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Navigating between open workbooks

From: Excel 2010: Managing Multiple Worksheets and Workbooks

Video: Navigating between open workbooks

When you have more than one workbook opened at a time, you need efficient ways to move back-and-forth between them. The standard approach and always recommended for the fact that it does remind us what we do have open is located on the View tab in the Ribbon. Extreme right location here in the Window group. Switch Windows. A good idea to click here once in a while just to remind yourself that you do have more than one file opened and this is the standard way to switch files for sure. Makes good sense to take stock of that from time to time anyway.

Navigating between open workbooks

When you have more than one workbook opened at a time, you need efficient ways to move back-and-forth between them. The standard approach and always recommended for the fact that it does remind us what we do have open is located on the View tab in the Ribbon. Extreme right location here in the Window group. Switch Windows. A good idea to click here once in a while just to remind yourself that you do have more than one file opened and this is the standard way to switch files for sure. Makes good sense to take stock of that from time to time anyway.

But it's certainly going to be faster if you press Ctrl+Tab. Now, Ctrl+Tab might not take you to the file that you want but eventually it will if you keep pressing Ctrl+Tab. This will toggle so to speak between all opened workbooks that we might have and then back to the current one. Now, if you do that frequently, you are used to the order, you know which direction these are headed in. If you somehow think of them as clockwise or counter-clockwise, you just have this image in your mind. You can reverse directions by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Tab.

It will go in the opposite direction. That's a little bit hard to remember at times. It is worth noting that when you have only two files open, Ctrl+Tab of course is a toggle and a very fast switch to move back-and-forth between opened workbooks. You can also use Ctrl+F6, not that it's any better. The only advantage here could be that this is exactly what we use in Microsoft Word as well. Ctrl+Tab doesn't work there. So Ctrl+F6 is the more universal way of switching windows, it's the way it's typically described, or Ctrl+Shift+ F6 to move the opposite direction.

But if you use this mostly for Excel, Ctrl+Tab is the fast way to get there. I use it all the time and even when I want to know which files are open rather than going into the menu, I'll simply press Ctrl+Tab a few times, take quick stock of what's open, and back here, ready to do what I want to do. Fast and easy way to navigate through multiple opened workbooks.

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