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.
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.
jane doe commented
That is by far the most logical explanation I have heard why MS won't fix this. It still doesn't get rid of my overall disgust with MS. Before it worked BOTH ways. You could have worksheets in separate windows and you could have worksheets in the same window. Having worksheets in separate windows was very desired by non-superusers but was a bit "tricky" to do - you had to know the "secret handshake" if you will to get MS Excel to do that. So I get that MS wanted to provide "more functionality" for their millions of non-superusers, but instead of making it easier to get the spreadsheets separate windows without having to know a "secret handshake" and keeping all of the functionality the powerful tool had - THEY BROKE IT. You can't tell me that if they had any clue MDI was needed for their superusers (like actually had a conversation with a good cross section of their user group) before they started this project, they couldn't have figured out how to do it without sacrificing functionality. They have very smart programmers there. But they didn't ask anybody anything before they just did the easy programming fix and now we literally have a product that has significantly less functionality. When this happened, I lost so much respect for MS. I used to be a big fan of their products - not so much anymore. They are mediocre at best. If all you ever do is program for the masses (which means by definition you are programming for the average i.e. mediocrity) you will never have amazing products.
I agree with the last comment. while I get the use case for this and have users that this presents a difficulty for, I think the technical difficulty of implementing out weighs the percentage of users affected(3), times their reports of severity(9), times the detectability(1). 27 is a fairly small FMEA score.
FMEA is the Failure Mode Effects Analysis, which is how I evaluate which projects to do. The short version is that rate of failure, severity of failure, and detectability of failure is each scored on a scale of 1, 3, or 9. These answers are multiplied and the results are from 1-729. Most issues that get worked on a product that is actively being worked range from 108-243.
Detectability on this one is the main factor. It scores a 1 because it is immediately apparent that this is the way this product works. I scored the severity of this issue as a 9, when it affects a user there is No question in my mind that it affects most of what they do and they consider it servere. The frequency number isn't that helpful, to score a 9 most users would need to be affected most of the time. 1200 out of millions isn't much. A 3 is a generous score. To get a 9 I would need to have seen headlines about how horrible this is and have frequent complaints. Even if that was true that would be a score of 81.
In my experience with development the only time a program would work on a feature that only scored a 27-81 would be under 3 conditions. A regulatory requirement. All other higher scoring work was done or blocked with no workarounds. It was a pet peeve of the program manager or CEO.
I'm probably going to get some hate for this, 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
- the Excel userbase can be counted in millions
- MDI made sense when people only had one monitor with resolution of 1024x768 or lower and screen space was incredibly valuable
- it's now very common to have 2 1920x1080 monitors, or a single one above full HD, in office environments
- MDI was always buggy for me with more than 4 files open, across computers and Office versions
- SDI is way more stable and doesn't stop spreadsheets communicating with each other remotely or in real-time
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?
"Anonymous commented · September 10, 2020 19:00 · Flag as inappropriate
Why would you ignore all the power users that stress how necessary and important MDI is for their work process. That microsoft is being tone deaf to this is very disappointing. Ignore your power users at your own risk."
Why has this **** forum got no "reply" option? Fkn useless.
In reply to Anonymous above - the answer is obvious - they've taken your money, now you can fkoff - they do not give a **** about your opinion, or mine, or anyone else on here.
Why would you ignore all the power users that stress how necessary and important MDI is for their work process. That microsoft is being tone deaf to this is very disappointing. Ignore your power users at your own risk.
When my office converted to O365, it was a shock when multiple instances started to appear when working in multiple workbooks. It seems that with the upgrade while it may work better from a system interface issue, from a USER perspective, it takes me more time to use the application. I spend over 90% of my workday in Excel and while the items indicated in the response from 8-6-2020, it doesn't resolve some issues from a user efficiency perspective.
Screen space - yes, I can minimize the ribbon if trying to work on multiple spreadsheets on one monitor, but then you have to hover over the ribbon each time a formatting change is needed, causing extra steps/time when working. Not all users have super huge screens monitors that can accommodate even having minimized ribbons for each open workbook, so real estate on the screen/monitor is a serious issue.
Navigation between workbooks - yes, it is easy to use these key combinations to move between workbooks - but what about when you need to utilize your full screen/monitor for another application and reference multiple workbooks at the same time - you have to move each workbook separately to another screen/monitor - whereas before, you just moved one instance/session of Excel to the other screen/monitor.
The previous version of having one instance open with multiple workbooks - clean, neat and contained with ease of dragging around on screen/monitor or between depending on users work.
Having multiple open instances is just messy and frustrating, and contributes to unease while working the Office applications for those of us with OCD issues (as I've noticed the same with Word, PowerPoint, etc. as well).
Would be nice to have the option for individual users to decide if the want to utilize MDI vs SDI.
Raymond Gota Toudji commented
i never understood why new functionalities in excel had to result in new look, making the new look mandatory and killing the old one! that's usually a flag that things are going to stink! where is the separation of UI and logic every expert is singing about? what has a new multi tuti fruti function to do with new icons everywhere or new ugly ribbon?
it's like mom got additional responsibilities at the office and suddenly everyone at home needs a face lift and botox in the face! can't be good..
AKMC 117 commented
> I pay for a licence on 365 which only gives me up to date outlook functions, the rest has gone backwards since 2010.
I wouldn't necessarily go that far. Some of the more advanced data analysis features that came in in the 2016/2019 family are pretty impressive. Multi language proofing is also massively improved compared to 2010. The PROBLEM is that things like that are useful to a minority of users (myself included, I will admit), while a change like not even being able to arrange multiple spreadsheets for perusal on anything less than an iMax screen, or the removal of pinned folders (a ridiculous change that they reversed only grudgingly) screws over the MAJORITY of users... and for what?? Because somebody in an office in Redmond who never uses the product in the real world thought that it was a "kewl" change?
I am inclined to agree with you completely on this:
> They really don't give a **** about what their clients think.
because it's pretty consistent with their behaviour here.