Open an Excel workbook without restoring (un-minimizing) another one

Posted on 2014-02-28
Last Modified: 2014-03-18

When one or more Excel (2013) workbooks are running but minimized and a new or existing workbook is opened, is there any way to prevent an already-running workbook from:

a) appearing (un-minimizing) with it?
b) defining the location and dimensions of the newly-opened workbook?

For example, suppose you have the following workbooks:


and suppose that the first three are currently running but minimized. (Oh, and assume that they were opened in their respective order:  A.xls then B.xls then C.xls.)

Now, opening the 4th workbook (D.xls) (or a new workbook) seems to require that:

• C.xls first be un-minimized and
• D.xls acquire the same dimensions as C.xls and
• D.xls be positioned just down and to the right (cascading) of it.

Does anyone see a process in their Excel app which is different than that and if so, can you say where the settings can be found?

I seem to recall that in older versions of Excel, the position and dimensions of a new Excel workbook were determined by the last workbook that was closed — the same as is still the case for Notepad. That was much better imo.

Question by:WeThotUWasAToad
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

Faustulus earned 250 total points
ID: 39896696
Can we use another language for this discussion?
Like Windows?
When you open a workbook that workbook's active sheet appears in Window's active window. It takes the size of the active window.
When you open another workbook the same thing happens. It "opens in the active window". Therefore it takes the size of that window. In fact, the first one isn't minimized. It still has the same size, but it is hidden behind the first. If you click on its icon you call it back to the top of the pile, "bring it to the front" in Windows parlance. It retains the size of the active window.
Now, if you open a third workbook the same thing happens again. But which is the workbook that will be visible after you close the latest one? It will be the one you looked at last before, the one which was "active" before you opened the new one. That may or may not be the second one you opened. The sequence in the stack isn't determined by the sequence of opening but the sequence of viewing.
But, if you decide to minimize the window - the window, not the Excel workbook! - you will see another window. You would need to have several instances of Excel running in order to let that other window also show a workbook. Excel is a multi-file application, meaning you can open many workbooks in one Excel session which are all shown in the same window and, therefore, all have the same size. When you change the size of that window, for example, minimize it, the new size applies to all workbooks open in that instance of Excel and you will probably see another application's window which may or may not have the same size. It is possible, but not recommended, to run several instances of Excel. You need more memory to run two instances of the application than you need to open two workbooks using the same instance.
It is possible to open an Excel workbook invisibly. Most likely, one would use code (VBA) to do that, but you could give that file another format, like xla, which is the format of add-ins. This depends a little upon what you have in mind with the workbook. What can you do with a workbook you can't see?
LVL 33

Accepted Solution

Rob Henson earned 250 total points
ID: 39899927

I believe the Asker is referring to Minimizing the workbook within the Excel application Window. In doing so you end up with a number of mini title bars at the bottom of the Excel Window; each with a File name and the three "size" buttons; Restore, Maximise and Close.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39938624
I appreciate the responses and I apologize for taking so long to reply.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but I believe each of you is referring to an older version of Excel. In the first sentence of my post I specified that I was referring to Excel 2013:

        "When one or more Excel (2013) workbooks are running…"

And as pointed out in this LifeHacker article:

        "…every spreadsheet in Excel 2013 opens in a separate instance of the program."


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