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How to Open an Existing Workbook in Excel 2010

You use the Open dialog box in Office Excel 2010 to open an existing workbook. The appearance and functionality of the Open dialog box differs slightly depending on whether you're running Excel 2010 on Windows 7 or Vista or on Windows XP.

If you want to open a workbook that was open recently, you don't have to bother with the Open dialog box. Just click the File tab, choose Recent, and then click the workbook file in the Recent Workbooks list.

Opening a workbook when running Excel 2010 on Windows 7 or Vista

Follow these steps to open a workbook when you're running Excel 2010 on Windows 7 or Vista:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Open.

    The Open dialog box appears. This dialog box is divided into panes: the Navigation pane on the left, where you can select a new folder to open, and the main pane on the right, showing the icons for all the subfolders in the current folder as well as the documents that Excel can open.

    The Open dialog box as it appears when running Excel 2010 on Windows 7.
    The Open dialog box as it appears when running Excel 2010 on Windows 7.
  2. If you want to open a workbook in another folder, select the folder in the Navigation pane.

    If you're running Excel 2010 on Windows Vista, the Navigation pane in the Open dialog box contains a Folders item instead of Libraries under your list of Favorites. Additionally, the Views button appears between the Organize and New Folder buttons and not to their right above the Navigation and main panes.

  3. Click the file you want to open and then click the Open button, or double-click the file's icon.

You can use the slider attached to the Views drop-down list button in the Open dialog box to change the way folder and file icons appear in the dialog box.

Opening a workbook when running Excel 2010 on Windows XP

When you're running Excel 2010 on Windows XP, use these steps to open a workbook:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Open.

    The Open dialog box appears. This dialog box is divided into two sections: a My Places panel on the left and a folder and file list box on the right.

  2. If you want to open a workbook in another folder, click the Look In drop-down list button and select the folder that contains the file.

    Use the Up One Level button to move up one level at a time in the file hierarchy to find the desired folder. You also can use the buttons on the My Places panel on the left side of the dialog box to jump to those folders.

  3. Click the file you want to open and then click the Open button, or double-click the file's icon.

Use the Views button drop-down menu on the Open dialog box toolbar to change the way folder and file icons appear in the dialog box.

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