Open Workbooks Automatically When Excel Starts

If you work on the same workbooks each day, you can make these workbooks open automatically whenever you start Excel.

  1. Open Workbooks Automatically When Excel Starts
  2. The XLSTART Folder
  3. Alternative Startup Folder

Automatically Open Workbooks

Using a Custom Default Workbook:

When you launch Excel, it automatically creates a new workbook named Book1 with three empty worksheets. This might be convenient if you want to start from scratch every time you use Excel. But if you’re like us, you probably have a preferred workbook that you use more often than the others. So, instead of closing the default workbook and looking for our favorite one, we’d rather have it open right away, ready to go. To do so

  1. Open the workbook that you want to open automatically when Excel starts.
  2. Click File > Save As and choose a location to save the workbook.
  3. In the Save As dialog box, click Browse and navigate to the XLSTART folder. MS-Office uses the following path for this folder:
    • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART\
    • Or press Windows+R to open the Run dialog box, type %appdata%\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART and press Enter. This will open the XLSTART folder in your file explorer.
  4. Click Save to save the workbook in the XLSTART folder.
  5. Close and reopen the Excel.
  6. The workbook saved in XLSTART folder will open automatically.

If you change your mind and decide to go back to a blank default workbook, simply remove the appropriate workbook or workbook template from the Startup folder.

The XLSTART folder is where your personal macro workbook is created and saved automatically when you record a macro. The personal macro workbook is a hidden workbook.

You also can have your own hidden workbooks open in the background if you want by opening the required workbook:

  1. Click View tab and in the Window group click Hide
  2. Close Excel, and click Yes to save changes to the workbook you just hid.
  3. Now place this workbook in your XLSTART folder.
  4. All the workbooks you hide and place within the XLSTART folder will open as hidden workbooks each time you start Excel.

The XLSTART Folder

This is a special folder that Excel checks every time it starts. Any workbooks placed in the XLSTART folder open automatically.

The location of the XLSTART folder varies depending on your OS, Office version, and installation settings. To find out the path of this XLSTART folder, follow these steps:

  1. Click File » Options
    It will open the Excel Options dialog box.
  2. Click Trust Center » Trust Center Settings
    It will open the Trust Center dialog box.
  3. Click Trusted Locations and look for the XLSTART folder in the list of trusted locations. You’ll find two XLSTART folders, one is for the files that come with Excel, and the other is for the files that you add yourself. See the following figure:

In the above figure, there are two XLSTART folders:

  1. C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART\
    Workbooks saved in this folder will open automatically when the <username> opens Excel application.
  2. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office16\Root\Office16\XLStart\
    This folder contains files that are part of Excel or that are added by other programs that integrate with Excel. You should not modify or delete any files in this folder unless you know what you are doing.

XLSTART – Alternative Startup Folder

You can also specify an alternative startup folder in addition to the XLSTART folder:

  1. Choose File » Options » Advanced and
  2. In the At Startup, open all files in text box, enter the path of the folder.

Now, when you start Excel, it automatically opens all workbook files in both the XLSTART folder and the alternate folder.

Understanding Workbooks and Worksheets: