How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

When it comes to comparing worksheets in Excel, the most obvious solution is to place tabs next to each other. Luckily, it’s as easy as it appears to be 🙂 Just choose the technique that fits your situation:

How to view two Excel sheets side by side

Let’s begin with the most common case. If the sheets you want to compare are in the same workbook, here are the steps to place them side by side:

    On the View tab, in the Window group, click New Window. This will open another window of the same workbook.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

The image below shows the default horizontal arrangement. To arrange the tabs vertically, use the Arrange All feature.

How to open two Excel files side by side

To view two sheets in different workbooks side by side, this is what you need to do:

  1. Open the files of interest.
  2. On the View tab, in the Window group, click View Side by Side.
  3. In each workbook window, click the tab you want to compare.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

In case you have more than two files open, the Compare Side by Side dialog box will pop up asking you to choose the workbook to be compared with the active one.

How to arrange sheets side-by-side vertically

When using the View Side by Side feature, Excel positions two windows horizontally. To change the default composition, click the Arrange All button on the View tab.

In the Arrange Windows dialog box, select Vertical to place the sheets next to each other.

Or choose another option that suits you best:

  • Tiled – windows are arranged as equally sized squares in the order you opened them.
  • Horizontal – windows are placed one below another.
  • Cascade – windows overlap one another from top to bottom.

Excel will remember your selected arrangement and use it the next time.

Synchronous scrolling

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

One more handy feature that you may like is Synchronous Scrolling. As its name suggests, it allows scrolling both sheets at the same time. The option resides on the View tab, right below View Side by Side, and activates automatically with the latter. To disable synchronous scrolling, just click this button to toggle it off.

How to view multiple sheets at once

The methods described above work for 2 sheets. To view all sheets at a time, proceed in this way:

  1. Open all the workbooks of interest.
  2. If the sheets are in the same workbook, click the target tab, and then click View tab > New Window.

View side by side not working

If the View Side by Side button is greyed out, that means you have just one Excel window open. To activate it, open another file or another window of the same workbook.

If the View side by Side button is active, but nothing happens when you click on it, click the Reset Window Position button on the View tab, in the Windows group.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

If resetting the position does not help, try this workaround:

  1. Open your first worksheet as you normally would.
  2. Press CTRL + N to open a new Excel window.
  3. In the new window, click File > Open and select your second file.
  4. Click the View Side by Side button.

Useful tips

As a final note, it’s worth pointing out a couple of helpful tip-offs:

  • To restore a workbook window to its full size, click the Maximize button in the upper-right corner.
  • If you resized a workbook window or changed the windows arrangement, and then decided to revert to the default settings, click the Reset Window Position button on the View tab.

These are the fastest ways to view Excel tabs side by side. I thank you for reading and look forward to seeing you on our blog next week!

If you’ve been considering an upgrade to Office 2013 from Office 2007 or Office 2010, there’s one feature definitely worthwhile: Excel 2013 now displays multiple open spreadsheets in their own window, which lets you view them side-by-side, snap them to either side of the screen, etc. You’d think the ability to easily compare workbooks side-by-side would have made it in to one of the eight major releases over the last 28 years.

Fortunately, with Excel 2013, there’s no need to fuss around in the View ribbon. Simply open two Excel spreadsheets and snap them to either side of the screen. Easy!

The View ribbon is still available, as is the View Side by Side option. To use it, open two spreadsheets, then click View –> View Side by Side.

By default, this will arrange your windows horizontally.

You may want to collapse the ribbon (CTRL + F1) to get a little bit more viewing space.

To arrange the windows differently, click Arrange All.

This will give you a few different options: Tiled, Horizontal, Vertical and Cascade.

While you’re here, also try Synchronous Scrolling. This synchronizes your windows scroll bar so you can scroll both of them at once. You must have View Side by Sideenabled for this to work.

Conclusion

This feature isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it is highly useful.

This Tech Tip is brought to you by the Business and Technology Section … IT solutions for today’s CPAs. For more information and to view an archive of previous Tech Tips, please visit us here.

Lori Kaufman
How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013Lori Kaufman
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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business. Read more.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Previous versions of Excel have had an option for viewing two spreadsheets side-by-side. However, Excel 2013 now makes it easier by allowing you to snap each spreadsheet (opened in separate windows) to each side of the screen.

Simply drag one of the windows to the side of the screen until you see a circle briefly spread out from the cursor. The Excel window will snap to that side of the screen, taking up half the screen. Once you snap both windows to either side of the screen, your two spreadsheets will be displayed as shown in the image above.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

You can also use the View Side by Side option, which is still available on the View tab in the Window section.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

By default, the View Side by Side option displays the two spreadsheet windows horizontally.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

To change the view, click Arrange All in the Window section of the View tab.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

The Arrange Windows dialog box displays. Select Vertical to view the windows side by side, as you did when you snapped them to the sides of the screen.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Tiled does the same thing as Vertical when there are two spreadsheet windows open. If you have more than two spreadsheets open, Tiled will arrange them as tiles on the screen some horizontally, some vertically, depending on how many are open.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Cascade displays the spreadsheet windows with the title bars cascaded down the screen.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

If you want to scroll through both (or all) spreadsheets at the same time, you can turn on the Synchronous Scrolling option in the Window section of the View tab. This will allow you to scroll through both windows using the scroll bar on one of them.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Each spreadsheet opening in its own window, like in Word and PowerPoint, is called Single Document Interface (SDI). That means that each spreadsheet has its own Ribbon and title bar so you can move the window around and resize it independently from your other open spreadsheets. Previous releases of Excel used the Multiple Document Interface (MDI), in which all spreadsheet windows opened under a top-level, “master” container window.

The SDI now used in Excel 2013 makes it easier to compare multiple spreadsheets side by side.

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How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013 Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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Save time and reduce errors by viewing two or more worksheets at the same time

It’s not uncommon to end up jumping between different Excel worksheets/workbooks because you are comparing data, copying & pasting or even creating links. This back and forth process takes up time and can increase the risk of error. Well there is a better way, here we will look at how to view two Excel worksheets side-by-side saving you time and reducing the potential for error.

Step 1

Click the View tab and click New Window. If you click one time on New Window you can arrange 2 worksheets side by side. If you click two times on New Window you can arrange 3 worksheets side by side and so on.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Step 2

On the View Tab click Arrange All.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Step 3

The Arrange Windows dialogue box will appear. You have different choices of how you want to arrange the Worksheets (tiled, horizontal, vertical or cascade). Select your choice and tick the check-box Windows of active workbook. Click OK.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Step 4

You will now have the worksheets arranged in front of you. Only one window (worksheet) will be active. In the screenshot below the first window is the active window. You can see which one is the active window by the colour. The active window is the window with the darker blue colour at the top of the window. To activate another window just click inside the window and it will be activate.

You will now be able to calculate, copy and paste and link cells between the arranged worksheets.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

As we have just seen, to view two Excel worksheets side-by-side or even multiple Excel workbooks is a very quick process. It allows us to position the information we need to review in any way we wish and hopefully eases our daily use of Excel.

Arranging Windows in Excel 2013

In Excel 2013 (which is what we have used for these examples) viewing and arranging windows has been made even easier. For example you can quickly drag an Excel window to the side of the screen (a circle symbol displays on the edge of your screen) and “pin” it which means the window will automatically take up half of the screen.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Previous versions of Excel have had an option for viewing two spreadsheets side-by-side. However, Excel 2013 now makes it easier by allowing you to snap each spreadsheet (opened in separate windows) to each side of the screen.

Simply drag one of the windows to the side of the screen until you see a circle briefly spread out from the cursor. The Excel window will snap to that side of the screen, taking up half the screen. Once you snap both windows to either side of the screen, your two spreadsheets will be displayed as shown in the image above.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

You can also use the View Side by Side option, which is still available on the View tab in the Window section.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

By default, the View Side by Side option displays the two spreadsheet windows horizontally.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

To change the view, click Arrange All in the Window section of the View tab.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

The Arrange Windows dialog box displays. Select Vertical to view the windows side by side, as you did when you snapped them to the sides of the screen.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Tiled does the same thing as Vertical when there are two spreadsheet windows open. If you have more than two spreadsheets open, Tiled will arrange them as tiles on the screen some horizontally, some vertically, depending on how many are open.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Cascade displays the spreadsheet windows with the title bars cascaded down the screen.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

If you want to scroll through both (or all) spreadsheets at the same time, you can turn on the Synchronous Scrolling option in the Window section of the View tab. This will allow you to scroll through both windows using the scroll bar on one of them.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Each spreadsheet opening in its own window, like in Word and PowerPoint, is called Single Document Interface (SDI). That means that each spreadsheet has its own Ribbon and title bar so you can move the window around and resize it independently from your other open spreadsheets. Previous releases of Excel used the Multiple Document Interface (MDI), in which all spreadsheet windows opened under a top-level, “master” container window.

The SDI now used in Excel 2013 makes it easier to compare multiple spreadsheets side by side.

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How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

When you open multiple files in Excel, those files do not open in separate windows. Instead, users can switch between them by clicking their thumbnail previews on Windows 10‘s taskbar.

However, some users might need to open two MS Excel files in separate windows so they can view their contents side by side. This is how users can open two or more Excel files in multiple windows.

How can I open two Excel files in separate windows?

1. Open Excel multiple times

  1. You can open the Excel application multiple times to have a couple of Excel windows on the desktop. To do that, click the Excel icon to open the software.
  2. Then click Excel’s icon again to open the software for a second time. Thereafter, you’ll have two Excel windows on the desktop.
  3. Click the Restore Down buttons on the windows.
    How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013
  4. Then you can drag one window to the left of the desktop to fill the left side.
  5. Drag the other window to the right of the desktop to fill the right side of the desktop as shown directly below.How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013
  6. Then click File > Open in both windows to open spreadsheets in them.

2. Press the Shift Key

Alternatively, you can open multiple Excel windows by pressing and holding the Shift key. First, open the Excel software. Then hold the Shift key, and click Excel’s taskbar icon. That will open another window for the application that users can drag to both desktop sides as outlined above.

3. Select the View Side by Side Option

  1. Users utilizing full versions of Excel 2019-2007 can select a View Side by Side option to compare two spreadsheets. To do so, launch Excel.
  2. Click File > Open to open a couple of spreadsheets.
  3. Select the View tab.
  4. Select the View Side by Side option in the Window group.
  5. Alternatively, users can select the New Window option to open another spreadsheet in separate window.

4. Add Office Tab to Excel

Users can also open spreadsheets in separate windows with the Office Tab extension for Excel. That’s a $29 add-on for Excel that adds spreadsheet tabs to Excel, and users can try out a one-month free trial for Office Tab.

After installing that add-on, Excel will include alternative tabs for separate spreadsheets. Then users can right-click a spreadsheet tab and select its Open in New Window context menu option.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

So, there are a few ways users can open Excel spreadsheets in separate windows. Then users can drag windows to the left and right sides of the Windows desktop to view both the spreadsheets’ contents.

However, note that Windows XP and Vista don’t include the Windows Snap feature for arranging windows on the left and right side of the desktop.

For any more questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach for the comments section below.

Still having issues? Fix them with this tool:

We can quickly open Excel files in separate windows for newer versions of Excel such as 2013 or 2016 spreadsheets. However, this is challenging in Excel 2010 and other earlier versions. In this tutorial, we will address different methods to open excel in two windows.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013Figure 1 – How to open excel in separate windows

Open Excel spreadsheets in separate windows using the shift Key and Taskbar

We use this method when we work with lower excel versions to open multiple windows

  • We will right-click on the Excel icon on the Taskbar and select “ Microsoft Excel XXXX”
  • We will navigate to file , click open and browse to find the second table we wish to open
  • We will press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard and click the program icon to open the second table.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013Figure 2- How to open excel in a new window

How to Open Excel Spreadsheets in Separate Windows for Windows 7 or Earlier

We will go to the Start menu , click on All Programs , tap Microsoft Office and select Excel. Alternatively, we can type Excel in the Search button to bring up the program icon. Next, we double-click on it to open. This method will always open a new Excel Window.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013Figure 3 – Open Excel 2010 in Separate Windows

Open Separate workbooks using Excel Shortcut

We can quickly open the folder where Excel is installed to open a new window. If we have Excel 2010, then we use C:/Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office 14 . If we have Excel 2007, the name of the last folder is Office 12 .

Next, we will find the Excel.exe and right click on it. We will select Create Shortcut and Send to the desktop . With this new Excel Icon , we can always open a different excel window.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013Figure 4 – Excel 2010 separate windows

Open Separate Window with Send to Menu

1. We can also open two Excel Windows simultaneously by using this method:

• We will follow the Steps to create Excel Shortcut

• We will open the folder on our computer and type this command.
C:/Users/UserName/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Windows/SendT

• If our AppData folder is hidden, we make it visible by visiting the Control Panel , Folder options and switch in the View tab to show hidden files, folders and drives.

2. Alternatively, we can create a shortcut on our desktop that shows the Excel Executable file . Then, we will edit the target box in the shortcut property to hold:
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” “C:\Folder name\Subfolder name\Name of Excel file.xlsx”

We must also check to ensure that the quotation marks are there (all four of them) and make sure that the appropriate file name and the correct path is entered.

Explanation

When we wish to compare two Excel worksheets or quickly switch between two or more Excel windows, these methods can be timesaving especially when we have Excel 2010 or earlier versions. We can always use the View Tab to enable viewing side by side or simply resize Excel windows to make swaps easier.

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In this tutorial, we will show you how to open Excel workbooks in different windows steps by steps.

  • Reuse Anything: Add the most used or complex formulas, charts and anything else to your favorites, and quickly reuse them in the future.
  • More than 20 text features: Extract Number from Text String; Extract or Remove Part of Texts; Convert Numbers and Currencies to English Words.
  • Merge Tools : Multiple Workbooks and Sheets into One; Merge Multiple Cells/Rows/Columns Without Losing Data; Merge Duplicate Rows and Sum.
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Open Excel workbooks in new windows with holding Shift key and clicking in Taskbar

For the usage of lowest versions of Excel, with holding the Shift key and clicking the Excel icon in the Taskbar, you can open Excel workbooks in multiple windows.

1. Firstly you need to open a workbook in advance, and then hold the Shift key on the keyboard.

2. Click the Excel icon in the Taskbar. See screenshot:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Then a new blank workbook is opened. If you need to edit the new opened workbook, just edit and save it. Otherwise, you can open another workbook you have created before in this new workbook window.

3. Click File (Office button) > Open from your new created workbook just now, In the Open dialog box, find and select the workbook and then click the Open button.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Then you can see the workbooks are opened in two separate Excel windows. You can repeat the above steps to open more Excel windows.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Easily open an Excel workbook in new window:

Office Tab helps to open multiple Excel files in a single tabbed window. You can open a specified workbook in a new window with its Open in New Window function as below demo shown. Download Office Tab now! ( 30-day free trail)

Open Excel workbooks in new windows with Start menu

Besides the above method, you can open Excel workbooks in new windows with Start menu. Please do as follows.

1. Click the Start button to show the menu. Type Excel in the Search box, then click Microsoft Excel in the Programs section. See screenshot:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

2. When a new blank workbook opened, please click File (Office button) > Open, In the Open dialog box, find and select the workbook you want to open and then click the Open button.

3. To open multiple workbooks you want, you just need to repeat the above steps one by one.

Open Excel workbooks in new windows with creating shortcut

The last method for opening Excel workbooks in new window is to create a shortcut. Please do as follows.

1. Open the Office folder in your computer with following paths.

In Excel 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 14

In Excel 2007: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12

2. In the opened Office folder, find the EXCEL icon, right click it and then select Create shortcut from the right-clicking menu. See screenshot:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

3. Then a Shortcut prompt box pops up, click the Yes button.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

4. Then an Excel shortcut is placed on the desktop. Double click it, and a new Excel window will be opened. Then you can click File (Office button) > Open to open the workbook that you need.

5. If you need to open multiple workbooks in new windows, you should repeat step 4 to open them one by one.

Note: For Excel 2013, the workbooks are opened in different windows by default.

Open Excel workbooks in new windows with Office Tab

In this section, I will show you a handy applications – Office Tab. With the Open In New Window feature of Office Tab, open workbooks in new windows is not a problem anymore.

1. After installing Office Tab, open the workbooks you want. Then you will see all workbooks are opened in an Excel window as tabbed browsing status.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

2. If you want to open a specific workbook in a new window, please right click this workbook tab, and then click Open In New Window in the list. See screenshot:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Then the selected workbook is opened in a new window as below screenshot shown:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Tip.If you want to have a free trial of this utility, please go to Click for free trial of Office Tab first, and then go to apply the operation according above steps.

The sheets can be in the same workbook or in different workbooks.

On the View tab, in the Window group, click View Side by Side:

  • To scroll both worksheets at the same time, click Synchronous Scrolling in the Window group on the View tab.
  • To close Side by Side view, click View Side by Side in the Window group on the View tab.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Viewing a worksheet in multiple windows

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

How to protect spreadsheets

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Protecting workbook elements

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You can accomplish either of these actions by opening a new view to the workbook, using one or more additional windows.

To create and display a new view of the active workbook, on the View tab, in the Window group, choose New Window.

Then on the View tab, in the Window group, choose Arrange All and choose one of the options in the Arrange Windows dialog box to display the open windows. Excel displays a new window for the active workbook:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

In this case, each window shows a different worksheet in the workbook. Notice the text in the windows’ title bars: ***:1 and ***:2. To help you keep track of the windows, Excel appends a colon and a number to each window.

A single workbook can have as many views (that is, separate windows) as you want. Each window is independent of the others. In other words, scrolling to a new location in one window doesn’t cause scrolling in the other window(s).

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

If the workbook is maximized when you create a new window, you may not even notice that Excel has created the new window; but if you look at the Excel title bar, you’ll see that the workbook title now has :2 appended to the name.

You can close these additional windows when you no longer need them. For example, clicking the Close button on the active window’s title bar closes the active window but doesn’t close the other windows.

Multiple windows make it easier to copy information from one worksheet to another. You can use Excel’s drag-and-drop procedures to do this. In addition, multiple windows are useful when examining formulas.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Referencing cells outside the worksheet

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

View spreadsheets side by side

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Paste results into cell without formulas

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I have to do work between two spreadsheets and I need to view them side by side. I can’t just open the workbooks in separate instances because I need to make use of features like paste formatting, and all of that goes away when the workbooks aren’t in the same instance.

Is there anything I can do to get two windows open, each with a separate workbook, each maximized on a different monitor, and still have access to the advanced cut/paste features?

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

6 Answers 6

I’m assuming you’re extending your desktop onto both monitors?

Once you’ve done that, make sure Excel is NOT maximized and manually resize the Excel program window using the corner resizing anchors to cover both screens.

Then you can open both spreadsheets and go to View>>View Side by Side.

On Mac: >> Window >> Arrange All >> arrange vertically.

I have the same problem but I found this and it works great!

When you open multiple Microsoft Word documents, you are able to put one on your main monitor and one on your secondary monitor to compare, copy and paste from one document to another. However, if you open multiple spreadsheets from Excel, you can’t do the same thing! This has annoyed me since 2007 when Microsoft introduced the functionality in Word but not in Excel.

Well, I found a way around it. Here is how.

  1. Open your first Excel spreadsheet. Place it on the monitor you wish to work with it.
  2. DO NOT open the second spreadsheet with the Excel program that is open. Instead, go to your Start Menu and open Excel from there. Then do a File >> Open and open your second spreadsheet.
  3. Place the second spreadsheet on the monitor you wish to view the spreadsheet.

As far as I can tell, since you’re opening a second instance of Excel, you can place it wherever you wish.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Unlike previous versions of Excel, Excel 2013 separates each workbook into its own window, enabling you to simultaneously view all spreadsheets. Each window appears separately on Windows 8’s taskbar, so you can quickly select the appropriate workbook. If these windows are grouped in the taskbar, then Windows 8’s taskbar configuration is the culprit. However, if you’re using Excel 2010, grouping could also be caused by Excel’s settings.

Windows 8’s Taskbar

Right-click on a blank area of the taskbar and select "Properties."

Click the "Taskbar Buttons" drop-down menu and select "Never Combine."

Excel 2010 Settings

Click "File" and select "Options."

Click the "Advanced" tab.

Check "Show All Windows in the Taskbar" in the Display section.

  • Tech Republic: 10+ Things That Are Missing From Excel 2013
  • Microsoft Office: What’s New in Excel 2013

C. Taylor embarked on a professional writing career in 2009 and frequently writes about technology, science, business, finance, martial arts and the great outdoors. He writes for both online and offline publications, including the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Samsung, Radio Shack, Motley Fool, Chron, Synonym and more. He received a Master of Science degree in wildlife biology from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences at College of Charleston. He also holds minors in statistics, physics and visual arts.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

This lesson shows you how to compare workbooks in Excel. To compare workbooks in Excel, first open the workbooks to compare to each other. To then compare them side by side, with each workbook taking an equal portion of the screen, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “View Side by Side” button in the “Window” button group.

After clicking the “View Side by Side” button, you can then choose to enable or disable synchronous scrolling. If enabled, you can simultaneously scroll multiple workbooks being compared side by side. If disabled, you can independently scroll each workbook. To enable or disable synchronous scrolling, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Synchronous Scrolling” button in the “Window” button group to toggle it on or off.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Compare Workbooks in Excel – Instructions: A picture of a user comparing two workbooks in Excel side by side.

Note that if the “View Side by Side” feature is enabled and you then resize or reposition either open workbook window, you can reset their placement. To reset the placement of the open windows, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Reset Window Position” button in the “Window” button group.

To turn off the “View Side by Side” feature, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “View Side by Side” button in the “Window” button group again.

Compare Workbooks in Excel: Instructions

  1. To compare workbooks in Excel, open the two workbooks to compare.
  2. Then click the “View” tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Then click the “View Side by Side” button in the “Window” button group to compare them side by side, with each workbook taking an equal portion of the screen.
  4. Optionally, to then enable or disable synchronous scrolling, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon.
  5. Then click the “Synchronous Scrolling” button in the “Window” button group to toggle it on or off.
  6. To reset the placement of the open windows if you have the “View Side by Side” feature enabled and then resize or reposition either of the open workbook windows, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon.
  7. Then click the “Reset Window Position” button in the “Window” button group.
  8. To turn off the “View Side by Side” feature, the “View” tab in the Ribbon.
  9. Then click the “View Side by Side” button in the “Window” button group again.

Compare Workbooks in Excel: Video Lesson

The following video lesson, titled “ Comparing Open Workbooks ,” shows you how to compare workbooks in Excel. This video lesson is from our complete Excel tutorial , titled “ Mastering Excel Made Easy v.2019 and 365 .”

Sometimes you would like to view multiple worksheets at once. Maybe you have two worksheets to compare side-by-side or you are working on one worksheet where you need to reference another section at the same time. I’ve been in these situations before and it’s nice to know that Excel offers ways to show multiple worksheet / workbooks in a nice way. There are a couple of ways to go about this and it also depends on the version of Excel you have. Let’s get right to it.

View multiple Worksheets from the same Workbook

In the View tab, and in the Window group, click on New Window

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Your worksheet will be duplicated into another window. The windows will be titled with :1 and :2 . Note that doing work on one of the workbook will show up in the other one, since they are the same workbook, just displayed two times.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Notice how Excel 2013 creates two separate windows? This is actually different from previous versions. Take a look at how Excel 2010 handles this.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

In Excel 2010 and previous, the main application window will contain the multiple windows you created.

At this point, the same worksheet will be displayed in both windows. While modifying data in one window will show up in the other, clicking on which worksheet you want in one window will not affect the other. So, feel free to choose which worksheets you would like to see at the same time.

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View Multiple Worksheets of Different Workbooks

This is actually pretty simple, because all you need to do is open the two (or more) workbooks and then Arrange them using Excel’s Arrange Windows tool (covered next).

Arranging the Windows

Now that you have the windows shown, you may want to organize them in a more meaningful way. You do this by arranging the windows. Go to the View tab, under the Window group, click on Arrange All. You will see a new dialogue show up.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

You can choose which method you’d like to apply, which are displayed below.

Tiled

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Horizontal

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Vertical

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Cascade

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

You may have noticed that the order of the windows seems a bit random. Wanna understand how to control the order of how they’re displayed? Check out this post.

Windows of the Active Workbook

This option simply tells Excel that the workbook that you last interacted with (the “active” workbook) is the only workbook you want to arrange the windows for. This is only relevant if you have multiple workbooks open at once.

Wow, you read the whole article! You know, people who make it this far are true learners. And clearly, you value learning. Would you like to learn more about Excel? Please consider supporting me by buying me a coffee (it takes a lot of coffee to write these articles!).

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

When working with one Excel file (called a workbook) at a time, it is pretty easy to stay organized and move around easily. Opening a second Excel file can complicate things a little bit. Trying to move between multiple Excel worksheets can get even more problematic, especially if you need to look back and forth quickly. Then, make it more difficult by moving within the worksheets within the different files.

An example of this is when you are working on your budget from the last year or two to create your upcoming budget. If you have worksheets from several departments within each budget file, it can get really confusing. You can have all of the workbooks open but just look at one at a time. Or, you are able to view the workbooks side by side, tiled, cascaded, etc.

There are several different ways to move around and switch between files. The great thing about many of these methods is that they can also be used to move between any of the open files on your computer. I have highlighted the most popular ways below.

Switch Windows

One option to switch between the open Excel files is to use the View tab on the ribbon. Go to the View tab and click on the Switch Windows button. Pick the workbook you would like to move to from the list of available open files. There will be a check next to the file that you are currently viewing for easy reference. See Figure 1.

Figure 1

Personally, I don’t like having to click on the View tab and then a button and then a file from the list. I really wanted a faster way. By adding the Switch Windows button on the Quick Access toolbar, I was able to cut down on my clicks. I cover how to do that next.

Switch Commands – Quick Access toolbar

The Quick Access toolbar is located at the top left of the window by default. It usually has the save, undo, and redo buttons. You can right-click it or right-click anywhere on the ribbon or any of the tabs to get a pop-up menu. Choose “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” from that pop-up menu. See Figure 2.

Figure 2

The following dialog box will appear. See Figure 3.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Figure 3

Click the “Choose commands from” drop-down list (near the top center) and select “View Tab”. This will have all of the buttons and more from the View tab that you can add to your Quick Access Toolbar.

In the list, scroll down and find “Switch Windows”. Then click the “Add>>” button in the middle to move that command to the right-hand list. This list (on the right) is what you want to show on the Quick Access Toolbar. If you want to change the location of the button on the toolbar, you can move it up and down. (While you are here, you might want to explore to see if there are other commands you’d like to include.) Click OK when you are done. See Figure 4. See Figure 5 to see what the Quick Access toolbar will now look like.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Figure 4

Figure 5

Switch Windows – Keyboard Shortcut

To move back and forth between any open windows (of all file types and browsers), you can use the combination ALT + TAB. You can hold the ALT key down and press TAB to cycle through all of the files until you get to the one you want.

Side by Side (Synchronous scrolling)

If you have two Excel files open at the same time, you can view them in Side by Side mode. To switch to this mode, click the View tab and then choose the “View Side by Side” button. See Figure 6. It is best if you are at the top of each document when you switch to this mode since the “Synchronous Scrolling” is automatically turned on when you click the “View Side by Side” button.

Synchronous Scrolling can be useful to comparing two files since it moves both files at the same time. It sometimes is more annoying than useful, so you can turn it off by pressing the “Synchronous Scrolling” button again.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Figure 6

Arrange All

After switching over to “View Side by Side” you can choose how the windows are arranged. You change the arrangement by clicking on the “Arrange All” button on the View tab. See Figure 6 above. The Arrange All dialog box opens and letting you choose from Tiled, Horizontal, Vertical, or Cascade. See Figure 7.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Figure 7

Depending on how your Excel files are laid out, Tiled and Horizontal will most likely be useful. Cascade is not very good for comparing or looking at two workbooks at a time. Usually, Tiled and Vertical will give the same layout on your screen.

Switching Sheets

Within each of your Excel files, you may have multiple worksheets (or sheets). To switch from one sheet to another, click on the tab of the sheet you would like to switch to. The tabs are located at the bottom of the screen near the left. If you are on “Sheet 1”, you can click on the tab for “Sheet 2” to view the contents. See Figure 8.

If you would like to switch between sheets using keyboard shortcuts, move through the different worksheets with the CTRL + PAGE UP or CTRL + PAGE DOWN keyboard combinations.

Figure 8

Additional Excel Shortcuts

Here are several other ones also, which you might find useful:
CTRL + ; – Enters the current date into the active cell
CTRL + A – Selects the entire worksheet
ALT+F1 – Creates a chart of the data in the current range
SHIFT+F3 – displays the Insert Function dialog box
SHIFT+F11 – Inserts a new worksheet
CTRL+HOME – Moves to the beginning of a worksheet
CTRL+SPACEBAR – Selects an entire column in a worksheet
SHIFT+SPACEBAR – Selects an entire row in a worksheet
F6 – Move to the next worksheet pane in a worksheet that has been split (by using the Split command on the Window menu)
SHIFT+F6 – Move to the previous worksheet pane in a worksheet that has been split
CTRL+F6 or CTRL+TAB – Move to the next workbook window
CTRL+SHIFT+F6 or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB – Move to the previous workbook window

"Why do Excel 2010 files not open in separate windows? It is very frustrating when I need to open multiple files and compare them side by side or put them on separate monitors. As I often work with many Excel files at one time, it is extremely slow and inefficient to open another instance of excel for each file then navigate back to the folder and open it. Is there any way to fix this huge problem?"

If you work with quite a few Excel files at the same time, you may want to know how to open Excel files in different windows in order to view them side by side so that you can better compare them. But the truth is that they are all opened in the same window. So it is very inconvenient and time-consuming to work with these Excel files in that case. This tutorial will teach you How to Open Two Excel 2010 Files in Different Windows.

Steps to complete:

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

How to open two Excel files in different windows? To sum up, you should open new blank Excel 2010 workbooks in different windows first of all, and then separately browse and view the Excel files that you want to open in these new workbooks. Now follow the below steps and instructions to learn how to do it.

Step 1: Open New Excel Workbook in Different Windows

There are several ways that you can adopt to open new instances of Excel in different windows. Choose one as per your preference from the below 3 options.

Option 1: Use the Excel Icon on the Taskbar

First of all, open an Excel workbook that you want to view in advance, hold the Shift key on the keyboard and then click the Excel icon on the taskbar. Then a new blank workbook in another window will be created.

You will find that these two workbooks are opened in two separate Excel windows.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Alternatively, you can right click the Excel icon and select Microsoft Excel 2010 or use the wheel on your mouse to click Excel icon to open a new instance. Repeat the steps to open more Excel workbooks in different windows.

Option 2: Use the Start Menu

Press the Windows icon on the keyboard, enter “Excel” into the search bar and the click the icon of Microsoft Excel 2010 to open an Excel workbook. Do the steps again to open multiple instances of Excel if you want.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Option 3: Create an Excel Shortcut

1: Open the file location where your Office is installed. The default path for Excel 2010 is C:/Program Files/Microsoft Office/Office 14. If you installed Office in other location, just open it.

2: Find the Excel icon and right click it, select Create shortcut from the drop-down menu.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

3: Click Yes to go ahead. Then you will see that the icon of the Excel shortcut is displayed on the desktop. You can double click it to create a new Excel window when you need.

Step 2: Open and View Excel Files in Different Windows

Now that you have finished Step 1, it’s time to open and view Excels files in these newly created workbooks from different windows. Well, how to open two Excel spreadsheets in different windows? Since you have finished Step 1, Step 2 is very easy. You just need:

In the newly created instances of Excel, click the button of File at the top left corner of the interface and select the option of Open to continue.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

And then browse to the Excel files that you want to open, click the Open button to open it.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Repeat the steps to open multiple Excel files that you want to view in different windows. Here is an example in which two Excel spreadsheets are opened in two separate windows.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

That’s all the guidance on how to open excel spreadsheets in separate windows. If you complete the two steps, you can view Excel files in separate windows at the same time and side by side so that you can better work with them.

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Betty often has to transfer information between two worksheets, so she makes a lot of use of View Side By Side. Given that her worksheets are not similar in layout, synchronous scrolling is an irritant to Betty. She wonders if there is any way to set the default so that synchronous scrolling is off rather than on.

When you use View Side By Side, the default is that synchronous scrolling is turned on. (The View Side By Side tool is available on the View tab of the ribbon, in the Window group.) You can turn it off, on a case-by-case basis, by simply displaying the View tab of the ribbon and then clicking the Synchronous Scrolling tool in the Window group.

If you want to make this setting (synchronous scrolling turned off) for the two worksheets, click the Save Workspace tool and save your workspace. When you later load the workspace, the two worksheets will still be side-by-side and the synchronous scrolling will be turned off. This approach will only work in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010, though; workspace support was unceremoniously dropped from Excel 2013.

Another option is to forego View Side By Side entirely and just arrange the worksheet windows so that both are visible on the screen at once. You can do this by making sure both workbooks are open, displaying the View tab of the ribbon, and clicking Arrange All. Regardless of which arrangement option you then choose (Horizontal or Vertical being the most common), synchronous scrolling will not be turned on.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9361) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

Author Bio

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. Learn more about Allen.

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How to make Microsoft ® Excel automatically arrange worksheets in their own windows side-by-side when you open a workbook file.

Last updated on 2020-05-26 by David Wallis.

Preface

The useful Save Workspace feature vanished with Excel 2013. This means that now you’re left to your own devices if you want to give worksheets in your workbook their own windows.

For workbooks you use frequently, this is a real chore, overcoming which I present the following solution.

Requirements

This lists summarises what I want to happen the instant I open the workbook:

  • Excel is maximised to full screen
  • The Excel window is split to the required number of window panes
  • Those window panes are arranged as required to fill the Excel window
  • For each pane, a chosen worksheet fills the pane.

Additonally, since to achieve all this I know I’ll need some VBA code, that code must be easy to apply to any workbooks.

A Demo Workbook

If you want to try my code, then you’ll need a workbook on which to try it. To produce this, create a new workbook that contains worksheets named Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr and Summary:

You don’t need to fill the sheets with anything, unless you find it helps.

I named my demo workbook Window Tiling Demo when I saved it. My objective is to achieve this arrangment of windows when I open it:

The Initial Code

All the code on this page I worked up in Excel 2019. I haven’t tested it in other versions of Excel.

This is the bare code for a VBA prodedure that will run automatically when you open a workbook to which it is assigned:

So I have an Excel 2010 (on Windows 7) user with dual monitors. She has various Excel spreadsheets on her desktop (to keep things simple for this example, we’ll just keep it down to two and go with Excel File 1 and Excel File 2). Until today, she could simply open the files one at a time by double clicking them on the desktop. They would each open in separate Excel instances/windows. She could drag Excel File 1 to monitor 1 and Excel File 2 to monitor 2 and have them side by side, which is exactly what she wanted to do.

She can no longer do that as of some point this afternoon. Now when she opens multiple Excel files that way (regardless of how many), they all open in what appears to be the same instance/window of Excel (only one excel.exe instance in task manager), and she can only see them confined to the same window (meaning she can’t have Excel File 1 on this monitor and Excel File 2 on that monitor). If that makes sense. So the two different Excel files are inside one window. She can drag that one window around, but all her spreadsheets are “stuck” in that window. So basically, she can’t split them between her two monitors anymore.

I can do a side-by-side view of the two files or resize them and stack them on top of each other within that window, but she doesn’t like that option because she can’t really take advantage of her dual monitors that way (not to mention the two files are a lot smaller if she looks at them in that view).

I have found that it’s possible for her to just open the Excel File 1 by double clicking it as she has been, then opening Excel.exe from her start menu or whatever (to just open Excel itself without opening a file), then going to File->Open, navigating to her desktop, and selecting Excel File 2. Which works and has the two files in different windows, but she doesn’t see that as an acceptable workaround and gives me the “But I never had to do that before!” line (and I guess I have to admit that she has a point there).

I’ve tried going into Excel Options -> Advanced and checking the “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)” option (as some suggested as a fix when I started searching). When I do that, she can’t even open the spreadsheets at all and gets “There was a problem sending the command to the program” upon trying.

Is there anything else I can do with this? Everything I’ve read on this issue says Excel 2010 doesn’t support running multiple instances like that, and that we shouldn’t have been able to do it in the first place, and that upgrading to 2013 or higher would fix it. But. she has been doing it, for years, in Excel 2010, until that behavior suddenly changed at some point this afternoon.

I can try to explain more clearly what exactly we’re trying to do here if needed, but I hope that all makes sense.

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How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Lesson 1: Identifying Basic Parts of the Excel Window

Introduction

Microsoft Excel XP is a spreadsheet application in the Microsoft Office suite. A spreadsheet is an accounting program for the computer. Spreadsheets are primarily used to work with numbers and text. Spreadsheets can help organize information, such as alphabetizing a list of names or ordering records, and calculate and analyze information using mathematical formulas.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Identify the parts of the Excel window
  • Understand the differences between a workbook and a worksheet
  • Understand a cell and its importance to Excel
  • Move around a workbook

The Excel window

Many items you see on the Excel XP screen are standard in most other Microsoft software programs like Word, PowerPoint, and previous versions of Excel, while some elements are specific to Excel XP.

Workbook

Also called a spreadsheet, the workbook is a unique file created by Excel XP.

Title bar

The title bar displays both the name of the application and the name of the spreadsheet.

Menu bar

The menu bar displays all of the menus available for use in Excel XP. The contents of any menu can be displayed by left-clicking the menu name.

Toolbar

Some commands in the menus have pictures or icons associated with them. These pictures may also appear as shortcuts in the toolbar.

Column headings

Each Excel spreadsheet contains 256 columns. Each column is named by a letter or combination of letters.

Row headings

Each spreadsheet contains 65,536 rows. Each row is named by a number.

Name box

This shows the address of the current selection or active cell.

Formula bar

The formula bar isplays information entered—or being entered as you type—in the current or active cell. The contents of a cell can also be edited in the formula bar.

A cell is an intersection of a column and row. Each cell has a unique cell address. In the picture above, the cell address of the selected cell is B3. The heavy border around the selected cell is called the cell pointer.

Navigation buttons and sheet tabs

Navigation buttons allow you to move to another worksheet in an Excel workbook. They are used to display the first, previous, next, and last worksheets in the workbook.

Sheet tabs separate a workbook into specific worksheets. A workbook defaults to three worksheets. A workbook must contain at least one worksheet.

Workbooks and worksheets

A workbook automatically shows in the workspace when you open Microsoft Excel XP. Each workbook contains three worksheets. A worksheet is a grid of cells consisting of 65,536 rows by 256 columns. Spreadsheet information—text, numbers, or mathematical formulas—is entered into different cells.

Column headings are referenced by alphabetic characters in the gray boxes that run across the Excel screen, beginning with column A and ending with column IV.

Rows are referenced by numbers that appear on the left and then run down the Excel screen. The first row is named row 1, while the last row is named 65536.

Important terms

  • A workbook is made up of three worksheets.
  • The worksheets are labeled Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3.
  • Each Excel worksheet is made up of columns and rows.
  • In order to access a worksheet, click the tab that says Sheet#.

The cell

An Excel worksheet is made up of columns and rows. Where these columns and rows intersect, they form little boxes called cells. The active cell—or the cell that can be acted upon—reveals a dark border. All other cells reveal a light gray border. Each cell has a name. Its name is comprised of two parts: the column letter and the row number.

In the following picture, the cell C3—formed by the intersection of column C and row 3—contains the dark border. It is the active cell.

Important terms

  • Each cell has a unique cell address composed of a cell's column and row.
  • The active cell is the cell that receives the data or command you give it.
  • A darkened border, called the cell pointer, identifies it.

Moving around the worksheet

You can move around the spreadsheet in several ways.

To move the cell pointer:

  • To activate any cell, point to a cell with the mouse and click.
  • To move the pointer one cell to the left, right, up, or down, use the keyboard arrow keys.

To scroll through the worksheet:

The vertical scroll bar located along the right edge of the screen is used to move up or down the spreadsheet. The horizontal scroll bar located at the bottom of the screen is used to move left or right across the spreadsheet.

The PageUp and PageDown keys on the keyboard are used to move the cursor up or down one screen at a time. Other keys that move the active cell are Home, which moves to the first column on the current row, and Ctrl+Home, which moves the cursor to the top-left corner of the spreadsheet, or cell A1.

To move between worksheets:

As mentioned, each workbook defaults to three worksheets. These worksheets are represented by tabs—named Sheet1, Sheet2 and Sheet3—that appear at the bottom of the Excel window.

To move from one worksheet to another:

  • Click the sheet tab—Sheet1, Sheet2 or Sheet 3—you want to display.

If you like it, please share it on social media and with your colleagues or any other Excel users you know.

Have a great day and keep on Excelling,
Francis Hayes (The Excel Addict)
Email: fhayes[AT]TheExcelAddict.com

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THIS WEEK’S ‘EXCEL IN SECONDS‘ TIP

View Two Worksheets From The Same Workbook Side By Side

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

1) From the View tab, in the Window group click New Window;

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

A second window of the same workbook opens � sort of like a clone. Notice the number at the end of the workbook name in the window header. The new window becomes the active window.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

Before continuing, an important point to understand is that, certain window-level settings from the current window may not be replicated in the New Window. These include Gridlines, row and column Headings, Freeze Panes, Split screen.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

To make side by side comparison possible you may need to either apply the same settings to Window 2 or temporarily remove them from Window 1.

2) Next, from the View tab, in the Window group click View Side by Side;

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

3) In the Compare Side by Side dialog, choose the sheet you want to compare with the active sheet.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

When you select View Side by Side, Synchronous Scrolling should already be turned on, allowing you to scroll both worksheets at the same time.

However, if it isn’t turned on, click the View tab, then click Synchronous Scrolling.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

If for some reason the two windows didn’t arrange side by side, from the View tab click Arrange All, Vertical, and Windows of active workbook.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

You can now synchronously scroll both up and down and left and right to compare the contents of these two sheet tabs in the same workbook.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

When you’re finished comparing your worksheets, close Window 2 first. Otherwise, if you close Window 1 without saving changes, you may lose the window settings I mentioned above.

How to view spreadsheets side-by-side in separate windows in excel 2013

To restore your window size, click the Maximize Button in the upper-right corner of the workbook window.