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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")

752 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

    534 comments

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      • Marcia Kastrup commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Here again just to increase the number of comments, since I've already begged, raged and cried on a comment here about this terrible SDI thing. Microsoft, please, listen to us. This is a disaster. We hate it. We will move out of Microsoft if we have a chance just because of this. What you have done is actually irresponsible. So many of your users have had their productivity affected because of something that probably did not help anyone! Why in the world would you do this?! I can't quit using Excel, but I will quit anything else Microsoft. No Bing for me, Skype also has problems since you took over, so I have left it. Word I could not care less. Your phones I will not ever use. My personal devices are all Apple - I will stay away from Microsoft every where I can. So, as far as this customer here is concerned, you are now hanging by the Excel thread, until something better comes up.

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @John; @John, Excel; @Excel Admin; @Microsoft; @Excel Product Manager; @Any Microsoft employee willing to respond to our questions and concerns

        Please provide a status update regarding MDI being restored within Excel.

      • Kelly commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please at least make choosing SDI or MDI an option to the user. I moved from 2007 (efficient MDI !! ) to 2016 (horrible). WHY has MS dumbed down the interface so extremely ? You will lose ALL your power users if you don't stop and listen. Even the simplest of settings have been dumbed down, placed on separate pages, etc etc, it's really unbelievable. Is there a generation change among programmers ? Do the younger ones need their icons to float and swirl and move about like on our cell phones ? Please return efficient versions of Excel where I spend all my time when I'm at work.... If MS doesn't listen I may be forced to find another product which keeps the good stuff and doesn't change it out every 3 years just for the sake of change. Gee, now where did they place everything THIS TIME ? And why do my eyes hurt when I'm on Office 2016 for an entire day. You can barely see the icons. Not to mention Outlook 2016 which I just couldn't believe. It's almost fuzzy, the interface is so unclear compared to the earlier versions. At home, I'm moving back to Excel 2010, the last serious and efficient version. Sorry for being negative, but come on ! How could you not notice the downward spiral from version to version ? Hope someone is listening.... Bring back an option for MDI. And hire some experts in visual clarity. The 2016 themes will blind you, in time.

      • Mats Samuelsson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Anonymous, Do you really believe that dumping MDI in favor of SDI (having both from the beginning) was an active wish from users? I'd say definitely not! I don't pity Microsoft for spending money on developments without having a clue on the consequences when removing important features at the same time. If you care to read the posts in this thread it becomes obvious that the removal of MDI had a serious, negative impact!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If this is the only thread on this topic out here the number of votes would indicate a very small group of people who are adversely affected by this problem to come out here to complain about MDI vs SDI. I quite frankly never thought about the change from MDI to SDI until one of our Actuarials brought it up.

        If you really want this changed get everyone from your company that is having this problem to go out here and vote. Microsoft spend development money on features that people are actively voting for.

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @John; @John, Excel; @Excel Admin; @Microsoft; @Excel Product Manager; @Any Microsoft employee willing to respond to our questions and concerns

        Please provide a status update regarding MDI being restored within Excel.

      • DC commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Clearly it seems Microsoft takes very little notice of it's customers anymore, sad but evident here as well. I have now left Office 2016 far behind on both my 'top spec' 2018 Dell laptops.

        I'm certainly not happy about the waste of money the 2016 suite was or how much it cost: but when you can get legitimate licenses from good legitimate online guys for the full 2010 Professional suite with everything included for Euro 25. A five minute download, why bother with Microsoft anymore?

        I'm in no way connected with them but check out digitallicense.nl superb vendor, I've used twice now. Excel is easy to read, instant cursor, no crashes. Outlook is so much better to read, everything else seems exactly the same in principle. I opted for the 32bit version to avoid any hassle with any older software, but you can choose 64bit, it all works the same for me, bliss!

        Shame on Microsoft for ignoring their paying customers. I don't care if they stop supporting 2010 in a year or so, it's stable and doesn't need loads of updates anyway!

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Anonymous Finance Executive

        That curser movement was one of the first things I solved as well – under Excel Options, Advance, Display – be sure to check the “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As a Finance executive in our organization of 5,000, I had the opportunity to test 2016 / 365 only to discover a new launch of excel every time I open a new file. Its not unusual for me to have 30 spreadsheets open at once on three screens. IT has restored Excel 2010 and I've recommended to our IT steering committee that we halt Excel 365 rollout. Vote MDI or I'll never upgrade.

        On a cosmetic note, I prefer the high def visibility in 2010 as well as the 2010 curser movement vs. this new "slide" visualization in 2016 which gives me the impression my curser is moving slower.

      • Mary commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I was lucky enough to go back to 2010. To much stuff does not work in 2016. MDI is a must, the ribbons take up a lot of screen space

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I offered $1,000 of my own money to our I/T guys to restore 2010, or provide MDI - they can't do either. After a year of this frustration, I'm now willing to pay $2,000 of my own money to have 2010 back. As someone who works in Excel ~6 hours a day, I feel this pain all of the time.

        I'd like to see a startup purchase the rights to 2010 and support it - then I could convince our I/T team to purchase it. We'd gladly pay 10X for 2010, versus what we are currently paying for 2016. All releases without MDI are a downgrade in my opinion. Actually, I’m still not a fan of the Ribbon either – it still takes up too much screen space.

      • Tyler commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        My company would probably pitch in $100,000 or more to have MDI back. It's that big a deal.

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @John; @John, Excel; @Excel Admin; @Microsoft; @Excel Product Manager

        Please provide a status update regarding MDI being restored within Excel.

      • Henry Roif commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Recently, I uninstalled Office 2016 from my computer and reinstall Office 2010, it's hard for me to believe that Microsoft will go back to MDI, on the contrary in Windows 10 there are a number of things that Office 2010 don't work, moreover Outlook 2016 is impossible to install if you want it ONLY in your computer, and access (to a certain extent) pushed you to share your databases in the cloud, seems Microsoft wants to take control of our lives, try to change the download folder in Microsoft edge....You need to change the registry, I also use the Office XP shortcut bar, it does not work anymore in Windows 10, fro those who remember Microsoft Photodraw was (then) way better than photoshop and EASIER, but they discontinued it. There's more but.......

      • Jacob Tell commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        They will pry Windows 10 from my cold, dead hands. I have to open 20+ Excel windows at once in the tire business, each window a different brand of tires I order. I also have all my inventory and sales in the same window.. I cannot do my job past 2010 because of all the ribbons!

      • AnonymousAlso commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        A few more "etc" per Alan's comment: status bar messages, modal popup windows. The big one is where before you had 3 MDI windows sessions, each could contain a different set of related documents. You switch between them and know which set you are working with. Under SDI, your windows toolbar now has splayed out each of those documents across all 3 sessions, with no clear indications of correlation between which goes to each session. You cannot work with a screen full of documents like this. This is the blocker keeping many people using a now 8 year old MS Office version

      • Alan Odom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Arco – you’re jumping to conclusions if you think the voters here are misled (not mislead) about SDI vs MDI. We fully understand the frustrations of SDI from VBA crashing issues to the greatly reduced screen space because of multiple ribbons/toolbars, ribbon/toolbar confusion etc. We have been pleading with the MS Product team to restore MDI for years, but I’m beginning to think they will never restore it. The admin of this page (John) has been silent for far too long, not providing an update on the status since March.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Arco,

        In the 2010 MDI model you could easily configure the system to display each workbook in a separate window-- that is the SDI model. This idea is to restore the OPTION to switch between the modes because Microsoft bizarrely took that away. There are use cases for both. For me, and for many others, limiting us to only using the SDI model, in which each workbook opens in a separate window, is a serious problem. So please consider changing your vote.

      • Trefor commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Arco, What version of Excel are you using? If you are using 2010 or below, then all you need to do is right click the Excel icon from the system bar select "Microsoft Excel 2010" and you will have a new instance (and window) of Excel. Repeat this step again and place each Excel on each of your 3 windows.

        This from a placement point of view is identical to opening 3 separate files in 2013, 2016 or 365 and getting 3 windows whether you like it or not.

        There is a difference though, in 3 x Instance of 2010 they could each be running a separate macro independently of each other and if any one crashes, only that instance is affected. In 2013+ if one window crashes, they all crash.

        With MDI you have the choice of having multiple windows within a single instance or multiple instances with 1 or more windows.

        With SDI there is no choice, if it delivers what the users wants, great, but if you wanted to open 30 files in SDI the only thing you would see is toolbars, even on 3 monitors! I assume you don't use or develop VBA otherwise you would truly understand the pain of SDI.

      • Arco commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        NO! Many voters here were mislead because the title was different!
        So, many voters voted for SDI instead of MDI.

        I was lead here to make a vote for better SDI interface because I have so many problems with MDI; I got 3 screens, but with this stupid design I can use only one! (Don't ask me to expand the complete MDI over multiple screens, I have a desktop and other programs running, you know!)

        SO I VOTE AGAINST THIS!

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