Do you want to have a certain file open when you launch Excel? Whether you keep accounts, update records or carry out other Excel tasks, you may want to have a particular file open when you start working with Excel. One way to achieve this is to store this file in a folder called XLStart.

When you login to your computer there are in fact two XLStart folders you can use. One is for All Users, so a file stored here will open when Excel starts no matter who the user is. The other is part of your own account settings as each user account on your computer has its own XLStart folder. This may be useful if a computer is shared and each user wants to be able to use different Excel startup options.

The All Users XLStart folder location in Windows XP and Windows 7 is:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\XLStart
where Office11 is for Excel 2003, Office12 is for Excel2007 and Office14 is for Excel2010.

The Individual User XLStart folder locations are different for Windows XP and Windows 7. For Windows XP the location is:
C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART where Username is your actual username.

The Individual User XLStartup folder location in Windows 7 is:
C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\XLStart where Username is your actual username.

Just be aware that on Windows 7 computers you will need to have administrator rights to be able to save files to the individual user XLStart folder. If you do not, Excel will prompt you to tell you this, and offer to save the file to My Documents instead.

To demonstrate the all users option in Excel 2010 first create or open a workbook you want to auto start with Excel. Then save this file to the XLStart folder at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\XLStart. Next close Excel, and then launch it again. Excel will open and then your chosen startup file will also open.

If you add more than one file to the XLStart folder, all the files will open when Excel starts. If you mix Excel 2007/2010 and Excel 2003 file types and then launch Excel 2010 all the files will open, with the 2003 files opening in compatibility mode.

You may not want to save a working file to the XLStart folder, particularly if all your other work files are elsewhere. In this situation you can add shortcuts rather than the actual files to XLStart, so you preserve the files locations. To do this copy the file or files in the original folder, navigate to the XLStart folder, right click and choose Paste Shortcut. Shortcuts will be added to the XLStart folder. Now when Excel launches your chosen file or files open, but their location is unchanged. Just be careful if you open Excel by double clicking on one of these files directly. Excel will launch, open the startup files first, and then open the file you double clicked on, so the file will try to open a second time. Excel will prompt you asking if you want to reopen the file. Choose No to continue with one version open.

There is an alternative method to set a startup file in Excel 2007/2010. Within the Excel options you can specify the startup file from any folder. To do this choose the Office Button or File tab, Excel Options, Advanced, scroll down to the General section and you'll see "At startup, open all files in" - enter the chosen folder location into the box. So here you can specify your own Excel startup folder.

This article has described the traditional way to have one or more files open when Excel launches by using the XLStart folder. There is an XLStart folder for all users and also one for each user account on your computer. Alternatively you can specify your own startup folder in Excel 2007/2010 options, and this will apply to all users.

Hopefully this article has helped you find out about this useful Excel feature. To find out lots more about Excel you might like to consider attending a training course and really boost your learning in a short time.