Show all windows in the taskbar - No longer in MS Office 2013

If you like the comfort of being able to close/x out (in MS Word or Excel) one single document and still have the session open you are out of luck! Now you have to X out of the session. In office 2010 you could avoid that by going to File>>Option>>advanced>>Display and uncheck "Show all windows in the taskbar" to get that taken care of - That option is now gone. Now if you open 10 Word or Excel documents you will end up with 10 sessions of Word or Excel (That's quite taxing on CPU). This is very very very dummm!

If anyone has a work around I'd greatly appreciate a fix

February 7th, 2013 12:04am


Based on my research, the MDI Mode (Show all windows in the Taskbar) feature has been fully removed. Referring to the following link:

Then here's a workaround, set "Always combine, hide labels" in the Taskbar setting, then the documents will show in one icon in the taskbar, then right click the icon, there will show an option "Close all windows". Following the following steps:

  • Right click on the task bar
  • Select "Properties"
  • Select "Taskbar Tab"
  • Taskbar Buttons drop down, select "Always combine, hide labels"
  • Click "Apply" button
  • Click "Ok" button
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February 8th, 2013 2:57am

This solution is no good in my opinion as is applies to all taskbar windows.  Plus I think the combine option is the default in windows, so if someone is having this problem then it is someone who has turned this setting off.

If I can't find a different solution I'm going to be pretty unhappy with this change

December 23rd, 2013 10:12pm

I'm also not happy with this change, the old way worked better for how I work, and I'd at least like the option to go back, like we had in Office 2007 (and I believe 2010 as well).   It's bad enough that Excel insists on showing a taskbar item for each open workbook, but worse, it also shows another taskbar item for the base application?!  And closing Excel requires that I close the docs, then close the base app.  What a pain.  This is a step backwards in UI efficiency.  

However..  contrary to Sam's comment that opening 10 Excel workbooks opens 10 different instances of Excel, that is incorrect.  If you inspect the Processes tab in Task Manager, you will see that there is just one instance of Excel running no matter how many workbooks you have open.  


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April 23rd, 2014 1:45pm

I agree with you about them mishandling the taskbar settings. 

However, you can close EVERYTHING all at once by holding the shift key while clicking the X in the top right corner of the title bar.

April 29th, 2014 12:31pm

You can add the Close command to your Quick Access Toolbar. That will allow you to close a single document/spreadsheet that's open in either Word or Excel WITHOUT closing the program itself.

Alternatively, you can close just the active current document with Ctrl-F4 and, even if it's the only file you have opened, the underlying program remains open.

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April 29th, 2014 12:39pm

I totally agree with this point. This was the first setting I used to configure on any new machine I work from last 12 years and having seperate window in taskbar for each file is not user friendly at all.
October 29th, 2014 7:05am

I am not sure what all you guys are griping about. I have just installed Office 2013. Seeing no option to show all windows I Googled and came to this thread. In the meantime I opened five new documents. They all show on the task bar. They are just stacked and not individual tabs. This what happened on 2010 when there was not enough room on the task bar. Firstly the tabs got smaller and smaller then they stacked. With a laptop they almost always stacked due to lack of space (I have a lot of quick launch icons on the task bar). Move curser over the stack and they all appear as separate mini images. Move over a particular image and an X appears top right - just as it did on 2010. Click it and that document - and only that document - closes (or right click on it and select close - also like 2010).  Just as an experiment I deleted a bunch of quick launch icons and in the bar properties selected combine only when no room and guess what - they are all individual. So seriously guys take a couple of chill pills and relax; it's not the world ending disaster you portray.
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January 8th, 2015 7:41am

Hey khun_tilt, I'm glad that you cleared that up for me.  Because you understand how everyone works with their PCs, you just know that this change isn't impactful, right?

This new concept that the taskbar shows open documents, rather than running applications is significant.  In Office 2010, you could revert back to 'normal', but the lack of this option in 2013, IMO, is a material problem.  I'm a software developer, and it's not uncommon for me to have 8-10+ applications running at one time.  Paging through those with alt-tab was bad enough, but now the number of elements that I have to page through (apps plus open docs in Word and Excel) could be 30+.  That is a problem.  

If other software vendors (Informatica, Oracle, Hyperion, Adobe, Autodesk) adopt this UI concept, I'm really screwed.  But for now, it's inconsistent, and I don't like that either.  

I don't think anyone said this is a "world ending disaster", but it does have a real impact on my productivity, and it's bad software design.  

January 8th, 2015 2:50pm

As a developer, I'm very unhappy with this change as well.  The only workaround we've found for a problem we have with Word (I wouldn't presume to call it a "bug" (yet) since it may be unique to our automation and scripting methods) is to send an instruction to Word to UNCHECK "Show all windows in the taskbar"; the problem is that paragraph numbering gets garbled with multiple "instances" open. After assembly we return this setting to the user's initial choice.

The decision by MS to remove the feature is a bit odd - as I recall they removed it in Word 2000, but returned it in the next version (was that Word 2002?).

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May 29th, 2015 2:21pm

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