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!
We are experiencing issues loading more than a few sheets with Excel 2016. With Excel 2010, it was easy, never any issues, very stable, class product. Excel 2016 is a backward step, and MDI is way preferred for all the reasons given.
Tony Trout commented
I was just "upgraded" to Excel 16 at work. Losing the ability to have multiple windows in one instance is a downgrade in user experience.
I have been using Excel for 30 years (no exaggeration, version 1.5 for the Mac, 1990). For about half that time, Microsoft has been trying to convert a fantastic, all-purpose data tool for professionals into an easy-to-use spreadsheet for light users. Go make a Google docs knockoff for light users and leave Excel alone for the professionals.
Quite frankly SDI is awful with limited screen size, we don't all have enormous screens or multiple screens!
Due to being forced to move to W10 + Office 365 from W7 + Office 2010, the support had to give me a third monitor because running Excel full screen in one monitor was the only way to get it (SDI) under any control.
Donald Nguyen commented
I have not met a single person who prefers SDI over MDI. SDI is horrible. The only advantage is when you have two monitors... but that's very small.
Adding my 5 cents...
My arm is being twisted to move from Win7+Office 2010 to Win10+Office 365, which will have a dramatic effect on my productivity.
I have previously tried Office 2013 and 2016, but the SDI interface in Excel requires me to keep moving and resizing each and every new Excel window all day long, not to mention that I need to remind myself that the last Excel window that I close at the end of the day determines the place where they start cascading from the next day.
I have a two monitor setup, with 8 applications that I open at the start of the day. Each application has its own place and it has to stay there,
The SDI interface is far worse than the enormous icons eating up my workspace.
At the very least, let us stop the new windows cascading right and down and open exactly at the same spot as the previous one.
The ones preferring the SDI approach have always had the opportunity to open multiple instances of Excel, now we are left with a single instance and multiple separate worksheet windows, which do not remember their locations and sizes but for one, and due to all still being one instance of Excel, if one window crashes, they all go down - There is no benefit in the current interface
S Wallum commented
I am sorry to say but Microsoft last major hold in the marketplace will soon diminish. About 10 years ago I looked at Apple and while their platform was extremely stable Office did not support MDI. This was the only reason I chose to stay with Microsoft as my preferred company computers. I have now seen dozens of large corporation converting to Apple computer by the thousands and a few head towards Android. I have also decided that Android platform can provide adequate software (google sheets) for most of my company’s needs (SDI) instead of purchasing Surface computers at a fraction of the cost. I have purchased my last 4 Microsoft Surface Pro 6 computers and will be purchasing Galaxy Tablets to replace all Surface computers as needed. I will continue to look for a replacement for Office 2010 and hopefully one of Microsoft’s competitors will wake up to an opportunity they now have available. Most of the large corporations (Fortune 500) are slow to update because they wait for the bugs to be worked out. Microsoft will not feel the impact of their downgrading of Excel until this happens and at that point Microsoft’s hold on the business computer market will have taken a huge hit.
David Portwood commented
Under SDI, you can't programmatically drill down into detail tables within an Excel database distributed across multiple workbooks. This severely limits the functionality of an Excel database. Yes, I get it - just use Access. Well, Access is not always the desired choice, and I for one resent being forced to use something else (Access) when I was perfectly happy with Excel. Why did MS stop maintaining Excel VBA, anyway? VBA is a wonderful language with great functionality!
Harlan Grove commented
I prefer MDI myself, but I suspect there are more Office users who mostly use Word, and they prefer SDI not just in Word but also when they use Excel. IOW, if MSFT considers requests from Office users rather than those relatively few who use Excel more than Word, most probably prefer SDI in all Office applications.
IOW, as long as Excel remains part of Office, Excel users aren't going to get what they want.
Andrew Lockhart commented
The Excel Product team are not going to bring this feature back, but there might be a strategic way to bring some of the functionality back.
Windows 10 Sets could be a good start. I have posted a different idea that might get more support from the Product Managers at Microsoft. If you like it Vote it up.
Ian Sims commented
The complications arising from the userforms having to be constantly unloaded (and control values erased) in order to circumvent their default ownership under SDI to the active workbook have beaten me.
It's not possible, it's not sane.
'Bye Microsoft/VBA, I'm off to Python and R. It was fun while it lasted.
S Bijl commented
I had the joy of running 35 spreadsheets all open in once session (MDI) of Excel 2007 & 2010 without any issues. Worked great and could efficiently make changes in one workbook/sheet that then linked to the others and upload to SAP.
Also was great when I wanted to look at 4 or 5 of these sheets at the same time across my 2 monitors, with only ONE RIBBON! Trying to review 5 sheet in 2013/16/19 lets you see a couple of lines in each sheet but you get to see 5 RIBBONS take up half the screen! Smart Excel users do not need to see a RIBBON on each monitor Microsoft. If they did, they would just run two sessions of Excel. There is so much I hate about 2013/16/19 and I used to love using Microsoft products. Ever since changing Office to work on tablets and the horrible look of the ribbons and icons, it has sucked in appearance and functionality.
Also, under 2013 and 2016, both 32 bit and 64 bit, the most the same computer could handle was 10 files before the whole computer would crash. I showed my IT team and they allowed some us to keep Office 2010 instead of moving onto 2013/16 as they could see how useless it was for power users.
Looking forward to going back to 2010 at home now and uninstalling Office 365. 2007 was actually better when it came to control over links, but guess someone told Microsoft to change that too without actually talking to power users or really testing things.
At least there should be the choice of toggling from single instance to multiple. Previously I would open most workbooks in a single instance and arrange them to suit what I was working on. Main sheet at the top, up to three or four others slotted in below and any others that I may need would be minimised leaving just the names tiled along the bottom. Great way to work with just the one toolbar at the top that works for whichever is the active workbook, and so you always know where to click.
New version is a dog's breakfast: Instead of each workbook "remembering" It's position, there are separate windows opening all over the place. And don't get me started on the ribbons! Instead of nice neat toolbar at the top, I get ribbon, two rows of spreadsheet, ribbon, two rows of spreadsheet, ribbon....you get the picture. Yes, you can collapse the ribbons, but you're still left with toolbar tabs at the top of each spreadsheet. It really impacts the amount of real estate you can use on the screen, and it's confusing having to pick the correct toolbar instead of just having a single toolbar for all.
Massive UX fail, Microsoft!
Michael Burgan commented
Would like to get rid of 365 but it's my companies choice
v2007 was great... v2010 started being ******.... 365.... is the worst user interface, user experience that i have had to use.... how to improve, hire older developer mangers that can combine the latest tech with old school.
Please bring back MDI
Actually you can drag an Explorer icon onto the maximized window for Excel, wait a moment for it to stop saying no and indicate you can drop it and it will open nicely in the same instance. It is still not a/n MDI opening, they have their own ribbons and so on, but it is the same instance and that was with the window maximized. I do this all day long, drag and drop the icon onto the open Excel instance and it is always maximized. Always. I do NOT do teensy little windows all over the screens like MS seems it would dearly love me to.
The hassle here is I used to be able to just click to open the Explorer icon and the above happened. Did not have to jump through so many hoops.
Are you perhaps saying you get a/n MDI opening if you do explicitly what you say below? That would be interesting.
What you can't do is drag a file from some programs, like Outlook, drop it the same way, and get the same instance. Of course, if you open a file from Outlook first off, before any other Excel work, then keep that instance open while opening and closing files, all the others (from inside Excel or via Explorer, even others from Outlook) will be happy to open in that one instance.
But basically, it's broken still, just less inconvenient, because it always will start a new instance if you are not careful every single time, and because you never have MDI.
All they had to do, if they were REALLY doing what they say they were doing, was to make the Shift-Click on the icon technique of forcing a new instance into a command line switch (like the "/e" we use to keep a useless new file from opening when Excel opens). Then those who "needed" SDI could have had seamless, effortless opening as they wished while the rest of us (the other 99%) continued on.
Maybe that one change was why we get so poor response here and in other Suggestions. Not just the turds never replying, never updating, never saying anything that isn't mendacious, but such poor response concerning DOING the Suggestions. Maybe they did that one lickety-split, and it backfired so horribly with their reason for doing it looking so utterly stupid as to seem a flat lie, and it's "burnt their fingers" so now they hem and haw forever before making the least change.
Because that one was so incredibly, pathetically stupid if really done for the reason they've stated in the past. And don't even bother with anymore. So freaking stupid... or a lie from the beginning... not sure which they'd prefer we think. (Partly because I don't think they care what we think.)
Dale Thompson commented
Although an option to open all files in the same instance would be the best solution, I've found this workaround when I open a file from Windows Explorer (I usually open files from Windows Explorer rather than from Excel because I can navigate faster through existing shortcuts and shortcut keys, especially since extra steps have now been added to the browse function inside Excel):
I drag the file to the taskbar icon for the prior Excel file. When a tool tip says, "Pin to Excel", instead of releasing the mouse, I then drag the file back to the main window and drop it on top of the prior Excel file that is now displayed.
(This is the equivalent of dragging the Windows Explorer icon onto the current Excel window except you cannot do that when working in a maximized window.)
Ian Sims commented
There are so many problems with SDI. Many operations that were instantaneous now have an annoying lag. For example, changing windows - you used to be able to press alt-W, W and the menu of open workbooks would open immediately. Not now, presumably because Excel has to trawl through the operating/file system to find them. I used to have workbooks that didn't need the formula bar hide it on activation (and make it visible on deactivation). But again, incredibly slow, so that's gone.
Plus of course the nightmare with userforms. Now that the owner is the workbook under SDI, general utilities and supervisory/controlling use are effectively no longer a practical option. The form disappears once the workbook selection is changed. The form has to be unloaded every time it is used, which is, again, time-consuming, jumpy, and comes with a lag if populating controls from a medium-to-large data source.
The ribbon issue has been addressed many times on this forum, it really is a ridiculous situation, particularly given that the so-called "problem" being addressed by SDI is multiple windows on monitors could be covered either by multiple instances or one large MDI window across the monitors.
I can only assume that MS have decided the way to get rid of VBA is to dumb it down so that users simply give up in disgust and take up Python. Can I have my money back for years of building up a code bank please?
I have found a workaround (not a fix) for this problem on my computer.
As long as I open my first instance of Excel from and outlook attachment all other files I open subsequently use the same window.
Make sure to enable editing (if necessary) before opening a second Excel file.
Hope this helps.