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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Have Excel scroll better when there are large cells.

If there's a really tall or wide cell, Excel jumps to the edge of the cell when scrolling past that area. This is a big pain when, for example:
- trying to position a shape
- Trying to grab the edge of the row or column in order to resize it.

Excel should just scroll normally without jumping.

1,988 votes
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Oz du Soleil shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Thanks everyone for all of the passion about this suggestion! The number of votes has increased greatly in the last couple months and we’re taking notice! We’ve got a bunch of other Excel endpoints behaving this way already and we’re evaluating getting it done in the Windows versions sooner based on the number of votes it gets – so keep the votes coming!

Eric Patterson (Program Manager – MSFT)


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  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Live in the shallow waters then my friend. Your offspring will evolve into sentient life while mine will still be sharkbait. I guess. Reading more than one or two lines without an insult in them to liven up the mood is a chore.

    Live long and prosper y'all.

  • hal commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Too long didn’t read. It’s really not that deep my guy.

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I have LITERALLY never touched, nor even seen a Mac in my life. Unless I saw something from the corner of my eye passing the one Apple store sort of in the area while walking in that mall. IPads and so on, sure, but never a Mac. I did use a 2e back in 1983 for a few weeks one summer but that was not a Mac.

    In any case, the Mac OS allows pixel by pixel scrolling of anything on the screen. MacOS Sierra, version 10, as an explicit example according to the last last answerer to this StackExchange question: (worth reading all the answers here for tips on how to get some of the needed functionality)

    "user3524289" last answer, 9/12/2017

    So instead of having to live with Excel's "snap to a cell, always" approach, Mac users can scroll in the way desired here. Because the operating system has the functionality and Excel doesn't override it. They see a good thing and ride it, not override it.

    As to Excel's institutional concept, the following is a volunteer moderator whose base reaction is "I'm afraid this is not how Excel works. The anchor point is always the top left corner of a cell." which reads like "So it is written, so let it be done." to paraphrase a little.

    Lower (open the replies, and go down toward the bottom, not the couple repeats along the way) and she... well, you have to read it, the circle of pointlessness won't close until you do:

    As to Mac users, from all I have read here and elsewhere, they do get this one thing, but suffer the absense of a bunch of functions() and more. So I don't really envy them.

    As to Macs again, since computing has moved to the "buy and use a toaster" stage, or at least significantly closer, many of my reasons for hating Nanny Apple are just "so yesterday"... but they are still a vile company with a vile corporate culture and that never changes. I will never own or use an Apple product. It's a sacrifice, no doubt, they are nice pads and phones and pods and so on, but someone has to draw a line and suffer if it brings suffering.

    Excel internally uses a tiny base measure for sizing everything, one that according to Allen Wyatt (no citation from his site, search there is pretty whack) is something on the order of 1,880 or so units per inch. But not exposed to us via any aspect of Excel, not even VBA. They have the internal measure in place to enable programming that references it, but are not interested, it would seem, in taking advantage of that.

    A workaround, a bit beastly, that few mention, would be to copy the cells one needs to examine against each other to a word processor and examine them there. Too bad no one has written an IDE to write Excel formulas in, complete with at least coloring of text in a better way than Excel does, the ability to indent and so on, all the lines you need, not three, all the possible IDE bells and whistles, then to let you click a "copy" button that collects it all and let you put it back into Excel with "F2, paste, and be happy."

    (Mac or Apple fanboy? Even Lot's daughters weren't more wrong than that.)

  • Mark Gibb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It's not just the mouse wheel causing the snapping to happen. When you drag the scroll bar, it will scroll smoothly between cells, but the moment you let it go, it snaps to the nearest row boundary.

    Be that as it may, Microsoft will never fix this. This topic has become nothing more than a support group for those of us afflicted by having to use this terrible design.

    And the Mac fan boy who said it was a limitation of Windows is a very silly person.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, this isn't a problem with the Windows operating system... it's with how Excel is choosing to implement what the operating system is telling it. If the user has their wheel set to scroll 3 lines, Excel is choosing to interpret that as 3 spreadsheet rows instead of a the equivalent of 3 lines of text or a percentage of the visible window. So frustrating.

  • I got a headache commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Would there not be a registry key to disable "snap to" actions? Excel can obviously scroll smoothly already by dragging the scroll bar or using center mouse button, so I have to imagine something in the Excel programming is forcing it to snap to grid lines.

  • hal commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    While windows isn't capable of smooth scrolling, it can scroll in all small increments without snapping to screen elements. To say that preventing snapping in Excel would require a change to the operating system is inaccurate.

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    No doubt.

    Got that.

    I comprehend.

    Excel uses the Mac's operating system to do precisely this. How or why is not the real point. That's how it does it. It is not written into Excel.

    Ergo my conclusion.

    Make your own. It's a free country.

  • John commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It's not smooth scrolling that we want, it's the ability to scroll between cells and not have them snap. If a cell is very large, you have to be at the start of end of that cell. You cant scroll in between it.

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @David Filisan:

    It works smoothly on the Mac because the operating system provides for such smooth, small increment movement.

    Windows does not.

    Excel uses operating services for scrolling rather than its own programming for it. Hence, smooth on a Mac, obnoxious on Windows.

    There's no likelihood that (relying on the operating system rather than programming for it as a feature) will change, so until Windows provides the smooth, small increment movement required, Excel on Windows will continue as is.

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


    Roy wishes... IF PowerApps was as easy as Excel, and IF it were a one price for all, like Excel, and IF it didn't have its own amateur limitations (apparently, most database sources are not handled properly and have a limitation of about 5,000 records...)... well, IF all those things, especially the second, I might be...

    Two things though, one new and possibly of use sometimes:

    1) A reminder that this works nicely on the Mac because the OS provides the service. There's a very good chance this will never happen inside Excel, but rather depends upon the Windows folks adding fine scale movement to Windows. Not only would that be a different programming interest group to inflluence, but there could be legal issues, or worse, to get around legal issues (given the monster Apple is, the monster MS cannot just "Disney" this competition by besetting them with dozens of lawyers attacking or defending, depending) Windows might end up with a less graceful feature. Still, better than this!

    2) New thing... I came across a Stack Exchange Super User post last night that has some interest for me, and maybe others. The gist of it is that Excel jumps the screen based upon the height of the row that the cell selector is in. How does that help?

    Well, if you have religious type feelings on the subject of merged cells, this cannot help you. If you have the tons of practical reasons to hate them, this probably can't help you.

    But if you can live with them, and can use a merged set of cells without a lot of trouble, AND you can navigate with the cell selector NOT in merged cells, you could be in business.

    Picture a five column table, A-F, and the big row maker is in column A, if it matters. When you enter any big row, the screen jumps. But if the big row was whatever, say 23 rows, and the big cell was a merging of all the rows in that cell, say A101:A123, AND you insert a narrow column that will not have merged cells (I figure the other four columns would have to have their cells merged too, to match the offender cell), and you navigate using the narrow inserted column, it will work naturally, going up a little by a little. The navigation can also be done by mouse and goes row by row as one clicks, like it does now. I cannot test it fully because I live in a happy world where my monitor is too tall to let 409.50 points (546 pixels, 1 pt = 4/3 px, What? Why is that?) take the whole height. Looks like it solves the jumping, and the never seeing the bottom material (without F2-editing the cell to see it).

    Obviously, hugely limited, and who wants to go about making all those cells (ALL columns for proper display, probably) to make it work. Not to mention how formulas would work and propogate... And could it even work right with Tables? And all the other difficulties merged cells bring.

    But maybe someone can use it. I might point out the Super User Answerer was bringing a technique from Google... seeing if it would work in Excel... and then reporting it.

    First sign in the wind of the, oops... "AN", not "the", surely?... intellectual shift from Excel?

  • queen__frostine commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi Dan, thanks for being here.

    Tonight Roy is going to be explaining a bit more about the PowerApp program, his successes with it, and how we too may be able to join this program. Take it away Roy!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi, my name is Dan, it's been 3 days since I said something inappropriate in an office setting due to this Excel bug.

  • WhyPutaRealNameOn APublicForum commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    What about if everyone goes to Bing - and searches repeatedly and with slightly different queries for:

    Alternatives to Excel for windows

    And includes scrolling conditions.

    This will maybe get someone's attention if there is enough traffic for the trend to bubble up at all. I can't imagine that Microsoft doesn't track metrics on their product searches.

    And it indicates an interest in migrating if there is a functionally acceptable alternative.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Agreed, the coffee sucks.

    I just put in a uservoice for improvements, please vote!

    They are accepting them now and until 3019!

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