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This chapter is from the book

Working with Multiple Files

In Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you can open and view or edit more than one file at a time. To open multiple files using the common dialog boxes, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Open (or press Ctrl+O) to display the Open dialog box.

  2. Hold down the Ctrl key and click to select multiple filenames.

  3. Click the Open button or press Enter to open all selected files.

To open multiple files from an Explorer window, hold down the Ctrl key and click each icon; then right-click and choose Open.

You can also open any file by dragging its icon from an Explorer window into an Office program window. When you drag an Excel or PowerPoint icon from an Explorer window into an open program window, Office opens the new file in its own window. On the other hand, if you drop a Word icon into an open document window, Word assumes that you want to insert the file at the point where you dropped it. To open the document in a new window instead, drop the icon onto the title bar of the Word program window.

Each data file gets its own button on the Windows taskbar, and you can switch between document windows the same way you switch between programs.

Unfortunately, the techniques for handling multiple document windows are inconsistent among Office programs, which can cause you no end of confusion. Unless you change its default behavior (see the following tip), each Word document exists in its own window; there’s no way to display two or more Word documents in the same window, and closing one Word document has no effect on other windows. Using Excel and PowerPoint, on the other hand, you can rearrange two or more document windows within a single program window, and if you click the Close (X) button on an Excel or PowerPoint window, you close all open workbooks or presentations.

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