Make Undo stacks track per workbook instead of globally
Undo stacks are currently global between all workbooks that are open at a given time, so pressing undo on one workbook might undo a change in a different workbook. As someone who frequently has multiple workbooks open at a time, it would be much more helpful to be able to step through the edits made on each individual workbook.
Thanks again for all the passion on this issue – we hear you and we’ll get someone on the team to dig in to the issue. I’ve seen a few related sub-issues while scanning over the comment section for this one, so we may reach out to a few of you for clarifications. Thanks again for all the votes, and keep them coming for the issues you care about!
Have you seen this thread? We might have better luck there, if MS are taking ALL the comments into account (because this one is being ignored despite the high number of votes:
It's SHIFT for me. I verified it, and the behaviors I mentioned, before posting my first post of today. Always do before stating anything operational like this.
(Not necessarily so for theory, unless the discussion has a direct practical aspect as well, which is one's opinion anyway, though most "stating theory" expect it to be received like God's Holy Writ, not as opinion.)
Wonder if ALT works also.
Ahh... perhaps you mean it WAS Alt in version 2013? Doesn't match my memory, but, you know, senility. Hmm... actually, it seems this (how to achieve it, not what it is after achieving it) might be much more a "version of Windows" thing not a "version of Excel" thing.
Actually it’s ALT not SHIFT.
Lol, I do love that expression you used though:
'with LATEST REV of Excel 2013' (my emphasis)
Like those credit card ads from those long ago days, the ones that ended in "Priceless."
Well, I won't argue with the Excel 2013 thing except to say "YES IT DOES."
I used that back in the day and long, long before. For the 29 years I've been using Excel, Shift-start ALWAYS has opened a completely separate running program that, as mentioned, among other things allows the normally forbidden "two files, one name" to be opened, maintained utterly separate Undo stacks, and made sure that if one file "failed open" requiring Excel to be shut down abnormally, only lost the work being done in that one's file or files while the other running copy was just fine.
ALL three things that I've used and relied upon through all these years and all the versions along the way.
But hey, I must be senile, so... whatever. Thing is, I don't remember being senile during those many, many years. Maybe that's the way senility works though?
sad to say Shift-click does NOT create a separate undo stack, at least with latest rev of Excel 2013 (15.0.5249.1000) our company forces on us:
1) make important "Excel1" doc with enough a few pages of content and save to desktop
2) make another simple throw away "Excel2" doc save to desktop
3) close all instances of Excel, and i may even choose to reboot Windows 10 "just to be sure" the undo cache really in reality actually does in real life get udderly purged out of actual existence..
4) Shift-click open "Excel1" (or not shift-click this first doc, don't matter)
5) make some super important change to the doc that will result in you being fired if you lose it.
6) check to see if it shows up in the undo stack (yes it does)
7) Shift-click "Excel2"
>> Wow! the undo for something entirely unrelated to the document i'm opening appears in the undo stack..
8) check it out, if i undo it, nothing happens to the new document im in! so im safe! yay!
9) I'm confused by this, i'd better close my documents saving both of them just to be sure i dont lose any of my work! okey dokey, im done, feeling pretty good about this already!! later that night: uhh, i cant sleep just as im drifting off i keep having dreams Excel deleted my work, but that must be nonesense, excel would never do such a thing! ill go check it so that i can get a good nights rest...
10) reopen both docs, knowing excel wouldn't ever smite my files with such evil deeds!
>> nooooo! i lost my work in "Excel1" no!!!! ahhhhghh!
11) im so surprised by this awful bug i had to go to some microsoft excel uservoice page to warn microsoft their program has this big terrible nasty bug that might result in people losing valuable work and getting fired...
>> oh nooo! everytone else has the same problem for years and years and years with nil/zero/null light at the end of the tunnel.. were all doomed, doooooooooooooomed!!
@Ronald Hoek: Yes, it definitely is possible to do so. Simply press Shift while clicking the icon to start Excel. That will open as many absolutely separated instances of Excel as you care to click for.
They will be as separate from each other as any two utterly different programs are. As separate as if you opened Excel, then opened GIMP.
And their Undo stacks are UTTERLY separate as well. You can open same name files (from different directories, obviously), one in each, without being told you can't. Because they are utterly separate.
However, in each of them (call then Excel-1 and Excel-2), if you open more than one document, those documents opened in Excel-1 will all be in separate "instances" of that running program (SDI now, no longer MDI) and related in many ways, such as copy and paste working naturally between them AND they have a common Undo stack (our problem here). But all of them are utterly and completely unrelated to anything happening in Excel-2: you can't do normal copy and paste between them, only the crippled version, and they do NOT share Undo stacks. Or anything else.
Things can complicate this. For example, exactly how you do things if you use two or more virtual desktops (perhaps I should call having two desktops one "real" one and only one virtual one, but you get the idea). Yet when you see the gestalt involved there, each situation makes the same sense as simply the one "real" desktop scenario.
Since a common Undo stack was something far more of interest to the ways people often did things (By no means "always"! Just "often.") in the MDI world of Excel, it seems like this should no longer be a "thing." Or if some/many actually still find it useful, it should be something one can turn on and off, an account option, or something one could set spreadsheet by spreadsheet (with the default being NO common Undo stack!).
If YOU need utterly unconnected Undo stacks and the various other things are of lesser importance (I found the crippled copy and paste between spreadsheets to be... crippling... until they fixed that for all workbooks in the same running copy of Excel. Still crippled between running copies.), then just open however many utterly separate running copies as you need with Shift-start. There are other ways too, but that's simplest.
(I use, above, the description of running copies and similar language to refer to the big picture, two or more utterly separate running copies: the originally opened one and all Shift-start ones. The ones I mention that are as separate as one of Excel and one of GIMP. I try to stick to the word "instances" or similar, for separate sheets opened in a single one of the running copies. Hopefully it is not too confusing 'cause I'm not sure there is much better language available.)
Ronald Hoek commented
The main problem is that it's no longer possible to start a second separate instance of excel. When that was still possible, you would have an option to het separate undo stacks.
This along with the short lived clipboard buffer are definitely the most annoying issues with Excel, and also very surprising it has not been solved since no other program behaves like this.
Have the Excel team ever even just had the decency to explain why they find this very sensible request/complaint so difficult to implement, or give us freedom of choice?
The O commented
5 years later and still nothing.
Carlos Roriz commented
@Evan: I'm with you 100%. My point was more that there has to be a reason MS did this in the first place, and the reason they haven't fixed it may be due to there being a lot of (lucrative) users who want it.
Now, that doesn't in any way excuse having not made it optional in the first place...
...or having not fixed it so it's optional after all these years of complaints...
...or having been so thick as to not realize it was going to be a problem for a TON of users.
At this point, I'm thinking the code is a bloated, tangled mess (FFS, the app is 916MB when 10 years ago it was 58MB) and fixing this would be a bigger project than any of us imagine. Doesn't mean they shouldn't get on it.
Just saying there might be more to it than we know. Of course, the REASON we don't know is because when MS folks haven't stopped by in 2+ years, despite having raised our hopes.
aye, and it wouldn't even be that bad if the undo stacks stayed merged... provided it was improved maybe just a tiny little bit so as not to be such the total fiasco as it currently stands.
i mean, you have several speradsheets open simply updating stuff like normal humans do, but then when we find something we change our mind about, you want to simply go UNDO that. well, how to find it? MS WreckCell is no help at all here, its worse than finding a needle in a haystack since the only way to find the needle is to essentially BURN DOWN the whole friggin haystack.
The undo entries are so minimalistic as to be useless as mental indices (examples: 'paste', 'typing excelsucks in F454', 'bold', 'show/hide detail', 'zoom' ..yes those last two ones being so critically important to track those and fill up the undo buffer).
Now if MS could simply prepend the sheet/file name to these it would help us find exactly what the undo is referring to in order to decide if undoing something would destroy other work we have completed in the interim, but i guess that would perhaps just add more fuel to the fire that we actually need a NON-LINEAR merged undo palette to make a merged undo stack to be useable at all. So apparently they wont even bother to fix the easy stuff around this issue.
@Evan: with MDI, one could divide spreadsheets into pieces to allow only what a user needed to be under his influence. Doesn't need access to all the underlying data or the output the boss gets? No problem... he can't open those files and may not know they exist anyway. He DOES need access to some part of it? No problem. He can open that and 2-3-4 other files, then get to work. Because the work is all a part of one thing, a shared Undo made Undo work just like expected by a user. No undoing three things, then realizing he needed to undo something in spreadsheet 3 after the first thing, then go back to spreadsheet two and do the other two undos.
Well, people are doing that less, is my impression. Now they use shared files and step on each other with each user's filtering. Etc. Oh, and these users are NOT power users in any way. That's kind of the point.
Now when someone sets something like this up, four open files that one wants to look at all four of while working gives one a view of four Ribbons and no cells. It's a big complaint, along with other aspects having to do with running macros. Databases are cheaper, going in, nowadays, so one suspects spreadsheets are already less used as stores of sizeable data than once upon a time. Easier to draw the data out for use in a spreadsheet, but since the base of the set-ups I mentioned above was having the data IN Excel, one needn't have spreadsheet families so much and each user CAN have a single file to work with populated with sheets and macros for his work. Although, to judge by complaints on this site, neither shared worksheets, nor Ribbon covered monitors are pleasant to have anything to do with.
I personally don't use that approach and find a shared Undo to be a beast of a problem. I was pointing out that MS COULD defend its long ago choice by correctly claiming it saved a lot of *sses over the years. I am not a fan, I think anyone could agree, of much that I perceive MS being about. But to deal with a thing, one must not delude oneself. It was not utterly stupid in every case over the years. Always in my cases, a problem, not a good thing. But that experience was not everyone's over the years.
Certainly MS cannot defend not changing it now. Other Suggestions on the site usually have some dissent offered in the comments. I don't believe I have seen even one single comment here that wishes for Undo to stay like it is.
And certainly, none from me.
Evan La Marr commented
@Rob - I don't know what kind of power users you're referencing, but global undo is pretty darn stupid for me, and I use Excel for work regularly. I'm not running VBAs or Macros all the time, but I'm definitely one of the best people in the office with it. I see no reason to have undo apply chronologically to all open sheets, when you can just do the work you need to do in one sheet. Yes, you can link sheets, but if you're data is so inextricably linked that you need undos to be chronological across more than one open workbook, you should probably just have your data in the same workbook.
Those corporate users USED TO find it useful, in the days of MDI. Then you could divide up functionality between several spreadsheets, to better suit your use needs, and people would open them as a set which then could very much benefit from a global Undo as their workspace (remember real Workspaces... took that away too) of several related spreadsheets could then have Undo's performed in a meaningful way.
Now it's much harder to do those things (since SDI) without unweildy implementation of the Ribbon, just for example, leaving you what amounts to a command line of space to work in each sometimes. And when macros bridge everything together, disturbing (to users) stuttering and flashing screen changes, and so on. A number of those things are talked about below, and more elsewhere. And the protection is no longer the same, in practice, and not in a good way.
So... I gotta doubt the corporate users are still perfectly happy.
And all the Jim Bob's in the world who also chip in monthly for Excel, "...and the rest...," definitely feel like they're "...here on Gilligan's isle..."
Worse, I personally believe they actually are planning these things in order to drive users in that very corporate world to PowerApps, and related PowerCr*p programs, for which any user wouild then pay an easy five times as much for, monthly... and STILL have Office and so STILL be paying for Excel. I mean, that's easy math, even for MS.
The health industry in the US is one-sixth of the economy and that is mostly due to the economic distortions that ALWAYS stem from the consumer of a thing not being the PAYER of a thing. That describes corporate just about to a "T" adding further encouragement to any effort to shift corporate users to more lucrative "solutions." Not being the payers makes that barrier to acceptance of the move that much easier.
I hate this functionality too, and Microsoft NEEDs to make it possible to turn it off, so people who work with one workbook at time don't have to deal with potentially dangerous Undos.
But keep in mind, everyone who thinks global undo is "silly" and asks if the developers have ever used their own product, that Excel's bread-and-butter is corporate power-users for whom this behavior is beneficial.
Microsoft didn't pull this functionality out of their backsides. There's a reason for it. A good reason, in fact. Where they screwed the pooch was in making it the default with no option to turn it off, thereby demonstrating no consideration for their *common folk* users.
This issue was created almost 5 years ago. They aren't fixing anything don't even know why I'm still subbed to this thread. Office 365 is the worst thing to ever happen to Office.
You know I remember right before 9/11 Microsoft was under fire for monopolizing the office suite. Conveniently everyone forgot about that. Shame nobody else can even remotely compete with Microsoft. No competition, no incentive to innovate and evolve.
They've got such a stranglehold as the market leader they've completely lost the need to improve anything about their products. Office is d*mn near required in every business with an office setting, so now with Office 365 subscription services they are raking in the profits more than ever before.
Microsoft gets worse every year.