Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Opening Multiple Documents at Once.

Opening Multiple Documents at Once

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 6, 2016)


Word provides a complete file management system. One of the features of this system is that you can quickly load multiple documents in one easy step. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Open dialog box. (There are many ways to do this. Perhaps the easiest way is to just press Ctrl+O. If you are using Word 2013, you'll also need to click Computer | Browse after pressing Ctrl+O.)
  2. Instead of double-clicking on a file name, start to create a "selection set." If you are selecting sequential files, click on the first file in the sequence, then hold the Shift key as you click on the last. You can add additional files to those selected by holding down the Ctrl key while clicking with the mouse.
  3. To remove files from the selection set, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on a file name you previously added to the set.
  4. When you are satisfied with the list, click on Open.

Take some time to look around and play in the Open dialog box. It has many of the same options as Windows Explorer as well as a few more. Pay particular attention to the options available on the drop-down list displayed from the Open button (click the down arrow at the right of the Open button).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8696) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Opening Multiple Documents at Once.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2016-06-07 10:02:22


Peter, thanks for the response, but I had tried that already. I think because they are live links to the files (as opposed to being in a folder containing the file) this doesn't work in Word 2016.

2016-06-06 14:33:51


It may depend on the options you have set for mouse clicks. eg, if you have the web option applied, a single click will open the file instead of selecting it (as if you had clicked on a web page link).
The simplest solution to that is to press the Shift or Control key *before* you select the first of your multiple files.

2016-06-06 10:18:26


I have Word 2016 and as soon as I click on any file from the list on the "Open" page, that file opens. What am I missing from this tip? Thanks!

2016-01-16 10:21:47

kimberly a

hi allen,

thanks for the tip. this doesn't work in my word 2011. i've tried all combinations of holding down shift/ctrl/command...but mostly i repeat the instructions you give and, after clicking on the first document and then holding down the shift key, the selection document just becomes the new one in the series. so, simply, i can only open one document at a time. do you have an article about that problem? thank you. i appreciate your work. kimberly a mallett

2015-04-19 13:11:49


These are the exact kind of tips we NEED! I love this website already! Will be coming back for more! :) Keep up the good work.

2013-07-09 17:46:14

Glenn Case


You could probably do this with an AutoOpen or event macro.

2013-07-09 17:17:19


Is there a way to always open the same 5 files when I open Word?

(I love this feature of Notepad++)

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