The Personal Workbook in Excel

A personal workbook in Excel can be a really useful way to save some extra time – especially when working on projects that use Excel templates, or if you are one of those Excel analysts (like myself) who like customise the look of your Excel spreadsheet.  Personal workbooks in Excel are easy to create so read on to find out how…

Personal Workbook in Excel

As an Excel analyst you may have a favourite way of displaying your Excel Spreadsheet or Workbook, for example perhaps you always Zoom the view to 90% to fit that bit extra on or maybe you are working on a project that requires a certain layout to be used for all your Excel files.

Whenever this is the case it can be quite time-consuming to open Excel and make all the necessary format changes each time but did you know that you can set up the workbook then use that as your main template which opens whenever you open Excel?  You can and I’ll show you how.

The Process

The first stage in making a personal workbook in Excel is to get the Excel file looking exactly how you want it to open each time, to do this open Excel as normal and make your changes.

In the example below I have set the sheet to Zoom to 75% and I have put the title “Dedicated Excel” into the worksheets cell A1 – just so you can see a clear difference.  Now this is going to mean each time I open Excel I will be presented with a worksheet exactly like this:

When you have completed your changes it is time to save the workbook, but you need to save this file in a specific location.

The Save

You can call your personal workbook in Excel anything you like but you need to save the file in the MS Excel start-up folder as that will tell Excel when it is opening to use this file.  The standard location for the Excel start-up folder is:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\XLSTART

But this can vary depending on how you have installed your version of Excel on your computer.  If you can’t find the folder via the above location then my advice is to do a search in your Windows Explorer for the folder “XLSTART”.  If you ever see multiple versions then it is always the one located within the “Program Files” folder.

Another small problem you may come across is that the XLSTART folder could be locked by Admin. If you are on your own computer then this can be overcome by saving your personal workbook to the “My Documents” area then manually moving into the XLSTART folder – however if you do not have Admin access you would need to liaise with your IT Team and let them grant you access.

After you have located the XLSTART folder, save your Personal Workbook in that location.

Nearly finished!

That is all there is to it.  When you have your file saved in the XLSTART folder you can close down Excel and when you open it again you will see your Personal Workbook open as the default:

Notice that this file has opened as “Read-Only” in the title – this is due to the Admin rights within the folder but it is good because that will prevent you making accidental changes to your new personal workbook.

If you need to revert back to the default Excel file on opening then simply delete the file from the XLSTART folder, or if you might need it again just move your personal workbook for Excel into a different storage folder somewhere.  If the XLSTART folder is empty then Excel will always revert back to its original blank canvas when opening.

Keep Excelling,

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