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Support Knowledge Base, Article 1179
Excel hidden behind browser window in Windows XP, SP2 when downloading multiple spreadsheets.

This is a very specific problem that will only occur if the spreadsheet being download contains VBA code/macros, and a spreadsheet is being downloaded and opened directly into Excel when another spreadsheet has already been opened.

The Excel document will download an open properly, but it will be behind the IE window. An unknown bug with IE seems to prevent the most recently opened Excel window from taking precedence in the Z order of the windows on screen.


The are a few possible work arounds.

  • Setting the macro security level of Excel to Low or removing any VBA from the spreadsheet will solve the problem. If security is medium or high, the spreadsheets will continue opening in window behind the browser window.
  • Another solution would be to use the OfficeWriter Assistant to do a reliable download. Documentation on the OfficeWriter Assistant can be found here:


  • A final option is to use additional VBA to minimize and re-maximize the Excel window when the spreadsheet is loaded. This will bring the sheet to the front of the Z-order and it will no longer be behind any other windows. Here is an example of how this could be done in VBA:

    Sub Auto_Open()
       ActiveWindow.WindowState = xlMinimized
       ActiveWindow.WindowState = xlMaximized
    End Sub

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Created : 9/6/2005 11:56:00 AM (last modified : 9/8/2005 12:19:09 PM)
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