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: Copying Between Instances of Excel.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 7, 2017)
If you've ever worked with a system that is configured for two monitors, it is really quite amazing; it can change the way you work. For example, you might open two instances of Excel and put one of them on one monitor and the other on the other monitor. You can then work with both workbooks onscreen at the same time.
One thing you'll notice, however, is that copying information from one instance of Excel to another works differently than when you copy within the same instance. If you copy a cell that contains a formula and then paste it in the other instance, what gets pasted is the result of the formula, not the formula itself. You can't even use Paste Special from the Edit menu to paste formulas; that isn't an option when working with two instances.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get formulas from one instance of Excel to another. The best you can do is the following:
This tedious procedure must be used for each formula you want to copy between instances. For this reason, many people choose not to use separate instances of Excel, even if they have the luxury of multiple monitors. Instead, they work with different windows within the same instance of Excel. Follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Arrange Windows dialog box.
Since you are using a single instance of Excel—even though it extends across two monitors—you can now cut, copy, and paste as you normally would.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12549) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Copying Between Instances of Excel.
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