Automatically open a specific workbook or template when you start Excel

If you’re always using Excel to work on the same workbook or create new workbooks based on the same template. You can set Excel to open that workbook or template when it starts.

To open the same workbook every time you start Excel, in the File menu click > Save as > Computer, Browse and then browse to the XLSTART folder.

  • In a clean install of Windows Vista and later, the path to the XLSTART folder is usually:

    Office 2013 – C:\Users\(User name)\AppData\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART

Office 2013 C2R – C:\Users\(User name)\AppData\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART

  • If you upgraded from another version of Windows, the path could also be:

    Office 2013 – C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 15\XLSTART

    Office 2013 C2R – C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\Office 15\XLSTART

Note:  If your workbook or template contains a macro that automatically runs when the workbook is opened, such as Auto_Open. By default that macro will also run when you start Excel.

Use an alternate startup folder

If you want to save your startup workbook to a different location, do the following:

  1. Click File > Excel Options > Advanced.

  2. 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.

Note:  Because Excel will try and open every file in the alternate startup folder, make sure that you specify a folder that contains only files that Excel can open. If a workbook with the same name is in both the XLSTART folder and the alternate startup folder, the file in the XLSTART folder will open.

Stop a specific workbook from opening when you start Excel

To stop a workbook from opening automatically when you start Excel do the following:

  • Navigate to the folder where the workbook was saved (either the XLSTART folder or an alternate folder location), select the workbook and press Delete.

Automatically open a workbook 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 you start Excel.

To use a workbook template, create a workbook that contains the sheets, default text (such as page headers and column/row headers), formulas, macros, styles and other formatting that you want to use every time you use the template.

Settings that can be saved in a template:

  • Cell and sheet formats.

  • Page formats and print area settings for each sheet.

  • Cell styles.

  • The number and type of sheets in the workbook.

  • Protected and hidden areas of the workbook. You can hide sheets, columns and rows to prevent changes to workbook cells.

  • Text you want to repeat, such as page, column and row labels.

  • Data, graphics, formulas, charts and other information.

  • Data validation settings.

  • Macros, hyperlinks and ActiveX controls on forms.

  • Workbook calculation options and window view options.

To create a template, do the following:

  1. Click File > 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.

  4. 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 you want to use.

  5. Click Save.

  6. Click File > Close.

Prevent automatic macros from running when you start Excel

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

  • To prevent macros from running, hold down the Shift key when you start Excel.

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