Excel opens a blank workbook when you launch it. That’s helpful if you generally start your session with a new, blank workbook. Most of us don’t. On the contrary, most of us work with the same files day in and day out and seldom create a new file from scratch. It’s small effort to close the new workbook, but any action that you unnecessarily repeat is a waste of time. Fortunately, you can inhibit the startup workbook as follows:

  1. Use Windows Explorer to locate the shortcut that launches Excel, which is probably in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\Shortcut Bar\Office. Be sure to update the Office 10 component with the correct version number. (Use Windows Find File feature if you can’t find it.)
  2. Delete the Excel shortcut.
  3. Use Windows Explorer to find Excel.exe, which should be in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10. (Again, update the Office version number, accordingly.)
  4. Right-click Excel.exe and choose Create Shortcut.
  5. Right-click the new shortcut, which Windows will add to the bottom of the list, and then choose Properties.
  6. Modify the path in the Target box by adding an /e switch. If the path is enclosed in quotation marks, enter the switch outside the closing quotation mark. Separate the path and the switch with a space character.
  7. Click OK.

If that doesn’t do the trick, repeat the process, but replace the Excel shortcut in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs.

You might have to help Windows find the shortcut the next time you open Excel. If Windows displays a message that it’s trying to find the Excel file, click Browse and point to the new shortcut yourself.

There are a few other startup options and switches that you might find useful:

  • workbook path/filename to open a specific workbook
  • /r workbook path/filename to open a specific workbook as read-only
  • /p folder path/folder name to specify the working folder

Once you inhibit the new workbook, you might want to include the appropriate switch and path to the workbook you use most often.