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 All Open Workbook Names.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 3, 2015)
Excel allows you to open quite a few workbooks at the same time, depending on the amount of memory you have available on your system. For some people it is not unusual to have ten, fifteen, twenty, or more workbooks open, all at once.
Traditionally, the normal method used to switch from one workbook to another is to display the View tab of the ribbon and use the Switch Windows tool to select the desired workbook. If there are more than nine workbooks open and you click the Switch Windows tool, Excel displays an option that says "More Windows." Click the option and you can see a display of all open workbooks. Selecting a workbook from this list ends up in that workbook being displayed.
If you routinely work with many open workbooks, it can be a pain to repeatedly click the Switch Windows tool, click More Windows, and then select which workbook you want to view. It would be much easier if the workbooks were all listed and if you could then select from the list. Unfortunately, Excel doesn't allow you to display more than nine workbooks using the Switch Windows tool. (Nine seems to be a rather arbitrary number, but Microsoft had to set a limit somewhere. Nine is just as good as any other arbitrary limit.) There are, however, some workarounds you can use.
The first workaround is to use the task-switching capabilities of Excel. Just hold down the Alt key as you repeatedly press the Tab key to switch from one window to another. When the desired workbook window is selected, release the Alt key and the actual workbook is displayed.
You can also develop macros to display a list of workbooks, allow you to select one, and then switch among them. The most efficient way to do this is to create a UserForm and attach several macros to it. Follow these steps:
Private Sub ListBox1_Click() Windows(ListBox1.Value).Activate Unload Me End Sub Private Sub UserForm_Activate() Dim wkb As Workbook For Each wkb In Workbooks If Windows(wkb.Name).Visible Then _ ListBox1.AddItem wkb.Name Next End Sub
Sub AllWindows() UserForm1.Show End Sub
Once in Excel, you can assign the AllWindows macro to the Quick Access Toolbar or to a shortcut key. When you then click on the toolbar button or the shortcut key, the UserForm is displayed, showing all the open workbooks. You can then select one, and the UserForm disappears and the selected workbook is displayed.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8449) 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 All Open Workbook Names.
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