Windows Tip: Create A Batch File To Open Multiple Programs At Once



Ever have the need to open more than one program or application at the same time?

Say it's the beginning of the month and time to pay those dreaded bills. You know you need Excel, Windows calculator and Firefox or Internet Explorer open. Instead of opening them up one by one, you can easily create a batch file that will open all three programs at once.

And while your at it, why not have Excel open the spreadsheet file you use for tracking your budget and the browser open to your Bank's home page. Here's how to do it…





First let's take a look at a batch file I created that will just open Excel, Calculator and Firefox:

NOTE: Examples and file paths are from Windows Vista. XP paths will probably be different for some programs as well as for MS Office (Office 2007 is used in the example).


start /d C:\Windows\System32\calc.exe
start /d "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox" firefox.exe
start /d "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12" EXCEL.EXE


Pretty simple.

The above command, start tells Windows to open a separate window to run the specified program.

The /d switch tells start command the path of the program. For starting Excel and Firefox, notice that the paths are in quotes, which is needed when there is a space in the file path.

Now it's great that all three programs open, but since it's time to pay your bills, you need to have Excel open that budget spreadsheet and Firefox open to your Bank home page so you can log on and access you checking account.

Here's how the commands look in the batch file to do this:


start /d C:\Windows\System32\ calc.exe
start /d "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox" firefox.exe
start /d C:\finance\spreadsheets budget.xls

To open Bank Of America home page with Firefox, just add the URL to end of the command as shown above using

To open the Excel spreadsheet, budget.xls you don't need to first open Excel. budget.xls can be opened directly using the start command, as long as the extension or file type is associated to the program.

If you need Firefox to open more than one URL, say to Google, just add the URL like this (make sure you use a space in between URL's):

start /d "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox" firefox.exe

Now you're probably saying "that's great, but how do I create a batch file?".

That's the easy part.

  • Just open up Notepad or your favorite text editor.
  • Copy the commands from above and modify them to use which ever program or Office files you want open. Make sure when you copy file and folder paths that have spaces, to use quotes.
  • Then save the file with any name and a .bat extension (make sure it's not saved using .txt as the file type extension)

Now when you want to open up multiple programs or applications, just double click on the batch file and you're ready to pay the bills (if I can only figure out how to get the calculator to open with a million dollars from my checking account….) .

TIP: What if you only wanted to open up some applications, but you still want to have your most used applications available in a list? Check out how to create a batch file that opens applications you choose from a list.

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Dylan Austin


Whenever I have a problem, I sing. Then I realize my voice is worse than my problem.

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