Save time by creating an Excel workbook workspace

If you open the same group of Excel workbooks every day, you can save yourself some time by creating a workspace.

If you're like most of us, you probably work with the same few workbooks every day. You might work with them as a group or separately, but you open these files, individually, most every day and that's inefficient.

You can save a bit of time by saving the files you use every day as a group as follows:

  1. Open all the workbooks you want to save as a group.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Click Save Workspace in the Window group.
  4. Enter a name for the group, and click Save.

To open the group (all the workbooks in the group), open the group as you would any other file.

Your workbooks are still separate files. You can open and close them individually, as you normally would. However, Excel also saves a reference to the workbooks as a group now, using the xlw extension. It's a simple way to reduce a few keystrokes every day.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.


Many thanks Susan.  Appreciated the items you put in TechR. It all takes time and you save us lots.


In Excel 2003 (which I'm still using), I saved my workbooks in a folder & configure Tools + Options + General Tab + At Startup, open all files in. I point the path to that folder & it opens these workbooks whenever Excel starts. I even auto start Excel every time Windows boots up.


What you've failed to mention is that by saving your workbooks as a group you loose a lot of the worksheet formatting such as switched off gridlines and frozen header panes. In addition, when you open up the group, all of the workbooks open with the active cell at row 1 column 1. I don't think there's a way around this.


I thought this would be a time saver for me. I have a workbook with links to two others. To prevent Excel from locking up, I have to open the linked workbooks first before opening the one with the links. Unfortunately, as tonyw pointed out, some of the settings aren't retained. If I have to spend time resetting my zoom level (on multiple worksheets, mind you), it doesn't result in any greater efficiency. If I had write access to the workbooks I am linking to, I would try changing their zoom level to see if the settings of the first workbook opened are adopted by the subsequent workbooks. This is a great tip, even though it doesn't work in my particular case.

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