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Microsoft Excel: Arrange Windows To See Two Or More Open Workbooks

written by: Mr Excel•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/10/2008

Problem: You have two workbooks open. One workbook contains a listing of airport codes and their respective cities. In the other workbook, you are building a list of recommended packing items for students going on seven-city tours. Currently, you are shifting back and forth between the workbooks, using Alt+Tab every time that you forget an airport code. It would be cool if you could see the airline codes at the same time you were working on the other workbook.

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    Strategy: There are four Arrange options on the Window dialog. Select Window – Arrange – Vertical to see both worksheets side by side.

    Result: As shown in Fig. 49, you will see both windows, side by side. The window with the darker toolbar is the active window. Any data entry will occur in the active cell of that workbook. You can resize the window widths, although this requires two moves.

    1) First, make the right window narrower by dragging the blue edge

    of the window to the right.

    2) Next, drag the blue right edge of the left workbook to be wider.

    3) To go back to full screen mode choose the Maximize icon at the top of each workbook.

    Gotcha: If you have additional workbooks open, they will also appear

    side by side. The side-by-side display works fine for two or three workbooks,

    but may not work for ten open workbooks.

    Additional Information: In Excel 2003, a new option on the Window

    menu allows you to Compare Side by Side. If you have only two workbooks

    open, the menu option will name the other workbook. If you have three or more workbooks open, you will have to select a workbook in a new dialog box. If there is only one workbook open, the option will be grayed out. This will arrange two windows vertically and allow the scrolling action in the first workbook to cause the second workbook to scroll in a similar manner.

    TIP: If you are comparing two workbooks that are supposed to be

    similar, it is likely that someone added some rows to one document

    or the other. In Fig. 55, the workbooks are synchronized

    so that when you see row 154 in one window, you see row 154 in

    the other window. In reality, row 159 of the left window matches

    row 154 in the right window and they will be scrolling out of

    synchronization. Follow these steps to correct the problem:

    1) In the Compare Side by Side toolbar, turn off synchronous scrolling.

    2) Use the down arrow key until row 159 is at the top of the left window. Choose the Synchronous Scrolling icon again (see Fig. 56) to force the workbooks to scroll together. Now, when you move down 10 rows in either workbook, both workbooks will scroll together.

    Summary: Arranging windows in a vertical fashion allows you to view two different workbooks at the same time.

    Commands Discussed: Window – Arrange; Window – Compare Side by Side

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    Fig. 47Fig. 48Fig. 49Fig. 50Fig. 51Fig. 52Fig. 53Fig. 54Fig. 55Fig. 56