

What if you want to open two separate windows for the same worksheet in the same Excel workbook? Well, it’s not difficult at all. Just follow the following simple steps to do that with ease. 👇

Steps:

  • First, click on the View tab from the ribbon. Subsequently, click on New Window from the Window group.

Add new window to view side by side

  • As a result, you will see that a new window of your workbook has been created. You will understand this if you notice the workbook name on the top bar. You will see that a hyphen(-) and a number would be appended to your main file name.

  • At this time, if you go to the View tab again, you will see that the View Side by Side option is accessible now in the Window group. Click on this option.

Open two Excel files side by side

Thus, you will see the two Excel files side by side now. By default, they remain side by side at Tiled orientation.

Two Excel files are opened side by side

  • Now, if you want to open the two files side by side at Horizontal, Vertical, or Cascade orientation, you can also do this easily. For doing this, follow the first two steps above.
  • Afterward, Click on the View tab from the ribbon. Subsequently, click on Arrange All from the Window group.

Change side by side orientation

  • At this time, the Arrange Windows window will appear. Now, choose the orientation you want from the Arrange Windows window. Subsequently, click on the OK button.

  • As we have chosen Horizontal here, you will see the two files will open side by side at horizontal orientation now.

Two Excel files are opened side by side at horizontal orientation

Another thing, you can also open multiple workbooks side by side following these steps above.

On the other hand, if there are multiple workbooks, but you want to compare two workbooks at a time, you can do that too. In that case, you have to click on the View Side by Side from the Window group of the View tab. Subsequently, you will see that the Compare Side by Side window has opened. At this time, you have to select the file that you want to compare with the active file.

Read More: Unable to Open Two Excel Files at the Same Time (13 Probable Solutions)


View Two Different Worksheets Side by Side

Now, if you need to see two different worksheets of an Excel workbook at a time, you can do that pretty easily. Follow the steps above to view two Excel files side by side. Then, click on a worksheet in one window. And, click on another worksheet in the other window. Thus, there will be two Excel sheets at two windows side by side.

View two worksheets side by side


Scroll Two Excel Files Side by Side Synchronously

Now, sometimes it is handier if we can scroll two Excel files synchronously. It is a great thing for comparing two Excel files. To do this, you will have to click on the Synchronous Scrolling option from the Window group of the View tab.

Enable synchronous scrolling of two excel files side by side

Now, you will see that, if you scroll inside one Excel file, the other gets scrolled in the same way too.


Things to Remember

  • Keep in mind, that if you open the two files by clicking on the New Window option, then the windows are synced. Both of the windows actually represent the same file here. It means that, if you make changes in one excel file, the other gets changed too.
  • You can toggle between the windows using ALT + Tab.
  • If you want to close any of the files when remaining side by side, it is better to close the last numbered file first.

Conclusion

So, I have described the step-by-step guidelines to open two Excel files side by side here. You can follow these easy steps to accomplish your targets in this regard. I hope you find this article a great help. If you have any further queries or recommendations, please feel free to contact me. And, visit ExcelDemy for many more articles like this.


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Tanjim Reza

Tanjim Reza

Hello! I am Md. Tanjim Reza Tanim. I have just completed my B.Sc from Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering Department, BUET. Currently, I am working as an Excel & VBA content developer. I always had a great fascination with Microsoft Excel and its cool functions and formulas. Here, I am learning every day about new functions and formulas and working on applying MS Excel to the analysis of our real-life problems. I have great enthusiasm for learning any kind of new things, writing articles, and solving real-life problems.

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