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.
– 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.
My news feed this morning had an announcement about the improvements made in the recently released LibreOffice 7, including compatibility with current DOCX, XLSX, etc., MS formats. It's also completely free. No idea if their spreadsheet software uses SDI or MDI though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This type of response is likely to increase bleeding to other Office applications providers (even bigcorporates are leaving MS Office). MS you need to wake up and change tracks; the ones you are on lead over a cliff.
Surely you can just press UNDO? (Or does that undo all the changes from WIndows 8 to Windows 10 at the same time?
I don't understand how this cannot get any time, but changing all the messages to "we found a problem" (who is "we"? What are they doing looking at my work? What was wrong with "There is a problem"? If you're going to change the message, tell me what problem was detected!
What a big big disappointment.
I open multiple multiple (usually about 7) excel-files at once from the commandline. These excelfiles are linked to eachother because a value calculated in one sheet, is the used on another sheet.
This linking does not function as expected since a few years now, because of the change in window-behaviour (SDI/MDI).
It would be really nice to see at least an extra commandline option to have alle excelfiles (that are opened at once in one command-phrase) have the linked values updated continuously, like it was before.
The opposite behaviour is available using option /x .
Would be nice to see an extra option like /xe (or something) for the requested (old) behaviour.
AKMC 117 commented
Microsoft's response tells you everything that you need to know about the Office team and the contempt it has for its user base. Three open windows, three screen hogging complete user interfaces. Four open files, four interfaces, and so on. And somebody actually considered THAT to be an "improvement", as was the "toolbar to workbook confusion" issue mentioned in the original post which is a frequent pain in my backside.
Of course, these "improvements" were completely ignored in the final response. Ignore it, and it doesn't exist, right Microsoft?
Still, I did get at least one laugh out of it:
> and the monthly releases in 2020 have been among the most reliable ever in terms of avoiding crashes.
Yeah, I must have missed that memo, especially when OneDrive is involved.
Allegedly you want to "improve the experience". But you do the opposite.
On the other hand: I have a 20+ years experience with Excel. It doesn't need improvement. And because it is so, I (and we) tell you what a daily Excel worker needs. And spoiler alert: it's not what a developer (who is not a user) deems cool.
Notice: Newer is not better. Newer is just newer. Only better is better.
And: "We moved to SDI as a result of customer requests," I want to see at least one of these requests. And then I believe in Santa Bunny and the Easter Clause again. Big promise!
Peter Green commented
I think you should remember that users are merely cash cows and should not rise above their bovine station. I suspect that this issue, and its lack of willingness to be corrected by Microsoft, has something to do with the inexorable move to browser-based use but I am no technical expert. Personally, as a light Excel user, I use Office Tab to circumvent the screen problems, but it clearly does not resolve the programmatic issues. Microsoft is a behemoth and therefore has a high inertia. Change of direction requires a huge effort.
Mats Samuelsson commented
Simply Microsoft, you don't address any of the huge disadvantages with the current Excel. The ability to have MDI is one major request, the awful ribbons taking up too much real estate is another, the lousy undo behavior, the poor drag an drop copying, etc, etc are other major requests........and you don't give a single answer or explanation to any of them! You have seen the long list, do you really believe you may stop the criticism by splitting up the issues on separate uservoice tasks, it's standard divide and diversion tactics and it's disrespectful!
@ Microsoft: It is a great annoyance to have multiple windows of Excel running by default. I have a great many things that take up monitor real estate and having one instance of Excel keeps things decluttered; it's wasteful to have anything but MDI.
Michael Skoczen commented
Alternate suggestion Tabs like a Web browser. The user can drag them together or apart as desired.
While the tab is in the window the data can be tiled like MDI to see multiple at once with only a single ribbon.
I am disappointed that you brushed off one of the highest requested items like this.
2010 had the option for either mode. I much prefer MDI. Keeping the option would have been much better.
Again showing that vote count doesn't matter, most "completed" items have far less votes than this. Microsoft will continiue to do what THEY want, not what their users want or need.
Robert - agree, way to much wasted space when tiling worksheets. I moved back to 2010 and will hang on to that as long as possible.
You suck, Microsoft. None of what you said addresses the annoyance of multiple ribbons taking all my screen space since I work in 5 windows or more at once.
Office 2010 til I die I guess.
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.