A Better Way to Display Several Files on Your Screen

I often need to display parts of a Word document and several Excel workbooks on my screen at the same time. In Office 2003 I do that by clicking first on the Window menu in the toolbar, but is there a better way?

Yes, I can suggest a much better way—especially since you apparently need to repeatedly set up the multiview format. But first let’s take a moment to illustrate the method you use for those who are not familiar with it and only need to do it occasionally.

With that method, not only can you display parts of several files on the screen, you also can adjust their sizes and independently perform all your usual tasks.

In Office 2003, begin by opening your first document or spreadsheet and then click on Window. If you want to arrange multiple views just of that file, click on Split and a horizontal line will appear in the middle of the document. When you place your cursor in either portion, you can move around and edit it—independent of the other portion.

If you click on Arrange, this screen appears, letting you select how to line up the views.

If you open another file and click on Compare Side by Side with…(select from the choices at the bottom of the menu which file you want added to the screen).

As you can see from the screenshot below, you can open more files and click and drag them for the best arrangement on your screen. The number of files and their size and arrangement is limited only by the size of your monitor.

Office 2007 has two methods. One is by clicking on View in the Ribbon, and as you can see from the screenshot below, the conveniently arranged buttons in the menu make it easier to set up your views.

The other way is to open the files you want. Then right-click on the toolbar, producing this screen.

Whether you choose to Cascade Windows, Show Windows Stacked or Show Windows Side by Side, you can maneuver the screens any way you wish with your mouse and, by grabbing the edges of any image, shorten or widen them for a convenient fit—even allowing some overlap.

But I promised you an even more powerful and faster way to place multiple files on your screen. AcerGridvista is a freeware program (no cost for personal or commercial use) that can divide your screen into as many as four sections in any of the following arrangements:

Once you select any of the configuration arrangements above and open the files you want displayed, you can drag and drop them into a box of your choice; the software will automatically resize them to fit in the box. You also can set a window to always remain on top or to be semi-transparent (so you can see what’s under it). And it will remember your latest arrangement the next time you want to set up multiple screens.

To download the program, go to www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Acer-Gridvista-Download-71638.html.

Stanley Zarowin is a contributing editor to the JofA. His e-mail address is stanley.joatech@gmail.com.

Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to me via e-mail at stanley.joatech@gmail.com or via regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy, 220 Leigh Farm Road, Durham, NC 27707-8110.

Because of the volume of mail, I regret I cannot individually answer submitted questions. However, if a reader’s question has broad interest, I will answer it in a forthcoming Technology Q&A column.


©2008 AICPA


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