I’m a self professed multiple monitor addict. On my laptop I have a USB video card along with the two inbuilt outputs to give me 3 monitors. While at home on my desktop machine I run 5. Some may debate the benefits of having multiple monitors (I’d say above 3 is getting a little bit shaky on the cost-benefit analysis), but I’m constantly finding instances when it comes in handy.
Windows 7 is great for multiple monitors, the shortcut keys (Windows + arrow keys) to move the active window to other screens are great, it remembers my screen setup when I move my laptop from work to home, and Ultramon allows me to have a taskbar on each monitor (which is essential for me, given I have a tendency to have a million things open at once, here’s hoping this comes inbuilt to Windows 8). Most of Microsoft Office is great for it too, you can easily open multiple instances of Word and move them across monitors to easily refer to them. However there is one program that inexplicably does not let you open more than once instance of it, Powerpoint.
While obviously for giving presentations this isn’t an issue, whilst preparing for my AU2010 class I wanted to refer to old presentations, the AU template guidelines and more, which were all in Powerpoint form, so naturally I wanted to make use of my screen real estate. I can imagine many other scenarios when I’ve had more than 1 Powerpoint file open at once, and dragging it out across monitors just doesn’t cut it for me, so I decided to do some searching.
After some looking around, I found a solution:
You can open Powerpoint once the normal way, and then you can trick Powerpoint into opening another instance of itself. To do this, you need to run it as another user. First, make sure you have another user created on your system, you can do this in Control Panel\User Accounts\User Accounts. Then, go to the actual folder where the Powerpoint exe is - "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\POWERPNT.EXE" is what it was on my 64bit machine with Office 2007 installed. This will be difference for 32bit machines and different versions of Office.
Then, on Windows 7 you can hold down the shift key, and right click on the exe, and click ‘run as different user’ – enter in the new account that you’ve made, and it will start a new instance. Success!
A couple of gotchas to note, first, the shift key to get extra menu options only shows run as different user in Windows 7. There are ways of doing this in XP and Vista though (a command line utility, and I think XP has it on the context menu by default, from memory). Secondly, the my documents menu when you go to save or open documents on the new instance will be that of the new user account you created. You can of course still access your real My Documents folder manually by going through C:\Users\Username\My Documents (on Windows 7).
Hope this helps!