The first thing I am going to do is clarify that copying information between two instances of Excel is not the same as copying information between two worksheets opened in one instance of Excel.
Nowadays there are many offices with desks with two monitors on them. Amazing the advances we have made isn’t it? All this progress sometimes changes the way we work. For instance, you might open two instances of MS Excel and have one on each monitor so that you can work on both workbooks at the same time.
You will notice though, that copying information from one instance of Excel to another works quite differently than when you copy within the same instance of Excel. If you copy a cell that contains a formula and then paste it in the other instance, what gets pasted is the result of the formula, not the formula itself. And no, you cannot use Paste Special from the Edit menu either to paste formulas either when using two instances of Excel.
The bad news is that there simply is no easy way to get formulas from one instance of Excel to another. You can, however, use the workaround below:
- In the source workbook, select a single cell that you would like to copy.
- Click F2 to cause Excel to switch to Edit mode.
- While still in Edit mode, select everything in the cell (entire formula).
- Click Ctrl + C to copy the formula to the Clipboard.
- Click ESC to exit Edit mode.
- In the target workbook, select the cell where you would like to paste the formula you previously copied.
- Click F2 and Excel will again switch to Edit mode.
- Click Ctrl + V to paste the formula into the cell.
- Click Enter.
Edit mode has now been closed and the formula is safely in your target cell.
Unfortunately this tedious procedure must be replicated for each formula you would like to copy between instances so most folks will forgo using separate instances of Excel and instead opt to work with different windows within the the same instance of Excel.
Follow the steps below to learn how:
- Open the two workbooks with which you would like to work.
- From the Window menu, select Arrange. In versions 2007-2010, click on the View tab of your Ribbon and click the Arrange All tool in the Window group.
- Select Tiled or whichever option you prefer.
- Click OK.
Your two workbooks are now side-by-side in your window.
- Be certain the Excel window is not maximized.
- Position the non-maximized window in the left-most of your monitors.
- Drag the right border of the Excel program window onto your second monitor. A single instance of Excel now covers both of your monitors.
- Within the Excel window, use your mouse to arrange the two workbooks so that one is on each monitor.
Since you are using a single instance of Excel (even though it extends across two monitors), you can now cut, copy and paste as you would normally.