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Harlan Grove

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  1. 1,275 votes
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    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.
    - Screen space – while it won’t get all the space back, you can minimize the ribbon to save some space. It only shows when needed.
    - Navigation between workbooks: you can use CTRL+F6, SHIFT+CTRL+F6, CTRL+TAB or SHIFT+CTRL+TAB to switch to the next workbook. …

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    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.

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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    You mean the old MDI interface. Yeah. Sucks now. Don't hold your breath.

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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    The cynical answer is that MSFT wants all Office programs to behave as similarly as possible. Word users hated MDI, and they're either more numerous or more vocal (or whiny) than Excel users, so Excel gets saddled with the preferred Word approach.

  2. 6 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    This was argued incessantly in USENET newsgroups decades ago.

    Every programming language gets to set its own operator precedence. Excel sets unary minus higher precedence than any other operator. THIS WON'T CHANGE because doing so would break far too many existing spreadsheets, so the ONLY sensible course is to accept that this is just how Excel works. Putting this another way, if you insist on this change, don't hold your breath.

  3. 22 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    If you want to use just 1 function call,

    =(SUBSTITUTE(big_string,substring,"")<>big_string)

    This returns TRUE when substring appears in big_string and FALSE otherwise.

    A function for every possible use case leads to languages like PL/I, which were so bloated they died under their own excessive inefficiency.

  4. 11 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    Not that difficult to implement as a user-defined function in VBA, wrapping VBA's Evaluate.

    Problem is that it'd need to be a volatile function. There are usually better nonvolatile solutions.

    As for those who want commented formulas, cell notes? As for formulas returning numeric values,

    =(some_long_expression)+N("and now for a comment")

  5. 3 votes
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  6. 238 votes
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  7. 74 votes
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  8. 2 votes
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  9. 2 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    Excel doesn't have strong types. A22=9 is evaluated the same as A22="9", which returns either TRUE or FALSE. Those possible return values are converted to strings, so LEN(A22=9) returns either 4 or 5, and IF treats any nonzero numeric value as TRUE. Thus the entire formula always returns "Valid".

    This is just the way Excel works and has worked since the mid 1980s. There are likely several orders of magnitude more Excel users who need it to continue to work as it currently does than would prefer your revised formula evaluation semantics. Don't expect this to change.

  10. 40 votes
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  11. 104 votes
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  12. 601 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    @Brett Ables

    Regular expressions (regex) would be a specialized feature with a limited potential user base, though I figure a much large user base than for the Bessel functions, so only a few regex functions would be needed. FIND and SUBSTITUTE alternatives would be all that's needed. Want to count the number of substrings matching \b[^a-z]+foo\b ?

    =LEN(REGEXSUBSTITUTE(x,"(\b[^a-z]+foo\b)","$1#"))-LEN(x)

    similar to finding the last \ in a pathname using current functions.

    Yes, indeed, I'd like better text functions, not least being able to specify position from the end of strings and instance number when there are multiple instances, but there are formula workarounds. There's no alternative to general regular expression support. LibreOffice Calc has limited support, Google Sheets has lots of support, but Excel is stuck in the late 1980s.

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  13. 5 votes
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  14. 96 votes
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  15. 26 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    More reasons just to copy Google Sheets's FILTER function.

    INDEX(FILTER(...),instance#)

  16. 808 votes
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    Great suggestion – thanks again for taking the time to put it on this site and for the thoughtful followup comments. This is pretty related to some other work we’ve got going and already has a fair number of votes, so we’ll work on getting plans in place now and hope to get started on this soon.

    Thanks,
    John [MS XL]

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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    Since NA() becomes #N/A when converted to static value, what would NULL() become? Nothing? #NULL!?

    I understand the terminological appeal of 'NULL', but MISSING() and #MISSING (need a constant to go along with the function) would be less ambiguous, conform to stats package terminology rather than DBMS terminology.

  17. 2 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    Better to add full regular expression capabilities.

  18. 14 votes
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  19. 32 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    FILTER wouldn't just replace the *IF[|S] functions. It could also eliminate the need for *LOOKUP and INDEX+MATCH.

    Consider

    =index(filter(C1:C7,left(B1:B7,1)="A",left(A1:A7,1)="B"),2)

    which in Excel would require the array formula

    =INDEX(C1:C7,SMALL(IF(LEFT(B1:B7,1)="A",IF(LEFT(A1:A7,1)="B",ROW(C1:C7))),2))

    to get the value in col C for the second records in A1:C7 with col B beginning with A and col A beginning with B.

    As for worries about simplicity, 2 of the 50+ people I've worked with in the same office over the last 10 years have even known about VLOOKUP. Everything beyond COUNT, COUNTA, SUM, MIN, MAX and AVERAGE are for fewer than 5% of Excel users.

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  20. 4 votes
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    Harlan Grove commented  · 

    PUSH and POP functions might work better, using a stack, with both returning the value. Consideration would be making Excel formulas look like FORTH code.

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