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Force Windows 7 to open excel documents in separate windows

Force Windows 7 to open excel documents in separate windows

Posted on Feb 11, 2010 by Paul White

I love windows 7, but I hate the way they open documents under a singlewindow.  I googled for a long time to find a fix for this.  Finally Ifound the solution.  If you want to force Windows 7 to open yourApplications especially Excel, Word, Internet Explorer, Firefox in anew window, then I have the solution.  But first lets try to understand why Windows 7 does this.

What does Windows 7 open documents under the same window?

They do this because by keeping your documents open under the same window, they are able to only open 1 process to run the application.  When you open a separate windows this is supposed to greatly increase memory usage.  But the chances are if you are running Windows 7 you have a ton of memory at your disposible.  I personally have 6 GB and while I write this with multiple applications open I am only using 2.5 GB. 

How do I force Windows 7 to open documents under separate windows?

You will need to make some new registry entries.  Before you do this, I highly recommend you backup your registry.  Changing the wrong thing in your registry can cause major issues with your computer.  However if you follow these instructions you should be fine.  Just to clarify if you wreck your system I take no responsibility.
You need to open your Registry Editor
Click on the Start ( windows circle button ) button
Directly above the circle button you will see a text box that says
"Search Programs and Files"
Inside this you need to type "regedit" without the double quotes, and press "ENTER"

Next you need to navigate to the following registry entry

Regedit Excel Shell Open Command

The (default) value will be something like this:

"C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice12EXCEL.EXE" /e

And you'll want to append a "%1" to the end of that, making it:

"C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice12EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"

Next you'll want to rename the command key, which is right below the (Default) key, to command2 or something else.

Next you'll need to rename the ddeexec key here to ddeexec2 or something else:


This will make the change for the Excel 97-2003 filetype.

If youwant to do the same thing for Excel 2007 files, you'll need to make thechanges to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12 key.

After you have done this your Registry should like similar to thi
Regedit Excel Shell Open Command

Hopefully this helps everyone out.

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Categories associated with Force Windows 7 to open excel documents in separate windows


Sunny Kalid | Mar 13, 2010 1:09 PM

Thank you. This definitely works. This is the only way I found to open two Excel files in separate windows under Windows 7.

In the value of (default), /e can be deteled. This is similar to the operation in Windows XP. The value reads:
"C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice12EXCEL.EXE" "%1"
Matt | Apr 13, 2010 3:42 AM

Thanks a lot worked fine! Will this also work for Powerpoint 2007 in Windows 7? Or is that a one-instance software only?

Thanks in advance!
Jonni | May 27, 2010 2:08 AM



Eric | Jun 8, 2010 3:06 PM
I have heard that the problem with this solution is that if you open an excel file that has spaces in the name, that errors will occur. Has anyone tested this?
CG | Jun 28, 2010 1:42 PM
Awesome!  This problem was driving me nuts!  Found solution for WinXP but Windows 7 doesn't have the option to edit your file association. This works great.  Thanks.
Kenton | Oct 11, 2010 10:35 AM
I tried the solution above for the Win7 Excel 2010 environment and was unsuccessful (using the same guide lines for Office14). I tried the following change and was able to open the two Excel windows properly.

Works for
Excel 2010 & Win7 (could work for 07 not tested)
Open Registry Editor ver6.1

-Go to Branch:

(Note: it doesn't matter what is listed under default)

-Change the value command and under data remove /dde (above listed /e) and add after existing string the following code below

/p "C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"

(Note: /p switch will ignore the (default) open settings)

-Go to Branch:

-Rename ddeexec2

Hope you are successful and always backup your registry before changing.
Shane | Oct 19, 2010 9:04 AM
I'm using Windows Vista with Excel 2010.
The Fix your showing doesn't work with this conbination.
i have tried all the above fixes. with or without the  /p

"C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"
Excel.Sheet.12shellopenddeexec2  ( or ddeexec)

"C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"

However, if i rename the Excel.Sheet.8shellOpenddeexec to 
while leaveing the 

I will have the result you talk about..
however, The spread sheet i double clicked on will not open but the Multiple shells will.

i have played with the Reg changes back and forth with a number of combinations with no results. 

Everytime i double click on a sheet, they all open in the same shell.
Pitseleh | Dec 9, 2010 2:51 PM
This it great. Thank you!
Question, what about csv files? I figure you simply make the same adjustment to the csv registry setting but I can't seem to find it. Can you pinpoint it for me?

Edgar | Dec 30, 2010 11:16 AM
Thanks! it works!
lach | Jan 30, 2011 12:53 AM

Great, thanks! Worked beautifully.

Kami | Mar 24, 2011 3:55 PM
This rocks!  The steps listed above are a god send!  Thank you so much!
Brian | Apr 21, 2011 7:57 AM
Modifying the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12 key works for Excel 2010 on Win 7 Pro 64 bit as well. It looks slightly different though after modification:
"C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /dde "%1"

Works perfectly :D
dino | Apr 25, 2011 11:19 AM
Worked exactly as advertised.  Thanks!

I'd migrated several heavy VBA/Excel apps from XP Office 2003 to Win7 Office 2003.  These apps need to run in their own instances of Excel to avoid errors.  Always did this in XP by making similar changes in Folder Options, Edit File Type, Open, Edit:
"Application used to perform action:" contained same text shown in this example for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.8shellOpencommand.
"DDE Message:" value needed to be blank, which renaming the ddeexec key would effectively accomplish.

Thanks again!
Chris | Apr 29, 2011 8:03 PM
Thank you so much! 
Bruce | May 11, 2011 9:37 AM
Good stuff - thanks!
J. Mills | May 16, 2011 12:39 PM
Thanks! Works great!
Wayne Riesterer | Jun 12, 2011 8:59 PM
Thanks so much for this :)

I also applied the same changes to:
  • Excel.OpenDocumentSpreadsheet.12
  • Excel.SheetBinaryMacroEnabled.12
  • Excel.SheetMacroEnabled.12
I am using Microsoft Excel 2010 on Windows 7 (Ultimate).

It works great and this is going to save me so much time.

Best wishes - Wayne Riesterer
Anton | Jun 15, 2011 12:00 PM
Thanks for this, works perfectly Win7 64bit Office 2010. I guess the MS QA team for Excel only got issued with one screen each. :)
neil | Jun 15, 2011 2:04 PM
I had the same problem Eric had. When I try to open any Excel files with spaces in the name, I get several subsequent error messages stating that the file could not be opened. So If I have a file called "NEILS EXCEL DOC.xlsx", I would get three errors:
Cannot open neils.xlsx, check location and try again.
Cannot open excel.xlsx, check location and try again.
Cannot open doc.xlsx, check location and try again.

Im still tweaking the registry entries, but in the mean time has anyone else found a solution for this?
Anton | Jun 15, 2011 2:31 PM

@Neil, this is not happening on win7 with office 2010, maybe a wild shot but try to wrap your parameter with single quotes like "'%1'"

Mark | Jun 17, 2011 2:05 PM
Just a note - if you don't want to modify the registry, you can open an instance of Excel, then open another instance, then bring your files up.  When you open Excel (not a known spreadsheet but a new process), you will create multiple threads... thus allowing you to do side-by-side and other functions in Win 7, etc.

If you're using Win 7, right-click the Excel icon in your task bar (if you have it pinned there) and just select "Microsoft Excel 2010", then do the same operation again - voila, two instances of Excel...
Greg | Jun 21, 2011 11:53 AM
Fix did not work with W7 and Office 10. I looked at how Word was set in the registry and used that syntax along with the initial step of renaming the key ddeexec. Here's what I have:
(Default): "C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /n "%1"
command: xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /n "%1"

Thanks for getting me pointed in the right direction.

Von | Jun 23, 2011 4:36 PM
I found an easier, and safer way....

If you just open your send file from the first version of Excel, the system will keep them together.

To fix this, all you have to do is go to Start Menu and open up Excel again. Then you have two versions open. Voila!
V!ctor | Jun 24, 2011 6:31 PM
Fellas, no registry tweak needed that might render your MS Office application not opening files with spaces, etc...

Simple work-around (for Win7): Open one of your desired Excel files. Then, right-click the Excel icon in your task bar and click the "Microsoft Excel 2010" (if using v2010) option. This launches a new instance of Excel, aside from the currently open document. From here you can File>Open... your second file, etc.

The same can be done by right-click IE, and other programs. I use it all the time.
mark dowson | Jul 1, 2011 8:46 AM

That fix is familiar from XP, where it can be implemented via the file associations interface.

Unfortunately, my new company supplied laptop (Windows 7, Office 2007) comes with an essentially hard-wired group policy which prevents me from making registry edits even though I have admin privileges.

Any suggestions for a work-around?


Paul | Jul 1, 2011 2:58 PM
You will need to edit your group policy in order to access Regedit.
If your company is paranoid about security and won't give you access, then I recommend you tell your company's IT guy what edit you want in your registry and why.  It would take 5 minutes for them to remotely login to your system and make this change for you.
Mark Dowson | Jul 2, 2011 12:40 PM

Unfortunately, editing the group policy isn't an option. It is a very big company which is (rightly) very paranoid about security. Not even our site workstation/laptop support group can use regedit, remotely or otherwise.

If you ever discover another workaround I'd be delighted to hear.

cypher | Jul 25, 2011 7:55 AM
I'm currently having the issue where Excel files with spaces in the path won't open from by double-clicking on them.  Any suggestions?
cypher | Jul 25, 2011 10:24 AM
Was able to figure it out.  Just put quotes around the %1 so it should look like this for Win7 Office 2010: 
"C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /dde "%1"
Martin | Aug 3, 2011 4:22 AM
I have Excel 2010 and when I open new excel it's working fine, but when I'm opening existing files (double click), it's still open in same Excel window. I need to open new Excel and then open current file in separate window. Any idea how to modify the system to open current files in separate Excel window after double-click? (Win7-64bitExcel 2010) Thanks. M. 
Charlie Harris | Aug 6, 2011 2:50 AM

Using Win7 and Exce 2000

Being going very well with no problems. Now has started showing a message when I try to open Excel.   Windows cannot access the specified file or device....
Have tried a lot of things but still have not got Excel to open.Reinstalled Office 2000, tried to get the registry changed get same message, changed setting in IE etc.  Is there a way to open Excel so I can change the dde settings etc.  Word is working ok.  Could a file be a problem, how do I find which one?




Charlie | Aug 24, 2011 1:54 PM
After some scewing around, I found out that all one needs to do is middle click (or roller click) the tray icon, and a new instance of the application comes up.  I love these unadvertised features.
Jose Soto | Sep 16, 2011 12:47 PM
After applying this fix, there are times when it reverts back to opening in the Parent/Child windows all over again.  I noted in the registry that a new ddeexec folder appeared:


Excel.Sheet.8shellOpenddeexec2 (this was after I renamed original folder as instructed)
Excel.Sheet.8shellOpenddeexec   (this appeared back)

Also the quotation marks in the (Default) Command line  and the end of the line "%1" disappeared.  So it went back to being how it was before I made any changes, yet the old and renamed folders are still there.

Hopefully I'm not too confusing and excuse my lack of terminology.  Just what I noted on my system and can't figure out why it keeps doing it.  I.E. It reverts back to opening the parent and child windows.  Thanks for any feedback/help.
Joshua | Sep 23, 2011 3:35 PM
There is a better and safer way than anything mentioned on here. Just do this: - Office Button (in Excel) -> Excel Options - Click the Advanced Tab - Under General (towards the bottom), check “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)”
Roman | Sep 27, 2011 8:32 AM
Joshua - your manual is bad, because with this setup, Excel gives errors ;-)
Glenn | Sep 27, 2011 10:04 AM
I'm using Excel 2010 in Win 7 Pro. Kenton's changes posted on 10/11 did not work as is, but when I combined them with the original solution, got it to work. Thanks! This is awesome and an answer I've been looking for for a while!
Joshua | Sep 27, 2011 10:54 AM
Roman - This solution works for me as well as several of my co-workers.  It's how I have been doing it for a while.  We have Windows 7 and Office 2007 on some and 2010 on others.  Sorry it doesn't work for your setup.
Thom | Oct 7, 2011 11:08 AM
I have the same issue as Jose Soto, and have now done it again for the 6th time ;)

It appears to occur when Windows updates. I am not too sure what is going on to where it finds the registry to make it revert back to the original Parent/Child, but it is very perculiar.
Conrad | Oct 24, 2011 3:51 PM
Thanks Greg. Your fix worked the best for the Win7 Excel 2010 combination. "Fix did not work with W7 and Office 10. I looked at how Word was set in the registry and used that syntax along with the initial step of renaming the key ddeexec. Here's what I have: (Default): "C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /n "%1" command: xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /n "%1"
qracq | Oct 27, 2011 2:56 PM
I'd like to know if someone can get an attachment in MS Outlook to open in a new instance of excel? Also, in Windows XP, all you had to do is click in the particular instance of excel where you wanted the attachment to open, which is the feature I'd like back.
conrad van dyk | Oct 27, 2011 4:08 PM
I've made the changes to the registry which seems to have worked great but I now find that Excel now opens a new "copy" of each file I open instead of the actual origional. In other words, the file is opened and forced to save under a new name in your default file location instead of in the origional file location with it's origional name.
nxlarry | Nov 3, 2011 4:46 AM
STEP1: Just change the command to (don't even need to change the default):
xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /e "%1"

STEP2: Rename the ddeexec to ddeexec2

Conrad | Nov 3, 2011 5:00 AM
nxLarry. THANKS...!!! works great. Just to summarise for new readers You need to open your Registry Editor ("regedit") Next you need to navigate to the following registry entry HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12 -> shell -> Open -> command Then modify the “Command” entry from: xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /dde To: xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /e "%1" then navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12 -> shell -> Open -> deexec Rename it to “deexec2” Now close the lot and test-drive it.
Todd | Nov 8, 2011 9:45 AM
This was... the best thing I've found in the internet this week.  So helpful, thank you so very much.  And thanks to Kenton for the Office14 update.
Kim | Nov 8, 2011 12:51 PM
Thanks to all.  I have Win 7 Ultimate, 64-bit, 4G RAM. The excel thing was driving me crazy. I have 2007 and 2010 installed. I was just opening the 2 spreadsheets I wanted in each application. But now right clicking task bar icon and getting what I want in each is much better.

Frank | Nov 10, 2011 11:31 AM
If you do not have the access to do this another neat trick is to open multiple blank spread sheets (which excel opens a new window each time you click on excel.exe) and drag the file you are opening to the blank document... If possible the fix stated here is more simplistic once put into place. But if your work computer limits your access this is a nice work around. :)
Conrad | Nov 15, 2011 2:17 AM
The problem with all these other "tricks" is that none allow you to make propper use of the desktop searches where you would open 'n document directly from the search and then just save your changes. To solve this, the registry change Nov 3, 2011 is the only real solution: You need to open your Registry Editor ("regedit") Next you need to navigate to the following registry entry: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12 -> shell -> Open -> command Then modify the “Command” entry from: xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /dde To: xb'BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /e "%1" then navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12 -> shell -> Open -> deexec Rename it to “deexec2” Now close the lot and test-drive it.
Huw Rees | Nov 21, 2011 9:22 AM
You freaking legend - you have no idea how many methods I've tried to use to fix this, but this is the only one that does! Thanks so much!
Chandra | Nov 30, 2011 4:06 AM
Thanks for this! Works great. Can anyone suggest how you would do this for .pdf files? Even they open multiple files under a single process. Thanks in advance.
TommyKay | Dec 1, 2011 3:42 PM
Worked perfectly on Vista and Excel 2007. 

THANKS A BUNCH. I was pulling out more hair than usual. It was a blunder for Microsoft to set up Word and Excel differently.

Am I the only one that thinks that Microsoft products are becoming less and less useful through silly mistakes like this?
ThankYou | Dec 7, 2011 4:29 PM
It works perfectly! I was working with excel a lot lately, and one window for all the files was really annoying. Thanks a lot!!!
TimR | Dec 9, 2011 4:26 PM
Anyone else not getting this to work still? Lot's of great ideas here, and seems to find a way to work for many. I am on Win 7 Pro with Office 2010 (64 bit). I have tried every variation on this page, and a few that weren't suggested. No matter which way I change it, the same behavior occurs, no new instances are started when another document is opened. Is there anything else that can be affecting this? I've tried several also from other forums, and nothing at all seems to have any effect. You would think this would be an option from MS in the myriad they have built in.
Huwbutts | Dec 9, 2011 5:30 PM
TimR - follow Kenton/Shane's instructions, make sure you read them very carefully though; I misread it and made mistakes before getting it working. Same setup as yours btw.
Chandra | Dec 10, 2011 2:50 AM
Hello ALL Any idea what changes to make for Acrobat reader to create multiple processes while opening .pdf files? Many thanks in advance.
TimR | Dec 12, 2011 2:03 PM
Thanks Huwbutts for the reply, but I tried that again and did notice a change in Kenton's instructions that I tried. No effect. I tried some of the variations that Shane mentioned and my results seem to be the same as what Shane stated: "i have played with the Reg changes back and forth with a number of combinations with no results. Everytime i double click on a sheet, they all open in the same shell." Any other ideas? It seems Shane had tried a few things different, but didn't really get the right behavior either.
Huwbutts | Dec 12, 2011 2:09 PM
Btw, this only works for .xlsx files for me, not .xls.
TimR | Dec 12, 2011 2:26 PM
I need it to work with both, but tried it again with both of Shane's options for 2 .XLSX files, and both still open in the same instance/shell. I have this as my current registry setup: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12shellOpencommand Command Key Data: xb'BV6!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /p "C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice14EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1" Renamed HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12shellOpenddeexec to ddexec1 or ddeexec2 - no difference in results Renamed other key as: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.8shellOpenddeexec2 Leaving this key the same: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.8shellOpencommand with Data as: xb'BV6!!!!!!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>VijqBof(Y8'w!FId1gLQ /e "%1"
TimR | Dec 12, 2011 2:29 PM
Sorry that message ran all together. I couldn't seem to get a ctrl+enter or alt+enter to work for a return, and previous line returns also ran together. Tried using a shift+return and seemed to lay the response out fine in the browser - but stripped that formatting in the actual post. If it is unclear - I will be glad to re-post the info formatted better if someone can direct me on how to enter the line returns better.
Huwbutts | Dec 12, 2011 2:42 PM

I've put my keys that work (at least for xlsx) there. Use at your own risk.
Elias | Dec 20, 2011 9:06 AM
Jose Soto, You can make a .reg file so that you do not need to repeat this procedure each time Windows reverts the registry. This works on my pc: Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.8shellOpen] @="&Open" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.8shellOpencommand] @=""C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE" "%1"" "command"=- [-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.8shellOpenddeexec] [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12shellOpen] @="&Open" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12shellOpencommand] @=""C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE" "%1"" "command"=- [-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTExcel.Sheet.12shellOpenddeexec]
Chris | Jan 12, 2012 2:11 PM
You can do this without a registry hack! Go to MS Office Button > Excel Options (at the bottom next to "Exit Excel" Click "Advanced" Under "General" Check the box for "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange" Excel files will now open in seperate instances of Excel. This works the same with Office 2010, except you use File > Options instead of Office button > Excel options
Stefan | Jan 18, 2012 3:37 AM

My setup: WIN7 64bit, Office 2010 32bit, SharePoint 2007

I had basically the same problem, but above mentioned solutions didn’t work in all cases (for example when opening both files from SharePoint … )


I applied these steps [Paul White steps from above]:

-  To these branches:



Sub branch: Edit, New, Open, OpenAsReadOnly, ViewProtected


This resulted to opening all excel sheets in different windows.

Thank you for all your help, I would not figure it out myself :) 

Dominika | Jan 25, 2012 10:44 AM
I used KEnton's advice and everythign works beautifully! Thank you man.
ConradvD | Jan 30, 2012 5:55 AM
Had now had the same issue as described by Jose Soto on 16-09-2011. After one of those "Forced software updates" that certain companies have, the "deexec" entry was back and things again didn't work as it should. I now renamed the new deexec to deexec3 and the problem is solved. It seems renaming this entry has a significant impact. Thanks Jose.
Arthur | Feb 8, 2012 6:53 AM
Dude it woooorks :D Thanx a lottt !!!
Allen | Feb 16, 2012 9:44 PM
Thanks all this is what makes MS tolerable.
Mary | Feb 21, 2012 8:49 PM
YEAH!!! This IS the only way that ACTUALLY WORKS!! Thank you thank you thank you!
chris | Feb 23, 2012 2:08 PM

win7, office 2010

i've got it working when opening an existing document from local drive.

a problem that i have is that we use an online file system so exel is launched from IE.  any idea how to change it there?

Graham | Mar 15, 2012 5:16 AM
Also works on Windows XP with Office 2007.Thanks.
konstantin | Mar 28, 2012 3:18 PM
FOR CSV FILES, look for Excel.CSV on the right part of the screen (in the regedit window) and apply similar changes.

Hope this helps.
Chakri | Mar 31, 2012 2:40 PM

The following would work for Win7 64 bit,(right click excel and open in new instance submenu)
Open a notepad and paste the following and save it as:- Excel OpenInNewInstance.reg
and right click merge…. you are done.. right click your excels and open in new instance

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@=”Open In NewInstance”

@=””C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” ”%1”"

@=”Open In NewInstance”

@=””C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” ”%1”"
Mitesh | May 2, 2012 2:21 AM
when it open in new window it ask me to save . that i not want and i make all chanhe as you declare.

please help me.....
Mickey | May 29, 2012 12:20 PM

Just to make sure everyone is aware - this registry hack breaks functionality like copy/paste, linking, etc.  Excel 2010 and previous releases are supposed to work within the same window by design.

Use at your own risk if the positives outweigh the negatives for you.

Sarcastic | Aug 27, 2012 9:30 AM
Sad thing is...
Microsoft actually has this on their own Support Website:

How to open Excel files in separate windows in Windows 7

This applies to MS Office Excel 2007 + 2010 (for WinXP/7).

You'd think the highly paid MS Office software engineers were smart enough to fix their own programming error!

Jenny | Sep 28, 2012 2:16 AM

Paul I think I love you! I hate the fact that Excel 2010 opens in one single window in Win7 but presents several program icons in the activity field. But all it took was a search on Google and there your blog post were like an angel sent from heaven! ;) Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

jcrew2012 | Dec 20, 2012 2:41 PM

This works in regards to Excel opening in new instances opposed to opening in default parent excel window.

However, customers are no longer able to successfully open excel attachments in Outlook 2010. Unchecking the option to ignore other applications that use DDE allows Excel attachments to open successfully in Outlook but then the behavior reverts back to opening excel workbooks in the parent workbook instead of a new instance. Maybe I am missing something here, has anyone run into this issue?

aaa2012 | Jan 3, 2013 8:25 AM

I'm getting the same issue with outlook 2007.
Dami | Jan 9, 2013 12:19 PM
Kenton! It worked for me! So excited!
Pronost | Feb 14, 2013 7:21 AM
This even worked on Windows7 64bit with Office2010 64bit.  The key content does not look exactly like his example but just append the "%1" and it will work.  I have been meaning to look for this fix for a log time.  Laziness on my part.
Dave Brocklebank | Feb 20, 2013 9:32 AM
Paul, excellent clear description and it worked fine.

I have seen many Forums which say it is impossible to fix this, so this is great to finally get Excel 2007 opening in separate windows on Windows 7.

echoota | Apr 18, 2013 12:52 PM
I just made these changes in XP, and tested it; seems to work great even with spaces in the file name.  I'm using XP and Office 2010.  Thank you!
Jo | May 14, 2013 12:23 PM
Used Kenton's method and applied to Excel8, Excel12 both Open and OpenAsReadOnly.  Now Excel works as I want it to.  Thank you.
gtedenjr | Jun 11, 2013 5:21 PM

Help.. Opening Excel 2010 spreadsheets in their own individual windows. ( I do not want to open multiple windows in one spreadsheet )

 New computer installed today.  I am now .using microsoft office professional 2010 version ( 32 bit)  14.0.6129.5000 with windows 7 professional (64 bit) with  service pack 1  .  I need to have  multiple spreadsheets open  at the same time.  Some of the data comes from web so i do not have the luxury of simply opening a new instance of excel for each new influx of data.  I was doing fine with windows nt / office 2010 and reg edit fixes.  The registry no longer appears  ( at least with my skills)  to be able to accept those type of changes.  Appreciate any guidance.
sergey | Jan 15, 2014 12:33 AM

Hi! Sorry from my english, from Ru :)

Do you know resource, where described this keys: /e, /dde?

Bruno | Feb 19, 2014 3:53 AM

Awsome! After months of frustration each time I had to open several excels (every day), I spent about 2 days to reach your answer and it works!

Stupid Microsoft peoples!!! (to be politicaly correct) They have to learn to simplify things instread of making them complicated every release. They never learn human relation and they never heard peoples don't like changes like that. Maybe should we gather money to send them to Apple dev center to learn how changes can be introduce to avoid peoples to make suicides :-) I am ready to put 5 cents on that!

sergio | Mar 11, 2015 4:33 AM

may the heavens bless your offspring.
thank you so much!

John | Jul 18, 2015 9:05 PM

What about *.xlsm files?  Would like to do the same thing for them; the other 2 extensions above work great as listed, have been using these instructions for years.

Chad | May 30, 2016 11:39 AM

WOW...if I could send you paypal $ for this I WOULD...THANK YOU...amazing how these little things make your life so much easier!

Paul | May 30, 2016 12:01 PM

No Need Chad.  Glad this has helped others.  

Anon | Nov 1, 2016 5:41 PM
import sys
import win32com.client as win32

if __name__ == '__main__':
    if len(sys.argv) < 2:

    filepath = sys.argv[1]

    excel = win32.DispatchEx('Excel.Application')
    excel.Visible = True



Build it with pyinstaller. Go "Open with" and set the exe as the default.

Brent | Nov 18, 2020 11:27 AM

Thank you so so so so much this is a life saver and works like a charm!

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