ThreeWave Using Excel With Multiple Monitors

This page describes working with multiple monitors in Excel.
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Excel is an application ideally suited to a multi-monitor setup. With the dramatic increase in the performance of video cards and the huge drop in prices of both video cards and flat panel displays, you can add a second or third monitor even if you are on a tight budget. (I have two 27-inch and two 24-inch monitors driven by two video cards on my main machine. I can view columns from A all the way out to CZ.)

There are basically two ways to use multiple monitors in Excel. The first is to stretch the Application window across two or more monitors and maximize the worksheet window within the Application window. When you do this, the workbook will fill both monitors allowing you to display many more columns that you could on a single monitor.

Multiple Monitors 1Both the Application and the Workbook windows have three window control buttons, as shown on the left. The flat bar on the left is the Minimize button and will reduce either the Workbook or the Application down to a small icon. The middle button is the Restore button. You use this button to toggle the window state between  maximized state and sizable. The right button is the Close button and will close the workbook or the application.

To stretch Excel across multiple monitors, click the Application Restore Button, shown to the left, to set Excel's window state to sizable. Then drag the title bar of Excel to the upper left corner of the left-most monitor. Then, drag the lower right corner of the application window to the lower right corner of the right-most monitor. You can't simply maximize the Application window to fill both monitors. Nearly all video card drivers are designed to maximize a window in a single monitor, not across all displays. Some video card allow you to choose whether to maximize a window in one monitor or across all monitors. See the Display settings in the Windows Control Panel and the documentation for your video card for more information. Once you have stretched the Excel Application window across your displays, click the Window Restore button, shown above, to maximize your Workbook within the Application window. This will allow you to see twice as many columns than when Excel is maximized in a single monitor.

The second way to use multiple monitors is to display one Workbook in each monitor. Stretch the Excel Application window across all your displays as described above. Then click the Window Restore button to put the Workbook window in a sizable state. Drag the title bar of each workbook window to the appropriate location within the Application window. Using multiple monitors in this manner allows you to view two or more workbooks side by side.

A multiple monitor setup is wonderful. Once you get used to it, you'll never go back.

Note that none of this is necessary in Excel 2007 and later. In these versions, Excel opens each workbook in its own window, each with its own Ribbon, so you can drag the Excel windows anywhere you want.

This page last modified: 1-July-2007.