In Windows 10, you can open multiple windows of the same app and work with them in parallel. Whether you’re comparing information, transferring files from one location to another, or compiling data from several documents for your homework or report in Microsoft Word or Excel, running multiple instances of the same app can provide a significant boost in productivity. If you want to find out how to open the same app twice on Windows 10 or how to open multiple windows of the same app, this tutorial provides several answers:
NOTE: We created this tutorial using Windows 10 November 2019 Update, but the features presented also work on other versions of Windows 10, as well as in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
First things first: Which apps support multiple windows?
Some apps are developed to run in multiple instances, while others are limited to only one window by design. There are plenty of apps that can run multiple instances at the same time in Windows 10. Browsers, like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Office apps, like Word or Excel, support multiple windows. So do most desktop apps for Windows.
However, modern apps from the Microsoft Store, including the Store itself, can’t have more instances open in Windows 10. To learn more about the differences between the two types of apps, read What is a Windows app? What is a desktop application? How are they different?.
Other apps limited to one window are Windows Media Player, OneDrive, Dropbox, most games for Windows, antivirus apps, and Skype.
In short, with a few exceptions, if you didn’t download it from the Microsoft Store, you should be able to have multiple windows of the app open at the same time. But, just to be sure, keep on reading and give it a try!
The classic way to open multiple instances of an app in Windows
The most intuitive way to open another window of an app that’s already running is to launch it once more. While clicking or tapping on an app’s taskbar shortcut only provides access to its active window, you can use any other shortcut for the same app available on your desktop or in the Start Menu to run it again. You can even type the app’s name in your taskbar’s search field and open it from there.
Alternatively, right-click (or press-and-hold, on touch-screen devices) on any open app’s taskbar icon. Then, in the contextual menu, click or tap on the app’s name to launch another instance of it.
Open multiple instances of an app using Shift + Click
There are several shortcuts you can use to open multiple instances of an app, the most popular being Shift + Click or Shift + Tap for touch screens.
First, open the application you want to run in multiple instances. Then, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click with your cursor – or tap with your finger – on its taskbar icon.
One click or tap opens a new instance, two clicks or taps open two, and so on.
As long as the program allows multiple windows, other instances should immediately open.
Open multiple instances of the same app with administrative permissions
In case you need to open multiple windows of the same desktop app, but with administrative permissions, the keyboard shortcut to remember is similar to the first one. You can use Ctrl + Shift + Click or Ctrl + Shift + Tap for touch screens. Press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys simultaneously, and then click or tap on the taskbar icon of the app that you want to run as admin in multiple instances.
This triggers a UAC prompt, and you must confirm your choice before another instance of the app is opened. To learn more about running apps as administrator, read 13 ways to use “Run as administrator” in Windows 10.
Launch multiple windows of the same app using Ctrl + N
After opening an app, access it, and use the Ctrl + N shortcut to open another new application window. Just hold down the Ctrl key and press N on your keyboard at the same time.
This shortcut works with File Explorer, programs in the Microsoft Office family, like Word or Excel, and every major browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or Microsoft Edge.
Run multiple instances of an app using the mouse middle-click
If you have a mouse on your Windows 10 computer or device, you can use its scroll wheel to open multiple windows of an app. Open one instance of an application, then middle-click on its icon from the taskbar to launch one more window. Another window of the same program opens every time you middle-click the app’s taskbar icon. Hovering your cursor over an app’s icon shows a preview of all its open windows, letting you choose the one you need.
TIP: If you’re using a touchpad, it is possible to configure it for middle-click by following the instructions in this tutorial: How to configure your touchpad in Windows 10.
Open multiple windows of the same app with Windows + Shift + 1 to 9
If you like keyboard shortcuts, Windows + Shift + 1 to 9 is another one that can open multiple instances of the same app. To begin, launch the program. No matter where you run it from, its icon should be visible in the taskbar. Count the icons on the taskbar from left to right and remember the number of the app you want to have more open copies of. In the image below, 1 corresponds with File Explorer, 2 with Mozilla Firefox, and so on.
Hold down Windows and Shift on your keyboard and press the number key corresponding to the icon of the open app you want to run in an additional window. We used Windows + Shift + 1 to launch another instance of File Explorer, Windows + Shift + 2 for Mozilla Firefox, Windows + Shift + 5 for Microsoft Edge, and Windows + Shift + 7 to open multiple instances of Google Chrome.
If you want to open multiple windows of an app that doesn’t have a taskbar shortcut, keep in mind that the number associated with its taskbar icon may vary depending on what other apps you have open at the time. To use this method efficiently and avoid confusion, you can pin your app’s shortcut to the taskbar.
Which app do you need to run in multiple instances?
We edit texts, do research, and move files around a lot when we write our tutorials. That means we regularly need multiple instances of File Explorer, Microsoft Word, and different web browsers. We also use these apps in split-screen mode, side by side for increased productivity. What about you? What apps are you trying to open multiple times? Let us know in the comment section.