Visually show which cells are selected even when another application has focus
Currently, when I select one or more cells and then switch to another application, the boundary box and shading for the selected cells are not shown. Other Office applications exhibit this behavior as well--selection highlighting is only displayed when the program has focus. Many (most?) non-Office applications show the highlighting at all times.
It would be far more useful to be able to glance at the spreadsheet and see which cells are selected, even when working in another program.
Thanks for the continued interest in this! We will continue to monitor this suggestion and prioritize it as appropriate with the other suggestions in the forum.
So frustrating! Now on 2019 and Still no improvements for visibility. When staring at the screen for hours, so many cells and constant interruptions this is such a time killer constantly losing my place. Keeping the 'where am I at' cursor position (the cell is clicked on for goodness sake!) from sheet to sheet, working with several workbooks, sheets at a time...Microsoft why? Highlight a row, click on different window, poof it's gone! Microsoft please help! Why do we have to go through vba introducing macros, potential security issues? A lot of Excel users just view sheets and have no need to get into programming. I want one button turn on or put it under Ease of Access-Application display options!
dennis frazier commented
I just came from Office 2010 and noticed this in a few seconds. 2010 changed the active cell border color to orange. Very easy to see and I used this reference by the second. I can't believe this has been a complaint this long with this many votes and no results. Absolute must fix. If they can change it to dark grey it would have to be easy to change it to orange. John @MS XL must have left the company.
This is really essential! I see an admin said back in 2015 that they'd look into it - any chance we could get an update? You have no idea how much time this would save me - I often have to have an application open and reference an Excel spreadsheet, but it takes me a few seconds every time to figure out where I was in the spreadsheet (and if I'm working with long spreadsheets, those few seconds add up really fast). Keeping it highlighted persistently even when working in another application would completely eliminate this problem!
E Bow's great suggestion for something that is basic functionality is over four years old and has 552 votes! John [MS XL] (I assume that means you are with Microsoft), what the **** does it take to get that implemented?! If you are in fact listening, turn up your hearing aid! How many votes does it take to give it priority? Apparently more than Gate's net worth.
Stephan Quaritsch commented
Ja Super, freut mich das hier gefunden zu haben. Das wäre wirklich sehr nützlich!
Even doing a simple Ctrl-F to Find is frustrating... On large sheets, I'm left playing a game of Where's Waldo trying to find the outlined cell. This cell should be FRONT AND CENTER, or formatted to grab your attention.
Perhaps only use bright highlighting when you first enter the cell, but fade after 5 seconds or so...
Oh my god yes - changing the cell highlighting or using the snipping tool gets old.
A free program called LibreOffice has this feature but a trillion dollar company's program doesn't.
Along those lines Yaron, given the MS penchant for forcing "normal" windows on one, I guess to better push Windows vs. DOS. (Good Lord... but... yeah), one would think that anything that did NOT encourage people to use windows vs. full-screen program windows would be considered anathema at MS. Multi-monitor should just increase that penchant because now people could just really see that ol' windowing technology shine with 30-40 programs running at once! Yay! People would dump DOS like it was a lead brick!
So one could wonder how this got past that "filter" and came to be left to lie for so long.
Yaron Y. Goland commented
I have two monitors for work and I often need to refer to a big Excel spreadsheet on one monitor to get facts I'm using on a window in a different monitor. From an accessibility perspective being able to highlight cells and keep them highlighted makes it easier for me to work since otherwise I'm forced to constantly search for the information I already found but lost the highlight on when I switched out of the window.
Great suggestion E Bow. There are a couple of other suggestions I'd like here too. When the mouse has been moved over another application window, the mouse scroll wheel still modifies the Excel Window and not the application under the mouse. This only happens in Excel, it doesn't happen in Word for example. And also, when you open a second Excel file through File Explorer, the previous Excel file application window temporarily takes windows focus, so when you do an [Alt]+[Tab] to switch back to File Explorer window you end up a the previous Excel file application window instead of File Explorer.
John Nicholl commented
They are clearly listening!
This would make my day so much easier, why cant excel just get it done,,,,it SIMPLE!!! just leave the row/column or cell I have clicked on highlighted if I have clicked onto another application! GET IT DONE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!
Ryan Hilliker commented
I expect Excel to continue to visually indicate selection, regardless of focus. When transposing data from a few dozen excel rows manually into another front-end, the lack of visual selection persistence decreases my productivity, increases my errors, and generally frustrates me. Please add an option to persist visual selection.
Here's a User Story to add to your backlog:
As a user, I expect to be able to select whole rows, whole columns, or individual cells using CTRL or SHIFT w/ a left-click and to have the visual selection of columns, rows, and cells persist while changing focus across other applications and windows. Persisting visual indicators of selected cells allows me to visually compare my selected data across applications.
@John [MS XL] 61322055-excel-team-msft
John, you responded in Nov 2015; since then you guys released office 16 and office 19, and neither version have ANY of numerous suggestions implemented.
Note, your competitors are continuously improving their products. It may be too late for msft to react when customers will turn away from msft considering office alternatives sufficiently featured.
I like the idea to keep selection visible also when not having focus, but it has to be also clearly visible which one has the focus, in order to prevent mistakes with copy/cut/paste operations.
(I often have the problem with Windows File Explorer, where it's not always clear whether the selected folder or the selected file in the folder is in focus.)
Gareth Hayter commented
FormulaDesk Navigator (disclosure: my add-in) adds this feature and also allows you to customise the highlighting (arrows, row/column highlighting, border, colors, transparency, line-thickness etc. It might prove useful until Microsoft adds this feature natively. Please let me know if you'd like to see any other features.
Funny thing is if we are several folks to work on the same worksheet, the selection box is not hidden for the others when loosing focus, only for me! So I can see what others are doing, but not what I'm doing...
Joey Quint commented
Excel used to do this in the past, and this is a BASIC feature. Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to remove this? Why do we need to VOTE to get this back, considering it's something basic?
Next thing you'll remove the ability to double click a cell to edit its content for whatever reason, and then wait until people vote to reintroduce it?
It is still not working. Now it is APRIL 2019 !