Restore MDI file handling (open all files in one window); Kill SDI (each spreadsheet opens in a seperate window)
In the good versions of Excel (prior to 2007) one could open multiple workbooks in the same window. Now, one has multiple instances of Excel (and every other Office app) whenever one opens more than one document / spreadsheet.
Again, here are the issues:
- Stability - I experience ~3X Excel crashes in 2016 (SDI) as compared to 2010 (MDI)
- Screen Space / Real Estate - Drastically reduced screen space when each workbook requires its own Ribbon, Quick Access Toolbar and Formula Bar
- Toolbar to Workbook Confusion - One Ribbon + Quick Access Toolbar + Formula Bar to control all workbooks is far less confusing (MDI)
- Navigation Between Workbooks - *a. With MDI, Ctl+Tab and Ctl+Shift+Tab worked flawlessly to cycle (forwards/backwards) through all open workbooks in a single instance of Excel. Using the same key combinations in SDI, I always see a screen “blip” of the last used non-Excel program – why? Even worse, sometimes it cycles a non-Excel program into the mix. When I’m trying to cycle between two workbooks, I do NOT want Windows Explorer thrown into the cycle!
- Links (across workbooks) - Ability to update links between workbooks is less flexible – sometimes you want links to update and sometimes you do not. In the past, we could easily open a new/separate instance of Excel and prevent links from updating between workbooks. Now, it is far more difficult to open a new/separate instance of Excel and it is more confusing to work between 2 instances
- VBA – macro instability - Running macros between multiple Excel Workbooks is not consistent in SDI – sometimes it will choose the next workbook, sometimes it does not. There are a lot of comments on this topic. I can only imagine the countless hours of VBA work that have been destroyed by the forced SDI
- Closing Workbooks - With MDI, you could close and save ALL workbooks with a couple of mouse clicks. In SDI, you must close and save each workbook individually. If you have ~10 large workbooks open at once this will require you to stay engaged in the process as you will be forced to wait for each workbook to save, so you can save and close the next workbook (another massive waste of time/productivity).
- Opening Workbooks - *With MDI, we could count on workbooks to open and be sized where we had saved them. Now, they open in the exact same size and cascade – WHY? How would you like to go to your desk every day, only to find everything in a different drawer? That’s not where you put it last time you used it?… so why keep moving things on us?
- Minimize/Maximize Workbooks - Per post on 6-Aug-2018, working with 12 workbooks, with MDI you could use 3 mouse clicks, but with SDI it now takes 18 mouse clicks. Do you think the customer desires to use their mouse more?
Thanks for the support and the detailed discussion around this suggestion. We understand that there are some advantages and disadvantages with both MDI (multi-document interface) and SDI (single-document interface), and we currently do not have plans to revert to MDI. We do want to improve the experience with SDI so you can get your work done efficiently, and this post has helped toward that goal.
Some of the specific issues mentioned are addressed as follows:
– Stability: This has been a focus over the past several years, and the monthly releases in 2020 have been among the most reliable ever in terms of avoiding crashes.
- Screen space – while it won’t get all the space back, you can minimize the ribbon to save some space. It only shows when needed.
- Navigation between workbooks: you can use CTRL+F6, SHIFT+CTRL+F6, CTRL+TAB or SHIFT+CTRL+TAB to switch to the next workbook.
– Links: The behavior of linked workbooks should not be affected by whether the workbooks appear in a single window or multiple windows. If you need to open a separate instance of Excel to avoid updating links, you can still do so by holding ALT when you click the shortcut to start Excel, or by running the command “Excel.exe /x”.
– Closing workbooks: To close all documents and exit Excel, you can either right-click the Excel icon in the task bar and choose “Close all windows”, or you can add the “Exit” command to the quick access toolbar. Then use this button to close all your workbooks with a single click.
For other issues, it would be great to deal with those specifically, either by submitting a separate suggestion here on UserVoice, or by sending feedback within Excel. For example, if there are specific issues with VBA, whether they’re related to SDI or not, please submit that feedback.
If you’d like to find out about the Excel team priorities, please read this post on our TechCommunity – https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/excel-blog/excel-product-team-fy20-goals/ba-p/1342022.
Kary Williams commented
It is such a shame that all of the good programmers have quit at Microsoft. Makes you wonder where they have gone. Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung. It's pretty clear the new batch they've hired to replace them have clumsy programming skills. For example. When you export to Excel from an accounting program like Quickbooks, Office 365 used to crash all open excel windows, forcing you to recover all that were open. Microsoft's new brand of programmers solution? Instead of fixing the problem, now all the open excel windows still crash, but then Excel reopens them, in the reverse order from what they were originally opened. So, when you hover over the excel icon, they are now there, which is an improvement, but in a different order from before the export. And it does the same with all other Office programs with open files, including Word.
Like I said, clumsy programming. But better than just letting everything crash and stay crashed.
Erik Meyer commented · February 26, 2021 5:45 AM
Best comment ever. Well played.
Why does this useless messageboard not have a "reply" facility?
Why cannot I unsubscribe from it - it's impossible!!
Erik Meyer commented
My solution to this MDI problem will be to find a way to run Windows 7 on a standalone machine (not connected to the internet) and run my internet functions from a different machine. That means I will have two monitors on my desk. But, wait a minute ... I already have two monitors on my desk. So having two computers running at once won't be such an issue. Maybe I could run one monitor from BOTH machines by switching inputs from HDMI1 to HDMI2. I'm gonna try that. Then I can cancel my 365 subscription and just run Google products ... Maybe I will be able to find someone to buy my License for Office Pro too (but I doubt that ... who would want it?). Hey I should post this fix on facebook and twitter while I'm at it ... there must be thousands of people out there who are as frustrated as I am but aren't savvy enough to find a forum where they can voice their complaints. What do you think MS? Are you beginning to feel like Henry Juszkiewicz yet? If not, I will keep trying. (Heh heh heh, "MS" ... sounds like a disease ... said Beavis)
Erik Meyer commented
"we currently do not have plans to revert to MDI"
Scrapping the MDI in Excel is just another example of how Manager Bonuses and Programmer Achievement Awards take precedence over Customer Brand Experience in businesses that have unwittingly devolved into conservatorship mode.
If you would like an example of how this phenomenon played out in another market, just study the history of the Gibson Guitar Company under the stewardship of CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. He presided over a 32 year long decline of an iconic business that he was commissioned to preserve and promote. Before he took over in 1986, Gibson produced some of the most innovative, high quality electric and acoustic guitars in all history. By 2018 he had slowly but surely driven the company into bankruptcy. He did this by NEVER considering his customer’s Brand Experience, by failing to appreciate and reward craftsmanship, and by making unwarranted "improvements" to iconic products that were dreamed up by clueless managers (including himself) who could not actually play the instruments they manufactured. His customers were compelled to buy inferior instruments equipped with “innovative” features they didn't want. Gibson’s customers learned to work around this "marketing tyranny" by purchasing guitars from the Fender Musical Instrument Company instead.
Gibson turned around after HJ's forced departure. They did this by hiring actual guitar players to run the company; people who loved and understood the legacy of the instruments their customer base really wanted to own.
Today, instruments produced under the new regime, are eminently superior to the ones that bear the HJ mark even though the prices have remained pretty much the same. Profitability has been restored and Gibson Instruments are, once again, highly desirable. They are now made to be played by players who love to play, not by managers that seek to champion their personal favorite fixes for traditions that were never really broken.
As for your suggestion that one of the previous commenters submit each of his 9 points in a separate posting, I propose instead that YOU, the seller, "schedule a collaboration" with your "team" of "creative resources" and "advance" an "approach" to separate those 9 items into discrete "team priorities", an "action Plan", a "work-task tracking scheme" and a "performance evaluation engine" that feeds into an integrative "career mapping plan" for your highly diversified staff of “content providers”, taking every last thing into account across the entire company, INCLUDING YOUR CUSTOMER”S ACTUAL WANTS AND NEEDS.
Or, maybe you could just start with the last thing and simply make a product that works the way it used to before you broke it.
I have given this plugin a (very) quick try. It looks promising and it would be useful if it did not take between 2 and 3 seconds to switch workbooks when using the tabs (or ctl-tab).
It works ok when displaying all the files in the taskbar and switching through alt-tab.
Only plus so far, for my use case, is that it restore the selected ribbon tab after moving to the next workbook.
The price would be right, if it worked properly. As it is now, I would not buy it.
In response to the Office Tab plugin:
Microsoft used to put other software manufacturers out of work.
Now they allow other software manufacturers to make money because of shortcomings 😄
Mattias M commented
It looks as if this plugin (https://www.extendoffice.com/product/office-tab.html) kinda does what you are asking for?
Haven't tested it yet, but it says it works for 2016 and 2019 versions of excel
On a daily basis, I check over 20 logfiles at once. I U-S-E-D to do that FAST in Excel 2010, but now it's a complete dIsaster! It uses MUCH more time now.
In 2010 there was an option to make a registry-key to force SDI or MDI called "MergedInstance".
So return this option Microsoft !!
Finally LISTEN to what Excel-users want, NOT to what YOU want !!
You suck, Microsoft.
Due to some mail compatibility issues, I was forced to upgrade to Office 2013 Pro. I typically have five or six Excel documents open at once. Even on my 32 inch monitor, the ribbons take up tons of space; hiding them helps a bit, but not enough. When I'm away from my monitor and work on my laptop, working with multiple Excel documents is nearly impossible. For as long as I can remember, Word has been SDI and it's not generally a problem because you don't typically jump back and forth between Word docs. In Excel, moving between files is the norm for me, not the exception. It would be nice to have the ability to switch to MDI on an as needed basis.
I spent years in Excel and came here to vote for MDI.
SDI is completely disappointing and uncomfortable from many perspectives, especially for those, who work with big horizontally-oriented charts, like me.
If you, dear MS team, don't wont to deprive users who prefer SDI, please make an option for us to select between SDI and MDI in the option menu. Or find some other workaround to leave it for users choice.
Mahendra C commented
I am finding all office apps to become "bloatware" with every new release.
I used to run Office Apps on Windows XP with 1 GB RAM and they ran as fast as the current office apps on Windows 10 with 16 GB.
I can't be sure if Windows 10 is the bloatware or Office apps are.
Can we restore at least 2 features back (even if you don't back to the ideal solution)
1. Make CTRL+TAB and STRL+SHIFT+TAB work properly. Don't cycle to windows explorer... don't flicker my screen.
2. Don't eat up space on my taskbar showing every sheet. No.. I don't want to group windows.
David Portwood commented
@Anonymous: I was talking about a typical Excel VBA application that I would design and deliver to a client. I have attached a screen cap (Word doc) of one such real world example. It's very simple, the operator just selects a source file, selects a destination file, clicks "Run Macro" and badda-bing, badda-boom, it's done. You better believe I can go way more complex than that. Back in the day (before SDI) my Excel apps would fetch your pipe, slippers, and morning paper.
Re David Portwood's comment. I can't say I totally understood the technical issue you described, yet somehow I understand and fully support the sentiment. It would be difficult for me to overstate the difficulty, lost productivity, and frustration that I've experienced since the change from MDI to SDI, and maybe even more so after reading Microsoft's response on these pages. So thank you for putting my thoughts into beautiful words.
David Portwood commented
Oh, did somebody from MS actually finally respond? I haven't checked in recently because after several years I guess I became a little discouraged. What's next, the trickle down going to finally arrive? Maybe a big religious event forthcoming? Okay, so let's get to it, then.
I am a VBA developer, usually dealing with large volumes of data distributed across multiple workbooks. I like working from a central userform from which I control the functionality. So I want that userform to remain in the front. I don't care what kind of activities go on behind it although it might be nice to be able to turn off screen updates as my app flips through various data workbooks. As it stands now, I open the first workbook containing my VBA userform, fine. But when I open another workbook, the userform disappears and the second workbook opens over it. I don't want that to happen. I want the userform to remain in front. Can you give me that? Oh god, can you give me that? I will send you my sister. She's upstairs putting on her lipstick right now.
And I just want to say, to those of you with six or more screens and uniquely related issues... No, I won't say it. Because "we're all in this together". Right? Yeah, I'm snarking so hard I've hurt myself. But I did have a serious issue, I said it, and I really don't expect a positive answer. Thus my sniditivity. I'm sure that will become a word just as soon as I get the simple functionality I mentioned above. I really do hope to hear an answer from MS.
AKMC 117 commented
I agree with the comment about the lack of a reply option on this half baked web site that the devs seem to ignore anyway, but in reply to Yet Another Anonymous (people, PLEASE sign in so that we can refer to posts by name):
> I'm probably going to get some hate for this,
You aren't going to get any hate from me because this isn't Twatter, but I disagree with the thrust of your arguments.
>but I feel some perspective is needed for all the people raging about Microsoft's response.
> - it took 4 and a half years for this suggestion to get 1200 votes
Agreed. I'll come back to the BUT on that.
> - the Excel userbase can be counted in millions
Agreed, with the same qualification.
- MDI made sense when people only had one monitor with resolution of 1024x768 or lower and screen space was incredibly valuable
I disagree. I don't think that the one thing has anything to do with the other. IMHO it is still far easier to do comparisons between and pick patterns in, say, 4 sheets in a single window without having 4 separate windows with bloated graphical ribbons burning through your (still not infinite) screen space, not to mention when you click on the top-most formula bar and... oops, wrong formula bar.
> - it's now very common to have 2 1920x1080 monitors, or a single one above full HD, in office environments
Lucky you. I have nothing like that. And not everyone is in an office with a large monitor. A lot of people are now on the road or in the field, and this is a trend that will continue. Are you seriously asserting that they are better off with having a separate user interface for every worksheet? Because I can tell you now, they aren't.
> - MDI was always buggy for me with more than 4 files open, across computers and Office versions
Unlucky you. I haven't encountered that in 2010. I don't even remember encountering it in 2003.
> - SDI is way more stable
That's an assertion, not a demonstrated fact.
> tl;dr why would Microsoft invest time, resources, and money on reverting a beneficial change for the sake of a handful of people on a tiny forum most people have never heard of?
With that last point you negated your first couple of points. Yes, the reason that it took that long to get that many votes is that out of the millions of Excel users, only a relative handful know this site exists. That's in part because MS is forever coming up with New! And! Improved! methods of feedback and will "retire" the previous options, leaving whoever had submitted feedback through the previous methods (MS Wish, MS Community, whatever) hung out to dry. The only people who know about this site either stumble on it or are referred to it.
And of the ones that I refer, I've been quite often told "They don't seem to listen and just do what they want anyway, so why bother?" Actually this thread demonstrates that rather well.
In my view the fact that this request has "only" 1275 votes is more an indication of how Byzantine, disjointed, shambolic and inconsistent MS's feedback systems are, not of the number of users who are hacked off by the change.
I don't even want to address the so-called FEMA argument; that's so far out there it may as well be accompanying Pluto. The percentage of users affected is unknowable, but it will be at a minimum every user who had their interface to MDI in older versions. The "reports of severity" value is also completely bogus since Microsoft makes the entire process of submitting feedback arcane to say the least, and there probably isn't a lot of belief in the user base about MS's responsiveness, an attitude which dates back to when the ribbon was dumped on us whether we liked it or not. (And hasn't it been a raging success. Look how many other applications have converted to the CLEARLY far superior ribbon interface! I can think of two.) However because so many people in a corporate environment HAVE to use MS products they just accept it as their lot in life and curse Microsoft under their breath. I know many of my colleagues do. I then point them to this site and get the response that I mentioned earlier; "Why bother, they never listen anyway". All in all, I'm not really optimistic about the "reports of severity" number being anything other than a fantasy either.
The FMEA argument is faulty. I had not seen headlines complaining MDI is destroying the world. In fact I had not seen headlines on MS Excel at all. Does that mean nothing ever get fixed?
I totally disagree with this comment made by a prevous poster "it's now very common to have 2 1920x1080 monitors, or a single one above full HD, in office environments". I work for a world wide company with over 200,000 emplyees and we generally don't have multiple monitors nor large wide-screen monitors! And my role is to build models to analyse data.
The apps I've developed in Excel with MDI simply do not work with an SDI interface. The change to SDI is just plain goofy!
Pierrick LOUIN commented
Some trolls pretend that this topic deals with a false problem, invoking some clever arguments. They don't seem to understand the stake. Why accepting somewhat gratuitous regression even for one customer? Besides, though the number of impaired users is not a valuable criterion per se, there maybe three reasons why claims come so late: 1) the support for Office 2010 will stop soon, 2) correlatively, this is why my company decided only now to switch to Office 2013 and 3) the inappropriate definite answer from a vendor to its customers.