If you have ever worked with multiple workbooks in Excel, you know that it can sometimes cause issues if all of the workbooks are open in the same instance of Excel. For example, if you recalculate all formulas, it will do that for all open workbooks in the same instance.
If you don’t want that to happen or if you simply want to see both of your spreadsheets side by side in two different windows, then creating multiple instances of Excel makes sense. You can still split screen multiple spreadsheets within a single instance of Excel, but I find it cumbersome and not intuitive.
Versions of Excel
Before we get into details, you should determine which version of Excel you are using. If you have Office 2016 or Office 2013 installed, you don’t have to worry because whenever you open a new workbook, it automatically creates a new instance of Excel.
Only with Office 2010 and earlier do you have the single Excel instance issue. In this article, I’ll mention the different ways you can get Excel to open different workbooks in different instances.
Multiple Instances of Excel
Normally, you open Excel spreadsheets by either double-clicking on them in Explorer or by navigating to them from inside Excel. Using either of these two methods will result in the spreadsheets opening in a single instance of Excel.
Use the right-click send-to menu:
1) Open the path to your Office install (i.e. C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14)
2) Right click Excel.exe and choose “Create Shortcut”.
3) Move the shortcut to %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo (rename the shortcut if desired)
4) When you want a document to open in a new instance, right-click the file, send-to your Excel shortcut.