How to Work with Multiple Word 2010 Documents at the Same Time - dummies

How to Work with Multiple Word 2010 Documents at the Same Time

By Dan Gookin

O the things Word 2010 can do with documents! You can open multiple Word documents at the same time and work on the lot of them, switching between the different open documents.

Opening several Word documents simultaneously

It’s not a question of whether Word can work on more than one document at a time. No, it’s a question of how you open those documents:

  • The Open command: Just keep using the Open command to open documents. No official limit exists on the number of documents Word can have open, though you may want to avoid having too many open (more than ten or so) because they slow down your computer.

  • The Open dialog box: In the Open dialog box, select multiple documents to open. Press and hold the Ctrl key as you click to select documents. Click the Open button and all the documents open, each in its own window.


  • Word document icons: From any folder window, select multiple Word document icons. Lasso them with the mouse, or Ctrl-click to select multiple documents. Press the Enter key to open the lot.

Switching between multiple documents

Each document dwells in its own Word program window. One way to switch between them is to use the Switch Windows menu on the View tab:

  1. Click the Switch Windows button on the View tab.

    The Switch Windows menu opens, listing as many as nine open documents in Word.

  2. To switch to another document, choose it from the menu.

    When more than nine documents are open at a time, the last item on the Switch Windows menu is the More Windows command.

  3. If it appears, choose the More Windows command to display the Activate dialog box, which lists all open document windows.

  4. Select a document from the dialog box and click OK to switch to it.

A quick way to switch from one document window to another is to press the Alt+Tab key combination. also, each window has its own button on the Windows taskbar. To switch between windows in Word, choose the document name from a button on the taskbar.

Viewing more than one document at a time

You can see two or more documents displayed on the screen at the same time, click the View tab and click the Arrange All button. Immediately, Word organizes all its windows by placing them on the screen like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.


Because Word doesn’t arrange minimized windows, one way to keep multiple windows open, yet arrange only two, is to minimize the windows you don’t want arranged. Then click the Arrange All button.

Although you can see more than one document at a time, you can work on only one at a time. The document with the highlighted title bar is the one “on top.” Clicking a window’s Maximize button restores the document to its normal, full-screen view.