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 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!
I installed OfficeTab several times, but each time I had to uninstall it. Although for the average user it seems to fit its purpose (MDI), but it is still not a native Excel property and while using it, many unacceptable shortcomings are revealed. VBA experts will probably tell you even more reasoned considerations against OfficeTab.
I searched high and low through google trying to find a method or setting that would allow me to be able to open multiple excel spreadsheets in a single window using office 2019 under windows 10 without any luck.
Then I came across this youtube video;
Seems to be advertising an application called "Office Tab" that can make this happen. I went to the website and downloaded and installed the free 30 day trial version of this app and can now open multiple spreadsheets in a single window.. :)
It's $29 for the standard registration of this small app/utility which I plan to purchase soon before my trial expires.
It's unfortunate that Microsoft doesn't have this feature available as an option for so many others that are looking for this. I was able to do this while on office 2010. But since I upgraded to 2019 I lost this ability.
So disappointing that I had to resort to purchasing this application to regain that capability that was once offered as part of the very pricey application.
In any event, I thought I share my findings with anybody else that may be interested in having this much requested feature again. I installed the app and it was clean and safe. No virus. Seems legit and working great as intended.
Please bring back MDI in Excel 2019. This obviously matters to a lot of people. Why force users into one interface? We should be able to choose MDI or SDI - whatever works best for the individual user.
Antonio Elinon commented
In my experience the best option is MDI with the ability to create a new independent instance of Excel. This allows you to have Excel running (in locked/background mode) and yet open a new instance to continue working. So long as Excel is re-entrant at the OS level, there is no memory waste. I was able to create a true Excel server this way - multiple instances of Excel working in the background - independently creating reports from multiple user requests.
@Roy - I think that's the best explanation I've seen of the issue. Not that anyone is looking anymore, but thank you for such a thoughtful comment.
@David Portwood: That's the thing, it used to be both so we all like the idea of just returning to the old scenario. Open normally, it's MDI and one Ribbon for however many spreadsheets you open. Those can't leave the "confines" of their parent window, but you can drag the window across all existing monitors so you can have any particular spreadsheet physically on whichever one you wish. Any file you open opens in that instance as an MDI-daughter, if you will, so normal click-to-open makes the file fully accessible to all other files Excel has open. Copy and paste works normally between them all and VBA switching/interaction between them is mostly seamless. One Ribbon means little screen loss to the Ribbon vs. now where you have a whole Ribbon per file.
And if you want separate instances, which captures a ton of what people who prefer or value SDI want, you just Shift-Click to open and an entirely separate instance opens up. Desirable reasons for that? You need two files with the same name open at the same time (different paths). You want separate Undo stacks for each open file. You have a problem forgetting to Paste|Special|Values and face that thing where all the Named Ranges are imported or you have to use Task Manager to shut the instance down and lose any work and risk losing the file: separate instances are separae so copy and paste pastes values only no matter what pretty much so that can never happen. Lots of reasons, one supposes.
HOWEVER, the truth is that the reason MS gave for the shift is so stunningly obviously false that it simply can't be the reason. That suggests they wanted to do it anyway and did. It suggests that they did so for reasons we'll never know. But since it was THEIR goal being served, you can be very sure hey've never considered changing back to the old version. At most to some version that cobbles some sort of MDI capability back on. And that the basic reason for that is they've done the things, or many of them, that gave them the reason to desire SDI themselves and ARE NOT going to ever change them all to work with MDI, and most likely some cannot without huge effort anyway.
Me? I just want to clock-to-open utterly like I used to. I don't care if the engine underneath is SDI or MDI, I just want the results. Copy and paste, VBA between instances, it all should work like it did in a single MDI instance. Under NO circumstance EVER should a second instance open up unless I specifically command it to. Each open file can be SDI for all I care as long as they make the things I do care about work like they did in SDI. The Acres wasted by the eight Ribbons aren't even a problem in my mind. I don't care about HOW it "just works", just that the result for me day-to-day is right.
Others here DO care about acreage taken by one Ribbon per open file. And so on. I feel for them because I don't think MS will do away with that. They were soooo proud that they no longer had menus (As-freaking-IF! A menu, even a useless one filling a third of your screen like their Ribbons, is still a menu!) that I don't think they'll let them be suppressed. Notice how they've made the QAT pretty darn hard to use easily? Yeah.
So it's not really, probably, a matter of having both, ever. Just SDI that may address certain issues. (They HAVE addressed some of the issues I mentioned. I can drag something from Explorer onto the open instance and it opens, SDI to be sure, in that instance where when they first changed, new instances always opened regardless unless you used File|Open. So I think they'll keep after those minor fixes and some decade I'll be happy again. Not most folks here though, sad to say.)
But I doubt we will ever see both available again, especially like before. So no worries for you, I don't think it's possible that could happen so you needn't worry when we "overreach" ourselves in these comments and such. Shed from their attention like water off a duck's back since they know it ain't never gonna happen.
David Portwood commented
I don't like the "Give us both!" comments. One thing at a time. Back to MDI first and foremost. Then, ask for whatever capability you liked so much under SDI to be added to MDI.
@Futski SDI = each workbook opens in a separate full window; MDI = each workbook opens in a subwindow of a master excel container window. You could always navigate between workbooks, copy & paste, etc. between subwindows. And if you used multiple monitors, and you wanted to use SDI, you could. Just as I said no one wants SDI only, I also say that no one wants MDI only. People need both. But since microsoft insists on ONLY allowing SDI, is it too much to ask that they actually make it work properly?
@IconsistenXLS it doesn't allocate less memory to display SDI than MDI. Under the hood, the mechanics are the same. People, including the poor sad teenage boy whose granny's inability to grasp MDI has caused all the woes for everyone, seem to think that SDI = each workbook is in a separate instance. That is not true-- and you can tell it isn't when you try to access another workbook, in its own window, while you have a powerquery window open. BONK!!! Can't do that. why? Because there's only one instance of excel running. That second or third or 105th window? Same instance of excel. just displayed in separate windows. Versus sub-windows. Which, BTW, under the MDI model ALLOWED YOU TO VIEW TWO OR MORE WORKBOOKS ON SCREEN AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO PLEASE STOP CITING THIS AS A GOOD REASON FOR THIS AWFUL UI MISTAKE THAT WAS WINDOWS 8. Yeah. that's when the option to use MDI was removed from Excel - and it was really because microsoft imagined that everyone would be doing all of their work on a tablet. But on the other hand, i'm glad someone is listening. Cuz microsoft sure is not.
If you read back through the hundreds of comments in this forum the overwhelming vote is to have the ability to use them both. I haven't commented in over a year in here, but thought I would today because of the recent activity and to let you all know that if you are using Office 365 it will periodically send you a request to rate it and ask "what can be improved?". Use that opportunity to tell them you would NOT recommend it to anyone to use unless they fix Excel and allow for both SDI and MDI and rate it very low. LOL we'll see if they read those comments any better than here.
Killing SDI is not Ideal, It does have it's uses, such as lower memory allocation initially, instead of having to allocate a large chunk of memory initially, each instance can allocate smaller chunks. Also it allows people to view two workbooks side by side.
What they really need to do is make SDI or MDI an advanced option, so people can have the preference, because there are times when it is inconvenient to open multiple windows, but at other times it is better.
Therefore what needs to happen is the following:
Add MDI and SDI as options to Excel. (at least allow for this to be set in the registry)
@Anonymous, there are plenty of times that I find multiple instances of Excel useful (copy & paste between workbooks on multiple monitors comes to mind). So SDI does have it's place. That said, users should be given a choice. Let the users choose their default SDI or MDI. But then let them rip off a tabbed workbook to a new instance if desired, or combine 2 instances into one.
No one wants SDI only. No one. Except the sad teenage boy who runs the office UX team who asked his granny about it because he doesn't actually USE excel. Nevertheless, this has absolutely no chance of changing because Microsoft simply does not care what users think or want. Companies will shell of the $ for whatever piece-o-**** Microsoft tells them to buy. So despite the fact that the ******* teenage app manager can't figure out how to make excel return to the CORRECT window when you respond to a dialog box, we're stuck with his Granny's inability to understand MDI.
Please bring back Multi Document Interface. Paging between apps is much more difficult when your screen is filled with windows from a single app--usually excel--.
David Portwood commented
This fiasco cannot be being ignored by MS without someone of great influence at MS ordering it so.
Sheesh... those guys who wear tin foil hats ain't far wrong. Google Knows Everything™ and ain't slow with the C&D emails. Or bashful...
Google Gigolo™ 'cause:
Worthless Excel is to Google Sheets ("sheets"... see the "Crazy Eights-like connection" coming up?)
Worthless husband is to Google Gigolo™
Geez... is this how kids feel with Santa watching their every move, making that list, and such?
I gotta try this one out on the wife...
Instead of "You don't have to remind me every six months that I promised to fix that toilet eight years ago" I can just tell her "Your idea has us all excited. Please fill out our survey so we can assess your enthusiasm and real details of what you want. After playing this line for a year, we will move on to completely ignoring you for a year or two, then talk once for few seconds about how this has been moved to a planning stage to see if it can be implemented. Not "the" planning stage, just "a" planning stage. Then..." and we'll see if she is still on the hook and being played, or if she has moved on to some product of Google's perhaps.
Maybe something called Google Gigolo™ with my luck, but maybe she'd still be on the hook like I am...
Ian Sims commented
Another "delight" of SDI which must not go unmentioned ...
Suppose, from a command button on a modal userform, you want to use the inputbox with type:=8 to return a range selected from another workbook. Under MDI, it's a piece of cake, a nice, elegant, smooth operation.
Under SDI, you have to select this other workbook using the taskbar, and then once you are done Excel forces the other workbook to take the focus, not return you to the userform. The userform is still in front of the originating workbook (which can't be seen at this point of course). But what fresh **** is this? - Excel has changed the form's modality to modeless!
Bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. A perfectly decent piece of functionality ruined.
Restore MDI file handling (open all files in one window); Kill SDI (each spreadsheet opens in a seperate window): This idea/recommendation was addressed by John, Excel Team in March 2018. Many people are still following this idea implementation. what is happening? It had 1,223 votes of approval. I am not sure if you have turned off this idea or still taking votes. John....?
Anonmous also commented
"Hiding but why" has a clear reason, Office 2010 goes EOL 13-Oct-2020:
Another post in excel.uservoice.com was more simple than this one. Many more like it might help, but I doubt it. Questions like "Does Microsoft use excel.uservoice.com?". Any comment from an admin and that issue would be considered closed. I scanned many topics a while back and found nothing from MS in years. I believe Microsoft simply does not read this website, any administrators that once existed have been gone for years