Microsoft Office XP - Restoring Excel 2002-s Task Pane At Startup
By default, Excel 2002 displays the New Workbook task pane when you launch it. This task pane lets you quickly access recently opened files or create a new workbook file. However, you may find that the task pane mysteriously stops appearing when you launch Excel--particularly if you followed our recent tip regarding Excel's Personal Macro Workbook.
The first thing to check if Excel's startup task pane doesn't appear is that it's actually configured to show when you launch Excel. To do so, select Tools | Options from the menu bar and click on the View tab. Ensure that the Startup Task Pane check box is selected and click OK.
If the Startup Task Pane check box is already selected, it probably means that the Personal Macro Workbook is preventing the task pane from being displayed. By design, Excel hides the task pane if a workbook is opened at the same time that Excel is launched. For example, if you double-click on a workbook file icon, Excel assumes you already have what you need to start working and doesn't bother to display the New Workbook task pane. When you set up a Personal Macro Workbook, Excel launches a file named PERSONAL.XLS, even though the file is hidden from view.
Most likely, you don't want Excel to treat the workbook that stores your macros the same as a typical workbook--and losing the easy access to the New Workbook task pane effectively eliminates the productivity benefit that this highly touted feature is meant to supply. You can re-display the task pane by choosing View | Task Pane from the menu bar, but a more efficient solution is to add a simple VBA procedure to your PERSONAL.XLS file that ensures the task pane is displayed.