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How can we improve Excel for Mac?

Just click individual cells to sum

Excel 2011 had the possibility to sum individual cells by typing "=", and then just clicking on individual cells across the workbook that you want to sum, and "return" when done. This functionality is no longer available in Excel 2016 (you have to type "=sum(", then clicking on the individual cells while holding down the command key, "return". I would be happy if the old functionality is brought to Excel 2016.

339 votes
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Saskia Aldershof shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Update – thanks for the continued support of this feature. We’ll keep this request open for voting, but we’ll need to consider modifying the behavior slightly if it is to be brought back. For this suggestion, we would want to enable such behavior on both Mac and Windows, but we would need to do it in a way that does not cause problems for people who don’t want this behavior. For example, it may be that you would type =, then hold the CMD key as you click the cells to be added. Or perhaps you would need to enable a preference to get the old behavior. Please comment on these options or offer other ideas.

We’ve been working to make Excel more consistent between Mac and Windows, as can be seen by the updates over the past several months, which have satisfied several thousand votes on this forum (multi-thread calculation, PivotCharts, modern chart types, new functions, slicers for tables). I mention that to be clear that we are listening to the suggestions, comments and votes.

Steve K [MS Excel]


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  • trisha commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you! I thought i was the only one! messaged ms numerous times with no response.
    Actually thinking about 'downgrading' to an earlier version.

  • Mike commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thought it was just me! Adding my name to the list. Please bring back old way! Its just better.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'm afraid saying this was taken out to align it more with windows is the most feeble response and uneducated decision I've heard of in quite a while. It is quite clearly a beneficial process - please someone come up with one negative against it? We have 50+ users thoroughly pissed off with it as they regularly sum certain cells to create invoices (200+ invoice per month) having to add in + sign each time (sometimes 50+ times per invoice) is actually very time consuming. Similarly adding =SUM( cmd is also time consuming when doing this volume of simple addition. Taking a function out because windows doesn't have is ridiculous - why not add it to windows instead of taking it from mac!?

    Now for a solution - realistically can this be added back in in a patch/minor update soon? Or is it something that can't be added until Excel 20whateveritwillbe is released?

  • MB commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Cannot believe it! I'm thinking about swithching back to 2011. This makes no sense, I use this fonction ALL THE TIME. It's driving me crazy!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Glad I found this thread. Just downloaded office 2016 and got straight to work on some spreadsheets only to find that = then clicking individual cells is not working for me. I assumed I was doing something wrong, although I couldn't really work out how you could get this wrong as so simple!! This new format is a complete pain. Why fix something if it isn't broken?? Please please revert back to the old style!

  • DavidH commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Adding my voice to this request. Now it is SO laborious when a lot of random cells need to be added from other sheets. PLEASE bring this back in - as an option in Preferences, so that people who came up through the Windows route from v2 can learn to love it too.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This video illustrates how easy and useful this function was.

    While awkward when you didn't know what it did, this function is a life saver. I schedule network music competition shows and if you've ever seen one, you know how many people that get filed through those things. Well, each of the hundreds of contestants must do dozens and dozens of tasks, equally, and we schedule down to the minute. This function allowed us to quickly create formulas for these hundreds and hundreds of tasks, trying things out, playing with time, and seeing what works and what doesn't. To have to type SUM, or even hit "=" click the cell, hold shift to type "+", then click another cell and enter is such a redundant task and truthfully slows down our work. On average that 2 seconds we have per action equals to 83 MINUTES a day we are loosing.

    If this function was nuisance for some, no problem, just have option turn the function off. I have no idea what this feature was called but it was a life saver, and should be on both the Windows and Mac version of Excel. It is so counter intuitive to remove convenience and customization to turn off said convenience if it isn't someone's cup of tea.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Changing the user experience with such a basic and easy to use function seems crazy to me. It is a common problem with people who code this stuff. They don't seem to be USERS. Please don't assume that since as a coder you don't use it the users probably don't use it. PLEASE bring this feature back.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As a policy decision MS may want to reconsider how it keeps consistency. Most companies try to have "continuous improvement" of services to their customers. Using that model then, if a platform (Widows or Mac) has a feature that improves productivity, it should be added to the other platform so that both grow. Seems counterintuitive to slow down one group of users. I suggest that MS speeds up the Windows users of Excel by adding click to sum.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just upgraded and immediately noticed this change. I use Excel on Mac and Windows and found it so useful to sum cells by just clicking in turn. Very disappointed this very useful feature has been taken away. Please bring it back to Macs and add for Windows.

  • Dave commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi there, just adding support for the automatic =(sum then click/click/click on random cells to perform an addition. This was fantastic functionality which should be available to both Mac and Windows, not taken away from Mac! This one feature means we will not continue with our trial to 2016 and will instead stay with 2011, which we own outright and do not pay an annual fee! Otherwise, great software. Shame that Mac users have been conditioned to expect certain functionality, which is taken away!!

  • Rod Gammons commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is really infuriating and significantly slows down basic functionality of excel. I have been a long term MAC excel user and it has always been the case that when you created a formula i.e., click in a cell, insert a '=' you could then click on other cells and excel would automatically add a '+' sign between them. Having to manually add a '+' sign, or hold down command, add '=sum' is significantly slower. It doesn't matter if thats how the PC version works- the mac version has never worked that way, and also FYI - no other spreadsheet programme on mac works that way either - the current version of Apple's numbers (and all previous versions) also works exactly the same way. You click on a cell, add a '=' to create a formula, click on multiple cells and it automatically adds the '+' sign between the cells. It is just SO much faster to do it this way. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add this basic functionality back or i will be forced to leave to apple numbers for good, which is a shame as i prefer excel.

  • Marco commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To me it seems a rather stupid move. Now I have to type "sum(" in order to do what I did before with one click. It won't make a difference with a long series of numbers summed together, but when I have to calculate many individual sums of different numbers in the same spreadsheet it does!!!!
    I an going back to excel 2011.

  • Ian Page commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I totally agree with Saskia (oct 26) - if you're aiming for consistency with Windows Excel, ADD this feature to WinExcel, rather than arbitrarily removing it from Mac Excel, which has had this feature since Day 1 (Sept 30 1985).
    (Historical aside - there never was a Windows Excel v1: the first Windows Excel was v2, more than 2 years after the initial Mac release, and it was v2 for parity with the Mac version).

  • Janice commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I haven't had to add the + sign since I used lotus back in the 80s. Please bring this back!

  • AdminDan Battagin [MS XL] (Admin, commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I looked into this, and of course you are right - we changed the behavior in Excel 2016.

    The reason we did that was for consistency with Windows Excel, so voting here is a great way to bring this change to the attention of the team.

    Dan [MS]

  • AdminDan Battagin [MS XL] (Admin, commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'll take a look at previous versions of Excel - I didn't realize that you could just "click" around before. I will note that even if you could do this in Mac Excel 2011, we're moving more and more to have a common user model between Mac and Windows Excel, so we still may not bring this back.

    Dan [MS]

  • amy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    YES PLEASE BRING THIS BACK!!!!! i don't want to have to use the keyboard to do basic addition of multiple cells!

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