Close Excel Workbook / File (Shortcut)

People who work with multiple open Excel workbooks find it irritating to close specific files by clicking on the close icon at the top-right part of the Excel application.

Or, sometimes, you may want to close all Excel files in one go.

In this tutorial, I will give you the shortcut to close the current Excel workbook or all the Excel files on your system.

Shortcut to Close the Current Excel Workbook

Below is the shortcut (for Windows) to close the currently active Excel workbook:

Control + W (close the active workbook, but not the Excel application)


ALT + F4 (close the active workbook, as well as that instance of the Excel application)

And if you are using a Mac, use the below keyboard shortcut

⌘ + W

Shortcut to Close All Excel Files

If you want to close the Excel application completely (including all the open Excel files), use the below keyboard shortcut:

ALT + F + X (closes all the files as well as the Excel application)

How to Use the Keyboard Shortcut to Close Excel Workbook

Below are the steps to use the above keyboard shortcut to close an Excel workbook:

  1. Go to the Excel workbook that you want to close
  2. Use the shortcut Control + W (hold the control key and then press the W key)

If you have saved your Excel workbook and there are no changes that need to be saved, the above shortcut will instantly close your Excel workbook.

But if there are any unsaved changes, you will first see the Save As dialog box, which will prompt you to save your work before closing it.

‘Control + W’ vs ‘ALT + F4’ vs ‘ALT + F + X’

I have mentioned three different shortcuts to close Excel workbooks, and in this section, I will tell you the exact difference between these three shortcuts.

  • Control + W – This shortcut will close the Excel workbook, but it will not close the Excel application. So if I have an open Excel workbook and I use the above shortcut to close the workbook, you will still see the blank Excel application open (as shown below)
excel application when the current workbook has been closed
  • ALT + F4 – This shortcut would close the active Excel workbook and that specific instance of the Excel application. So if I only have one Excel file open on my system, and I use the above keyboard shortcut, this is going to close the Excel application (as there was only one file, and I closed it along with the Excel application for that instance of the file). If I have two Excel files open, this shortcut would only close the current one.

The difference between Control + W and ALT + F4 Is that Control + W will never close the Excel application, only the workbook.

  • ALT + F + X – This shortcut would close the Excel application completely, including all the open Excel workbooks.

Other Excel shortcuts you may also like:

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I am a huge fan of Microsoft Excel and love sharing my knowledge through articles and tutorials. I work as a business analyst and use Microsoft Excel extensively in my daily tasks. My aim is to help you unleash the full potential of Excel and become a data-slaying wizard yourself.

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