Sunday, September 16, 2007

MS Office and Dual Monitors

I find I'm much more productive with dual monitors hence I have them both at home and in the office. Unfortunately I don't think anyone at Microsoft feels the same way, at least in the Office Team. In my work environment which is Windows XP with Office 2k3, numerous products out of the box don't allow you to utilize dual displays! Here's a few tricks I do to get around the limited product issues.

PowerPoint 2003


Let me start out by saying I am not an office power user at all, nor do I plan on becoming one. Recently I've been asked to do a number of presentations and slides on various stuff which never materializes. I wanted to have 2 ppt documents open one in each window so I could steal some content easily. Powerpoint 2003 would not let me do this. I could open multiple instances but they all showed up in the same window!

To work around this:

- I created a new Windows XP user locally (pptuser).

- Whipped up a batch file to utilize the runas functionality of windows and launch powerpoint.

Contents: 'runas /user:pptuser "C:\....office11\POWERPNT.EXE"'

- I moved this batch file to an easy place in the start menu to launch it as needed.

Note: With Windows XP I had some issues with directory permissions so I needed to give permission to the pptuser for directories where I stored my documents.

Excel 2003


So once I got PowerPoint working I noticed I had this same issue with Excel... SIGH... I needed to compare some workbooks, again they came up as separate instances but they were also in the same window.

- Open Windows Explorer and go to Tools -> Folder Options.

- Click on the “File Types” tab which will display the registered file types.

- Find any Microsoft Excel Worksheet (example: xls) under Extensions and File Types.

- Highlight, and Click on “Advanced”.

- Highlight the Action “Open” and Click on “Edit”.

- De select USE DDE.

- In the ‘Application used to perform action:’ section append a space “%1”

- Note: The quotes are required so it would look like:

...office11\EXCEL.EXE” /e “%1”

- Click “OK” to save the changes.

Now you should be good to go!

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