Customize how Excel starts

Before you start Microsoft Office Excel, you can make sure that a specific workbook (workbook: A spreadsheet program file that you create in Excel. A workbook contains worksheets of rows and columns in which you can enter and calculate data.) or a workbook template or worksheet 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.) that has custom settings opens automatically when you start Excel. If you no longer need a specific workbook to open, you can stop it from being opened when you start Excel.

If a workbook that is opened when you start Excel contains automatic macros, such as Auto_Open, those macros will run when the workbook opens. If needed, you can prevent them from running automatically when you start Excel.

 Tip   You can also customize the way that Excel starts by adding command-line switches and parameters to the startup command.

For more information, see Command-line switches for Excel.

In this article


Automatically open a specific workbook when you start Excel

To automatically open a specific workbook when you start Excel, you can place that workbook in the XLStart folder, or you can use 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.) in addition to the XLStart folder.

Place a workbook in the XLStart folder

Any workbook, template, 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.) that you place in the XLStart folder is automatically opened when you start Excel. This XLStart folder was created when you installed Excel, and is usually located in one of the following places.

  • In Windows Vista, the path to the XLStart folder is usually:

C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Excel\XLStart.

  • In Microsoft Windows XP, the path to the XLStart folder is usually:

C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLStart.

 Tip   You can locate the exact path to the XLStart folder in the Trust Center.

ShowHow to locate the XLStart folder

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Excel Options.
  1. Click Trust Center, and then under Microsoft Office Excel Trust Center, click Trust Center Settings.
  2. Click Trusted Locations, and then verify the path to the XLStart folder in the list of trusted locations.

Use an alternate startup folder

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, click Excel Options, and then click the Advanced category.
  1. Under General, in the At Startup, open all files in box, type the full path of the folder that you want to use as the alternate startup folder.

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

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

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Stop a specific workbook from opening when you start Excel

Depending on the location of the workbook that is automatically opened when you start Excel, do any of the following to make sure that the workbook no longer opens upon startup.

  • If the workbook is stored in the XLStart folder, remove it from that folder.
  • In Windows Vista, the path to the XLStart folder is usually:

C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Excel\XLStart.

  • In Microsoft Windows XP, the path to the XLStart folder is usually:

C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLStart.

  • If the workbook is stored in the alternate startup folder, do the following:
  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, click Excel Options, and then click the Advanced category.
  1. Under General, clear the contents of the At startup, open all files in box, and then click OK.
  2. In Windows Explorer, remove any icon that starts Excel and automatically opens the workbook from the alternate startup folder.

 Tip   You can also right-click that icon, click Properties, and then remove any references to the workbook on the Shortcut tab.

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Automatically open a workbook template or worksheet template when you start Excel

You can save workbook settings that you frequently use in a workbook template, and then automatically open that workbook template every time that you start Excel.

  1. Do one of the following:

ShowSettings that you can save in a workbook or worksheet template

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Save As.
  2. In the Save as type box, click Template.
  3. In the Save in box, select the folder where you want to store the template.
  • In Windows Vista, the path to the XLStart folder is usually:

C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Excel\XLStart.

  • In Microsoft Windows XP, the path to the XLStart folder is usually:

C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLStart.

  • To create a custom workbook or worksheet template, make sure that the Templates folder is selected.
  • In Windows Vista, the Templates folder is usually:

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.

  • In Microsoft Windows XP, the Templates folder is usually:

C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates.

  1. In the File name box, do one of the following:
    • To create the default workbook template, type Book.
    • To create the default worksheet template, type Sheet.
    • To create a custom workbook or worksheet template, type the name that you want to use.
  2. Click Save.
  3. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Close.

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Prevent automatic macros from running when you start Excel

Automatic macros (such as Auto_Open) that have been recorded in a workbook that opens when you start Excel will automatically run as soon as the workbook opens.

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

 Tip   For more information about automatic macros, see Run a macro.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007