How to open 2 Microsoft documents using 2 instances of Word rather than one?

Posted on 2012-08-16
Last Modified: 2012-08-21

Found that the behavior of Microsoft Word 2003 is differ on 2 of our colleagues.  Both of them are using Windows XP sp3 and Microsoft Word 2003 sp3.  And both are set to group all same instances as one icon on task bar.

One PC when open more than one Word documents, each word document will open one instance of Microsoft Word, so on the bottom task bar, we can see 2 MS word instances.  Even though XP will group them as one icon on task bar.  If I move the mouse to the MS Word icon, it will prompt out 2 separate instances of word documents.

While on the other PC, if it opens the same 2 Word documents, it will only use one instance of MS Word.  And on the task bar, if I move the mouse to the Word icon, it will only prompt out one instance of word document.  And if I click in the document, I can switch to the second document via Window option on the MS Word tool bar.

May I know how to alter this behavior of MS Word?  I wish to change it to one Word document use one instance of MS Word rather than put all documents into one instance of MS Word.  It is because if I close the MS Word, the one-instance case will try to close all documents in it and prompt for save before quit.  While the multiple instance case, other opened documents will not be affected.  Kindly please help.

Question by:StanleyLMW
    LVL 89

    Expert Comment

    by:John Hurst
    On the problem PC, look at Word 2003, Tools, Options, View and make sure the setting "Windows in Taskbar" is selected (checked).  

    See if that helps and please let us know.

    Also, you posted about using Outlook 2003 and Excel 2007 in another post. Are you mixing Office versions?  I don't recommend this because it can create issues.  

    .... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    I seem to recall that Windows only groups icons in task bar when there is not enough room to display them individually.  It is, therefore, possible that you are still looking at one instance of MS Word, but the icons are not grouped.

    Couple thing to try:
    1. on the machine where the MS Word icons are not being grouped, open up bunch of additional applications and see if at some point Windows starts grouping the icons

    2. You can use Task Manager (or better yet, SysInternals (now Microsoft) Process Explorer) to see if Windows actually starts two separate Word processes.
    LVL 76

    Expert Comment

    It isn't a good idea to have multiple instances of Word running. In fact it isn't easy without programming.

    If you do, you will get messages regarding the saving  Normal template when you close documents.
    LVL 27

    Accepted Solution

    thinkpads_user gave you the correct answer already, but I like to add to that.

    This document link describes what you need (as did thinkpads_user).

    You could technically also load a document with a different version of Word as you may have done, or as a different user if you use the command line "runas" to load a separate user instance of Winword.exe, but that's much more of a kludge.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment


    Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thx.  ^^

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