Feedback by UserVoice

How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

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. Quite stupid.

(2016-04-27 Dan [MS] - updated title to fix MDI/SDI usage - they were previously being used "backwards")

653 votes
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    We’ll send you updates on this idea

    LilBro shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Accepting Votes  ·  AdminExcel Team [MSFT] (Admin, Office.com) responded  · 

    Thanks for all of the votes – the team has definitely taken notice of the activity around this issue. We moved to SDI as a result of customer requests, but it looks like we’ve got work to do to really nail the use cases people care about. From a read over the comments, I see a number of cases that we will want to investigate further as we think through MDI vs SDI. We’ll get someone from the team to take a deeper look, and we may reach out to some of you for more clarification as we go. Thanks again for all the voting and passion here!

    John, Excel

    446 comments

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      • Mimi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Guys, I looked it up. Microsoft is supporting 2010 through 2020. Good enough for me. if they aren't going to roll back to MDI, then they need to resolve the many issues we are all having in trying to use it. and fix the **** memory leak! both 2013 and 2016 had them, using my work configurations. we have a TON of corp loaded malware and virus protections as well as web blocking, email add-ins to report suspicious emails, etc. the leak is what caused my Excels to freeze, using exponentially more memory as the days passed until I couldn't work 10 minutes.

      • corey commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        yes, I think Ars Technica/slashdot/soylentnews has a story today that all the old support info for Windows 7, Office 2010, et al will be going bye bye. hope those blogs, fora etc are in the Wayback Machine!

      • David Portwood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Mimi, best you can hope for is to hold the line a little longer. Soon MS will stop supporting 2010. Trouble is, I'm not seeing any signs MS might consider repealing MDI. They aren't talking about it. I think it's a marketing decision mainly, because MS clients have not been using Access like MS originally planned. They might be trying to force the issue. But I'm only guessing. And I'd like to take this opportunity for a shout-out to Big John Excel Team [MSFT] whose last communication to us was March 2018. Way to keep us posted, big guy! Such consideration!

      • Mimi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Joy of joys, today I rolled back to Excel 2010! After fighting daily with Excel 2016, then 2013, for the last 7 weeks, I am looking forward to being productive again. Both newer versions are unsuitable for large, multi-workbook models. These last 2 “updates” caused me so much frustration and lost work! I am over-the-moon happy to be using 2010 again.
        Microsoft, are you listening to the users on this SDI issue? Are you addressing this with the 2019 version? Will the memory leak problem be fixed in 2019? Bueller?.... Bueller?.... Bueller?....

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I gave up, I can't do this. I still had my 2010 product key and agreeable IT people who reinstalled Excel 2010 for me. I will continue to support the cause, as I know at some point I will have to upgrade, but hopefully by then there will be a satisfactory resolution.

      • Bianca commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This SDI versus MDI is getting out of hand. I cannot move/copy worksheets between the various instances of Excel, especially when opening Workbooks from e.g. Outlook. Just too frustrating for words :(

      • Marcia Kastrup commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Finally! Please don't take too long. Google Sheets is becoming a viable alternative to Microsoft Excel for most spreadsheet users

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I posted a request in the "Microsoft Excel Users" group in LinkedIn (239k members). Hopefully we can get some support from folks there as well. It would be great to push ONE Feedback Hub request high enough to get it trending. Then, maybe, MS would really look at this issue.

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I see two new posts in the Feedback Hub... I upvoted yours... now upvote mine.

        MDI Unite!!!

      • Mimi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Just used Windows + F to provide direct feedback to MS on this issue since they are ignoring all the votes here. Let's flood them with feedback!

      • DC commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Alan Odom - Yes people need to get on to them. This forum seems completely impotent.

        ...my name is Alberto T..
        Me
        Hi Albert, I've been chatting to someone already today Ref: ***
        Agent
        Thanks for providing the Service Request ID.
        Agent
        Let me pull that up from my end.
        Me
        I'm trying to find a legit version of Excel 2010 due to the problem with SDI (need MDI for what I do)
        Me
        There is a download for older versions: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/office
        Agent
        Do you have a product key for Excel 2010?
        Me
        My old version was 2003. Can I get a key for a legitimate 2010 instead of 2016 I bought this year?
        Agent
        Let me confirm that. Just to give you a heads up though, since we are looking for an older version of Office, we might need to go to a local tech store to get a licensed version of it.
        Agent
        Kindly hold on.
        Me
        I can't find any local store with it. I bought 2016 legitimately, but I can't run my stuff because of SDI
        Agent
        I understand. I am going to check my resources if we can get you what you're looking for.
        Me
        Oh amazing man! I am going up the wall with 2016 :(
        Agent
        Thanks for your patience.
        Me
        No problem
        Agent
        I was able to search for a tool that would help us get an available 2010 version of Excel but it shows that it is really no longer available from our end.
        Agent
        I am very sorry about this.
        Me
        I can download it from Microsoft though, so why not?
        Me
        I'm just so worried about all the counterfeit stuff online, and I want to be legitimate
        Agent
        Well, it is possible if you already have a product key for it.
        Me
        Please help me get a key. I'm a good guy......
        Agent
        But since you mentioned that you currently have no license for Office, we would not be able to get it installed/downloaded.
        Me
        I have got a license for 2003 and 2016 but 2016 doesn't work Due to SDI.
        Me
        I'm told by you guys I need to run 2010, so that's all I need
        Agent
        I'm very sorry about this.
        Agent
        I would like to assist you further but the version license that you're looking for is no longer available from our end.
        Me
        But it is available - I showed you the link https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/office I had no idea that 2016 had this major issue.
        Agent
        Yes, it is available, as long as you have a product key available. Since you have no product key that we can use, we won't be able to get it downloaded.
        Me
        This is going round in circles. You must realise thousands of people have this problem? Can you sell me a legitimate key? Microsoft I mean.
        Agent
        I know that this is very hard for you, I am very sorry that I am unable to assist you with doing this.
        Me
        From the user perspective this doesn't make sense. I have legitimately bought the product - I'm trying to be a good guy.
        Agent
        You did mention that you purchased a license for a 2016 version of Excel, is that right?
        Me
        Yes in January this year
        Agent
        We can't use that license to get a 2010 version. Again, before I got back to you, I've already gone through my resources.
        Agent
        I know that this is hard to accept, but the best solution that we can take for you to get a 2010 version of Excel is to look for it from local or online stores.
        Me
        So I'm stuck with dodgy downloads, copies, counterfeits, virus laden? There is no legitimate version out there from what I can see.
        Me
        Amazon for example only lists independent key sellers Nothing that says it is actual new product. e
        I've tried to find something legitimate, and no local physical store has it now
        Agent
        That is why the first option that I said earlier was from a local tech store.
        Agent
        Again, I am so sorry about this. My tools and resources showed that what you're looking for (Excel 2010 license purchase) is not available from our end anymore.
        Agent
        I would like to help you out further, but this is the limit of what I can provide you with.
        Me
        Microsoft has let so many down. I've been a legitimate user for over 20 years. I know it's not you personally, but it is dreadful service by Microsoft
        Me
        Only because the product has fundamentally changed from what it was able to do before
        Agent
        I understand how you're feeling. I already asked for an alternative way from my senior techs here, but it is really showing that we won't be able to get a license for an earlier version of Office.
        Me
        So frustrating. The old software is available to download from Microsoft but you can't let me have it even though I bought 2016 in good faith

        Agent
        I hope that you'll be able to find a copy of 2010. For now, please save the reference for our session: Service Request ID ***
        Agent
        Again, my name is Alberto T. Thanks for contacting Microsoft Answer Desk. Have a great one!

        My Feedback:
        "computer says no" is all Microsoft can say about MDI :(

      • D Rane commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is one of the reasons I do not like online software. The user has absolutely no control over what features are added or removed and I bemoan the fact the Office is going this way. At the very least, the user should be informed of all the features that are removed which is far more important than those that are added. One of the golden rules of programming is to leave the environment as it was before the module was launched (unless there's an error) . It beggars belief that Excel flouts this by not even remembering the location and size of the windows when the user closes them.

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Apologies for multiple posts today, but I'm hopeful we can get some traction using the Feedback Hub from Excel (instead of the page). You can simply Upvote my request from the Feedback Hub - search "MDI" from All feedback.

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Update - someone suggested I provide feedback from Excel by pressing Windows key + F on your keyboard. That opened the Feedback hub and I voiced my frustration. If everyone on this forum would do that, perhaps we could get some traction and get MDI back!

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @DC - seeing your chat with support, I decided to post a question as well. I'm beginning to think this "Feedback by UserVoice" page where all of us are venting our frustrations is falling on deaf ears and never making it to MicroSoft engineers or product managers.

        This is what I posted:
        https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_excel-mso_win10-mso_2016/will-the-next-excel-release-include-mdi-multiple/fb8d12be-38f1-4826-bd7c-8b2f9eeef405?tm=1528119413525

        Will the next Excel release include MDI (multiple display interface)? As a finance professional, I’ve spent the majority of my career in Excel (20+ years). In the past year, my IT department forced an “upgrade” from 2010 to 2016. I tried to learn and adapt to SDI, but it has been a constant struggle and major hindrance to productivity. I’m not alone per this UserVoice feeback post:

        (link back to this page... hoping MS engineers and product manager will take note).

      • DC commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I just tried direct chat support:

        Hi there David! I hope you are doing well! How may I assist you today?
        Me
        I am having problems with Excel only being SDI. I run many windows together so need to run MDI. 2016 doesn't do this.
        Me
        I have been trying to get used to it since January, and been active on the feedback forums, but Microsoft doesn't seem to respond to the hundreds of feedback entries. So maybe I need to get Excel 2010 to be able to work properly?
        Agent
        Thank you for sharing your concern with me, David. I'm afraid that the option is only available for Office 2010. You may check this link: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/excel/mdi-option-available/f3ee16dd-abee-4509-9a40-f955a8e81112
        Me
        I relise that I need 2010. Where can I get a legitimate copy of 2010. All the online sellers look dodgy to me?

        Agent
        Oh, you can try at the retailer store since Microsoft is no longer releasing the old version.
        Me
        Which retailer store?
        Agent
        Any retailer store in your place. You can inquire if they are still selling the old version.
        Me
        Oh OK, a physical store. Is there any online store which is legitimate?

        You can check their website.
        Me
        OK, thanks. Amazon actually only host independent sellers selling keys. That's what looks dodgy. It is a pity that Microsoft has caused this problem as I have already bought a legitimate license and wasted my money. Is there no legitimate Microsoft download available at all? This is a big problem out there for loyal users (me since 1995)

        Oh, I really apologize for the inconvenience, David. I'm afraid that we are no longer deploying old version. That's the only online store selling the old version Best buy or Amazon.
        Me
        Oh dear, I'm worried about viruses and stuff from counterfeit software. I'm trying to be the good guy. I just hope Microsoft will come up with a solution soon. See how big the problem is here: https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304921-excel-for-windows-desktop-application/suggestions/11706627-restore-mdi-file-handling-open-all-files-in-one-w?tracking_code=7132cadf0d7ada2a2e81aa508353a5b0
        Me
        Microsoft has lost its way on this one I'm sorry to say.

        I appreciate your feedback, David. Don't worry, I will take note of this incident and will make sure to pass this onto our Software Engineers. In that way, they can have a better view of how this kind of issue can cause trouble and inconvenience to all our customers.
        Agent
        And by the way, I would like to provide you your case number for this interaction - 1428474154. I will be documenting everything that transpires in our chat on this case.
        Me
        I thank you for that, thousands of users are waiting eagerly for help. Have a good day
        Trying to reconnect...

        I hope I didn’t lose you yet. Are we still connected?
        Me
        Yes
        Agent
        I noticed that the chat has been idle for the last two minutes and I just want to make sure that we are still connected. As per quality purposes if I do not receive a reply in the next minute, I will need to disconnect the chat.
        Agent
        Thank you so much as well for understanding, David.
        Agent
        Thank you for contacting Microsoft Answer Desk! If you have further inquiries, please don't hesitate to contact us back. Again, this is Rosemarie, and I will soon be disconnected from you. Take care, and you have a good one! :)
        Agent
        Chat ended
        Agent Image

        Rosemarie T has left the chat

        Microsoft Answer Tech

      • David Portwood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I keep hearing about allowing for an "option". Okay, my vacuum cleaner gives me three options: high rug, medium rug, bare floor. That's cool, except all I have is bare floor. I don't need the options. My point is, there has to be a need for the options. Where's the need for SDI? Name one significant benefit. I don't think there is such. To heck with the option, that just gives MS another opportunity to mess up. Go back to MDI. We know they can reliably do at least that much.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Excel team, here's my beef. I just moved from 2007 to 2016 version. I don't mind the multiple windows for each sheet, it has some benefit, but I prefer when all sheets for one session are within one Excel frame. One reason is I work on a laptop with multiple monitors attached to my dock. Every time I undock to go to a meeting, all apps that were appearing on other monitors are 'moved' to the primary laptop display. When I then come back from my meeting and re-dock, I used to only have to drag one excel window with many open sheets back up to my 'spreadsheets' monitor. Now I have to drag every sheet window up separately and it takes too much time. Imagine doing this 4- 5- times per day upon returning to your desk with 10 or more sheets open. Extremely annoying. I'm thinking about finding an old version and going back.

      • Henry Roif commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The SDI cannot be considered a bad idea; but it has no advantage over the MDI, frankly sad, because I like to keep my software to the latest and I largely prefer Excel 2010 over the 2016 version, ($$$$$ to the garbage) because I reinstalled 2010 (at least Excel). I believe the best option since Microsoft decided for the SDI, would be to have the option in the menu to have it both ways.
        The same is with Windows 10, Windows 7 is MUCH EASIER and gives much more control

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