How to Open Two Word Documents at the Same Time

By Norm Dickinson

Microsoft Word is capable of running in multiple instances on the desktop with each instance capable of having a different file open for editing. The files can be copies of the same document or different documents and new files can be created. These files are each displayed in their own window, which can be sized and moved about on the desktop as desired. Windows can be sized and arranged so that several documents are visible at once, and information can be copied or moved between the documents using the clipboard.

Step 1

Launch Microsoft Word 2010 by clicking on the shortcut on the toolbar or by clicking "Start," "All Programs," "Microsoft Office" and "Microsoft Word 2010." Alternately double-click on a desktop shortcut or on a Word document from Windows Explorer.

Step 2

Click "File" and "Open" and select a Word document to open from the list. Alternately begin typing in the blank document that was automatically created when Word was launched.

Step 3

Launch Word again from the start menu or desktop shortcut, or double-click on a desktop shortcut or a Word document from Windows Explorer. Alternately click "File" and "Open" again, and open a second document from the list.

Step 4

Click the Word icon in the Task Bar near the Start Button and click the desired Word document to switch back and forth between full screen documents. Alternately hold down the "ALT" key and press "TAB" to cycle through a list of open documents and applications, and release the keys when the desired document or application is presented to switch to that window.

Step 5

Restore each window by clicking the "Restore Down" (double-box) button in the upper right corner of the Word window, located between the "Minimize" (minus sign) and the "Close" ("X") buttons. Note that this button toggles between "Restore Down" (double-box) and "Maximize" (square) forms depending on whether the window is full screen and can be restored or if it is already less than full screen.

Step 6

Click and hold the mouse at one of the borders of the window when the cursor turns into a double arrow. Drag the mouse to size the window to the desired dimensions. Release the mouse. Click and hold the title bar of the document and drag it to the desired location to arrange the documents on the screen for better visibility.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjust the size of each window to allow a relevant section of the document to remain visible on the screen. Multiple Word documents and various other windows can be open at the same time if desired.
  • Use caution when working on more than one copy of the same file as changes can be made in more than one copy but not merged later. Each copy will have to be saved as a different file name and only one copy may be saved with the original file name.