Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Seeing Excel's Program Window.

Seeing Excel's Program Window

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 4, 2014)

2

Have you ever opened Excel, only to be greeted by a program window that was obviously too big for your screen? For example, you may see only the top left portion of the program window, with Excel's title bar missing off the top of the visible screen. Typically such a condition crops up when, for whatever reason, you decrease the resolution at which the Windows screen is displayed. For instance, if you had been viewing your screen at 1024 x 768 and you decrease your screen resolution to 800 x 600. When you later try to open Excel, it may appear off the top of the screen because it is "larger" than the available space on the desktop.

The first solution that springs to mind is that you can simply switch back to the higher resolution, open Excel and make the window smaller, and then switch back to the lower resolution. If this is not possible for some reason, then you must select a different way to accomplish the task.

The easiest (and quickest) method to try is to use the window controls. Since you cannot see them (they are accessible through the Control menu at the upper-left corner of the program window) because they are off the screen, you must use the keyboard. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Alt+Spacebar. This displays the Control menu (even if you cannot see it).
  2. Press the letter R; the Excel window is restored to its "in between" size.
  3. Press Alt+Spacebar to again display the Control menu.
  4. Press the letter X; the Excel window is maximized.

You might think that the last two steps would revert Excel back to its oversized condition. Instead, it forces Excel to calculate the correct size of the desktop and to set the maximum window size accordingly.

Another thing you can try is to hold down the Windows key on your keyboard as you press the Up Arrow. This maximizes the active window so that it fills the available screen space. (The Windows key is the one on many newer keyboards that has the Windows logo on it.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8270) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Seeing Excel's Program Window.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Saving a Workbook in a Macro

Does your macro need to make sure that the workbook being processed is saved to disk? You can add the saving capability by ...

Discover More

Running a Macro when a Worksheet is Activated

Want to run a macro when you first select a worksheet? You can do so by using one of the event handlers built into Excel, as ...

Discover More

Sequentially Numbering Footnotes

If you have a document with lots of footnotes, you might notice that some of those footnotes are not in numerical order, like ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Losing Data in a Shared Workbook

When you create a shared workbook, you run the risk of losing some of the data in that workbook. Here's a discussion about ...

Discover More

F4 No Longer Changes Cell References

Excel has a wide variety of keyboard shortcuts that can help make it easier to use the program. When one of those shortcuts ...

Discover More

Arranging Workbook Windows

If you find yourself working with a number of different workbooks at the same time, you may want to arrange your desktop so ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 5?

2017-01-19 16:58:27

bruce quinn

Thanks for this help article. I had the suddenly arising and inevitable problem of Excel opening too big, making the task ribbon inaccessible somewhere over the top. WindowsKey+UpArrow is the fix in a tenth of a second.


2014-10-06 04:21:34

balthamossa2b

I remember a year or so ago that I had to create a graphical interface adaptable to different screen resolutions, by using a Zoom sub which reshaped and replaced some images.

It wasn't fun.

Here is what it looks like (there is some more stuff going on in the macro but you can take out the interesting bits if you ever want to zoom around worksheets and/or cry yourself to sleep):




Sub ScreenAdjust()
'Moves elements around and adjusts zoom for the active PC screen
Dim sh1 As Worksheet
Dim sh2 As Worksheet
Dim height As Double
Dim width As Double


Set sh1 = Range("Home").Parent
Set sh2 = Range("TreePath").Parent

sh2.Activate

ActiveWindow.Zoom = 100
height = ActiveWindow.VisibleRange.height
width = ActiveWindow.VisibleRange.width



sh2.Shapes("sh1").Top = height - sh2.Shapes("sh1").height 'Put the shape as low as possible
sh2.Shapes("sh2").Left = width - sh1.Shapes("sh2").width 'The logo can move independently
sh2.Shapes("SidePanelGroup").Left = width - sh2.Shapes("SidePanelGroup").width - sh2.Shapes("SidePanelGroup").width / 3 'Side panel t the right, with a small clearance to the right
sh2.Shapes("SideRectangle").height = height - sh2.Shapes("sh1").height * 1.5 'Height of rectangle, hoping that nobody opens the workbook on a smartphone
sh2.Shapes("sh3").width = width

MaxEntries = CLng((height - sh2.Shapes("sh1").height - lngY * 2) / lngY)


BoxLength = width - sh2.Shapes("SidePanelGroup").width * 1.5 - BoxOffset 'BoxLength to show maximum characters without touching the side panel

sh1.Activate

If sh1.Shapes("GeneralGroup").height + sh1.Shapes("sh1").height > ActiveWindow.height Then
ActiveWindow.Zoom = 100 * ActiveWindow.height / (sh1.Shapes("GeneralGroup").height + sh1.Shapes("sh1").height * 2)
Else
ActiveWindow.Zoom = 100
End If
'In short screens, the central selection wheel and the botoom bar might overlap; to avoid this, the zoom is automatically adjusted
'in the general sheet, while kept to 100% in the Tree sheet.


height = ActiveWindow.VisibleRange.height
width = ActiveWindow.VisibleRange.width


sh1.Shapes("sh1").Top = height - sh1.Shapes("sh1").height
sh1.Shapes("sh2").Left = width - sh2.Shapes("sh2").width
sh1.Shapes("GeneralGroup").Left = (width - sh1.Shapes("GeneralGroup").width) / 2
sh1.Shapes("Logo").Left = (width - sh1.Shapes("Logo").width) / 2
sh1.Shapes("ROTName").Left = (width - sh1.Shapes("ROTName").width) / 2
sh1.Shapes("sh4").width = width


End Sub





...Not fun at all.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.