Showing All Excel Workbooks on the Taskbar

Q: (from Phyllis)

I have been trying to find the default setting in Excel for automatically opening multiple instances when a new workbook is opened. I can manually open them. I am on Windows 7 Pro and Office 2007. Can you give me a shove in the right direction?



It’s interesting – Word and PowerPoint do this by default, but historically speaking, Excel doesn’t. All of the workbooks are associated with the same taskbar icon and therefore making it difficult to show two workbooks side-by-side in Windows 7. We seem to have added an option to correct this starting with Office 2003 and from page 8 of my Tips & Tricks document (!/view.aspx?cid=9DC1B9C3C6B95B61&resid=9DC1B9C3C6B95B61%21892) I believe the following should work:

Show each open spreadsheet on the taskbar (Excel 2007)

  • Select the Office Start button clip_image002
  • Select the Excel Options button clip_image004
  • Select the Advanced from the left-hand list
  • Scroll down to the Display section
  • Check the Show all windows in the taskbar checkbox

Click the OK button


SDeming Face Steve


Comments (24)
  1. Cable says:

    Thanks so much for this info!  This function was not checked when I switched to excel 2007 and it has drove me crazy.

  2. val says:

    Hey, actually that does work for showing them on the task bar (i'm using office 2010) but unfortunately the problem is not solved as excel still groups the multiple instances in the window, not allowing one to view 2 windows side by side unless minimizing the both instances and resizing within the excel window. There has go to be a way to fix this!! absolutely moronic…

  3. DW says:

    Perhaps the Windows option to group similar taskbar buttons together may be relevant here? See this article:

    Group similar buttons on the taskbar…/Group-similar-buttons-on-the-taskbar

  4. saul says:

    Its possible to change it also in office 2013?

  5. GCR says:

    Excel is just so different! If an Excel window is closed through the Live Taskbar Preview, then the Live Taskbar Preview also closes! But with Word or IE when a window is closed through the Live Taskbar Preview, then the Live Taskbar Preview just resizes. Is this an intentional anomaly in Excel? or just Excel being different?

  6. Max says:

    Thanks. It worked  and problem resolved.

  7. tom says:

    This was a great help – simple and concise. Thank you!

  8. Balaji says:

    Thanks steve…it worked

  9. Robin & Batman says:

    Marvellous. I recently upgraded and so I did this in reverse, which is what I wanted to achieve, i.e. only one item on the taskbar and switch workbooks by using the CTRL-TAB or following these daft ‘ribbon’ menus to Switch Window.

  10. Salony Sehgal says:

    Thanks Steve

  11. Abdul Salam A says:

    Thanks Steve. its working

  12. Fernando Olvera says:

    The fix is quick.
    Go to windows taskbar properties and change the option from "Always combine, hide labels" to never combine.

    Hit apply and the excel windows will show on the bar side by side.

  13. Poks says:

    Thank you very much.

  14. shaan says:

    Thanks steve its working

  15. Brother says:

    Thx explained simple and clear.

  16. McCJoe says:

    My ‘Show all windows in the taskbar’ option is already checked, but as of 2 days ago it no longer displays the overlapping window on the taskbar or lets me select a different spreadsheet when I hover the cursor over it that I have opened when working on
    multiple spreadsheets. Does anybody know why this would’ve changed so suddenly?

  17. Tomb says:

    thank you so much!

  18. Meraai says:

    Hi Steve, following a rebuild, I now see multiple open instances of an application side-by-side as "windows" instead of a menu/ filenames in rows which is what I am used to. How do I change the taskbar settings to manage my open files like that? The windows
    do not help, especially if you have 5 or more identical spreadsheets open (for different business units) at the same time. Thanks in advance.

  19. RAISAL says:


  20. sweety says:

    thank you so much

  21. Steve G. says:

    The problem is the option does not remain checked when you close the program, and have to recheck the box evertime you open it.

  22. james says:

    Thanks Fernando. Your’s was not just the quick fix. It was the only fix. The other solutions did not work.

  23. sahil says:

    Thanks a lot its working

  24. Vello says:

    Hi Steve,
    this is not the solution for me. I also have “never combine” selected in taskbar Properties.
    I have Excel 2010 and Win10 64it.
    I know there are thousands of people looking for a fix, but there is none.
    I guess MS is ignoring us.

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