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Stop the Open/Close Madness

Monday, November 15th, 2004 by | Filed Under: MS Word

Stop the Open/Close Madness

You’re working in, oh, let’s say, MS Word and you need to switch to a new document.

Tell me. Do you close MS Word, saving the current file, and then open Word all over again? Are you one of the many people I see everyday who spends an unbelievable amount of time opening and closing the same files and programs over and over again?

Hopefully that’s not you, but what if it is? Is there a better way?

Yep! You bet, and it’s so simple it’ll be one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” things.

First of all, I’d like to start with the difference between closing a file and closing a program.

When you click the X in the uppermost right hand corner (or use the File menu, Exit choice), you are closing both the file and the program.


With this method, in order to work on another file in that program you’ll need to start the program all over again.

To close just the file, leaving the program running and thereby avoiding the extra time of restarting it, go to the File menu, Close choice. Or you could click on the X in the upper right hand corner of the file window (not the X on the title bar of the program—you’re looking for the X on the same line as the menu names).


So, for those of you who are program-closers, using this method will save you all kinds of times.

Now let’s talk about those of you who have several files (such as several Word documents or several different Excel workbooks) you access multiple times a day. Do you keep opening and closing them, constantly looking through folders to find them and waiting for the program to bring them up?

What a time-waster that is! There is a better solution…

In the MS Office Suite, and in many other programs as well, you are allowed to keep more than one file open at a time. It’s OK to open another file without closing the first. (You do have to be careful of overloading your system—so close files when you’re actually finished with them, but if it’s something you use multiple times a day then you may want to consider leaving it open.)

Now that you have your many files open, how do you switch from one to another?

Take a look at your menu bar across the top of the program.

See the Window menu down at the right end of the list?

When you click on Window, you’ll get a short list of options. We’re interested in the bottom half of the list.


The bottom is a list of all files currently open in that program. By clicking on a file name, you’ll be switched to the file.

This is a handy piece of knowledge when you’re trying to copy and paste documents together. It allows you to switch between any of the documents you need for the copy and paste without all of the open and close hassles.

I do have a word of caution though: You will want to save files frequently in case of an accidental computer shut down, power failure or computer crash! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Give this “switcheroo” trick a try. It’s an awesome feature of most programs. I work with lots of people and have noticed that the Window menu is not used to maximize efficiency like it should be.

If you’re using the constant open and close method, this can save you tons of time!

~ April

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