Customize how Excel starts

ShowOpen a workbook automatically when Microsoft Excel starts

ShowUse the XLStart folder

ShowUse an alternate startup folder

To automatically open a workbook, template (template: A workbook that you create and use as the basis for other similar workbooks. You can create templates for workbooks and worksheets. The default template for workbooks is called Book.xlt. The default template for worksheets is called Sheet.xlt.), or workspace file (workspace file: A file that saves display information about open workbooks, so that you can later resume work with the same window sizes, print areas, screen magnification, and display settings. A workspace file doesn't contain the workbooks themselves.) from a folder other than the XLStart folder, you can specify an alternate startup folder (alternate startup folder: A folder in addition to the XLStart folder that contains workbooks or other files that you want to be opened automatically when you start Excel and templates that you want to be available when you create new workbooks.).

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the General tab, in the At Startup, open all files in box, type the full path of the folder you want to use as the alternate startup folder.

Because Excel will attempt to open every file in the alternate startup folder, make sure you specify an empty folder or a folder that contains only files that Excel can open.

 Note   If a file with the same name is in both the XLStart folder and the alternate startup folder, the file in the XLStart folder opens.

ShowUse startup switches when you start Excel

  1. On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.
  2. In Windows Explorer, go to \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11, right-click EXCEL.exe, and click Create Shortcut.
  3. Right-click the shortcut you created, click Properties, and then modify the path in the Target box with switches from the following table.

 Note   Switches are not case sensitive: /O is the same as /o. In some scenarios, you can use more than one switch at a time. If you use more than one switch at a time, you must separate the switches with spaces. For example: /o /s

To start Excel and Type
Prevent display of the Excel startup screen and a new blank workbook /e or /embedded
Create a new workbook that contains a single macro sheet /m
Force Excel to re-register itself /o
Specify the working folder as the active working folder instead of the default working folder /p workbook path
Open a specific workbook as read-only (read-only: A setting that allows a file to be read or copied, but not changed or saved. If you change a read-only file, you can save your changes only if you give the document a new name.) /r workbook path\file name
Specify Office Safe Mode /s, /safe, or /safemode
Open and close Excel to rewrite all registry keys and reassociate Excel with all Excel files, such as workbooks and charts /regserver
Open and close Excel to unregister Excel /unregserver
  1. Click OK.
  2. Move the shortcut to \Windows\Documents and Settings\Start Menu.

 Note   Your custom shortcut may be replaced by a Windows Installer shortcut if you name the shortcut Microsoft Excel, and either of the following are true:

  • You use the Detect and Repair command in Microsoft Office, and you selected the Repair my shortcuts while repairing check box.
  • You select the Repair Office option in Maintenance Mode setup, click the Repair errors in my Office installation option, and then select the Restore My Shortcuts check box.

If a Windows Installer shortcut replaces your custom shortcut, you must re-create your custom, non-Windows Installer, shortcuts.

ShowStop a workbook from loading when Excel starts

This procedure clears all ways in which a workbook could be loaded.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the General tab.
  2. Clear the contents of the At startup, open all files in box.
  3. Remove workbooks stored in the XLStart folder.
  4. In Windows Explorer, remove the icon of the workbook you want to open in an alternate startup folder.
  5. Remove a startup switch from the Excel icon.
  6. Right-click the Excel icon that you want to use to open Excel, and clear the contents of the Target box.

ShowStart Excel without running automatic macros

Automatic macros, such as Auto_Open, are designed to run when you start Excel. For more information about these macros, see Microsoft Visual Basic Help.

  • To prevent macros from automatically running, hold down SHIFT while you start Excel.

 Note   If you start Excel from the Office Shortcut Bar, click the Microsoft Excel button on the Office Shortcut Bar first, and then immediately hold down SHIFT while Excel starts.

ShowStart Excel without the Startup task pane

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the View tab, under Show, clear the Startup Task Pane check box.

ShowSave workbook settings you want to use every time you start Excel with a workbook template (book.xlt)

  1. Decide which type of template you want:

ShowSettings that can be saved


Text, data, graphics, and formulas

  • Text you want to repeat, such as page headers and row and column labels.
  • Data, graphics, formulas, charts, and other information.
  • Data validation settings.

Toolbars, automation, and Option settings


  1. Open the template to which you want to attach a custom toolbar.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Customize.
  3. On the Toolbars tab, click Attach.
  4. Under Custom Toolbars, click the toolbar you want to attach, and then click Copy.

 Note   Be sure to save the template after attaching the toolbar.

  • Workbook calculation options and window view options. Set with the Options command (Tools menu).
  1. To display a picture of the first page of a template in the Preview box of the Templates dialog box (General Templates..., New Workbook task pane), click Properties on the File menu, click the Summary tab, and then select the Save preview picture check box.
  2. On the File menu, click Save As.
  3. In the Save as type box, click Template.
  4. In the Save in box, select the folder where you want to store the template.

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\XLStart

  • To create a custom workbook or worksheet template, select the Templates folder, which is usually

C:\Documents and Settings\user_name\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

  1. Enter the name of the template in the File name box. Do one of the following:
    • Type book to create the default workbook template.

To create a custom workbook template, type any valid file name.

  • Type sheet to create a template for default worksheets.

To create a custom sheet template, type any valid file name.

  1. Click Save, and then click Close on the File menu.
Applies to:
Excel 2003