Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Tying Workbooks Together.

Tying Workbooks Together

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 30, 2021)

9

Don wonders if there is a way to "tie" two or more workbooks together so they are always open (and closed) at the same time. One relatively easy way to get close to this desire is to create, within Excel, what is called a workspace. You can do this by following these general steps:

  1. Open all the workbooks you want to be used together.
  2. Display the View tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Save Workspace tool (in the Window group).

That's it; Excel creates a workspace file that includes information about the workbooks you currently have open. Later, when you want all the workbooks open, you can simply open the workspace file (it has an xlw extension) and all the workbooks that make up that file are opened.

While this is a great way to open all the workbooks you need at one time, it doesn't answer the requirement of always having those workbooks be open. For instance, your workspace may include five workbooks, but once opened you can easily close one, two, or more of the individual workbooks in the workspace. The requirement that it be "all or nothing" for the member workbooks isn't met.

If you want to make sure that all the requirements are met, then the only way you can do it is to use a macro. You could include a Workbook_Open event-handler macro in all five of the workbooks that checks to see if the other workbooks in the group are open or not. If they aren't, then the macro could open them. You would also need to create a Workbook_BeforeClose event handler that would make sure that all the other workbooks in the group were closed.

Finally, you should note that using workspaces will work only with Excel 2007 and Excel 2010. The feature was removed from Excel 2013, and it is unclear whether it will be added again, in the future. (You can open a workspace file in Excel 2013, but you cannot create one anymore.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8146) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Tying Workbooks Together.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

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Comments

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What is 8 + 2?

2021-05-03 23:30:41

Tomek

@J. Woolley: Thank you for your suggestion, I loked it up, and I may try to use it If I ever would need to manage my recent files. I recently retired so I may not really need it. However, you pointed me to a resource that I have never used, and I am grateful for that.


2021-05-03 10:57:52

J. Woolley

This has nothing to do with the Tip but is related to Tomek's comment.
You might be interested in this freely available array function in My Excel Toolbox:
ListRecentFiles([AddPath])
It is most useful as a dynamic array in newer versions of Excel. You can also use it like this in older versions of Excel that do not support dynamic arrays:
SpillArray(ListRecentFiles([AddPath]))
SpillArray will determine and populate the spill range for its array expression argument, simulating a dynamic array.
See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/


2021-05-02 12:52:25

Tomek

To build on Dave's suggestion of "Daily.xlsm", once you create this file and open it a few times it will show in the list of recent files. There are two places with those: in the Open screen inside Excel and in the shortcut menu that opens when you right click Excel tile in the start menu or Excel icon in the taskbar. In both places you can pin the item to the list, so you have it available even if you don't use it often enough to keep it in the recent list.

The list inside Excel is independent from the shortcut menu in windows, so you may want to pin the item in both.


2021-04-30 10:38:11

Allen

Mike H: I know it is not possible in Excel 2016. It is, however, possible in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010. That's why this version information is included at the very beginning of the tip and the very end.

Believe it or not, there are still people using those two older versions. Heck, I still know people using Excel 2003, which is why I have an entire website dedicated to versions of Excel now 18 years out of date.

Go figure!

-Allen


2021-04-30 10:28:20

Mike H

It is not possible in Excel 2016. There is no such option available.

Please close this tip as no longer possible.


2017-09-19 09:21:51

Drucilla Brookshire

I didn't see "Save a Workplace" in my Excel Windows tab so I did an Excel ? search and saw that this feature has been discontinued according to Microsoft.


2017-09-19 04:22:38

Ian Daniel

ALT + F4 closes all workbooks


2017-09-19 03:45:56

Nenad Stevanović

It is not possible in Excel 2016. There is no such option available.


2017-09-19 03:18:21

Dave

If the workspace feature is consigned to the past, an alternative might be to designate one of your regular files as a master file. This could, or should, be the most frequently used, or the one most central to the functions at hand. It might be, for example, "Daily.xlsm".

I would suggest that you maintain a list of files in "Daily", in a separate sheet, which you want to have open as a group. Then, your master file is the only one that needs macros to open the others after it opens and close them before it closes. Having a separate list allows you to modify it at any time, to add or remove entries, and avoids the trap of hard-coding values into the macro code.


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