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Rob

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  1. 1,087 votes
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    Thanks to everyone for the votes and discussion about having undo independently in each workbook. Even though this request has been here for a long time, we are listening and we realize that it can be frustrating if you press Undo while you’re in one workbook and it undoes something in another workbook. We’ve been considering the technical challenges to make Undo work “per workbook”, and want to share some details about it with you.

    The undo process relies on the state of all open workbooks being exactly the same after an “undo” as they were before the undone action was taken. One example of how undo “per workbook” is problematic is with linked workbooks. Let’s say you have WorkbookA, with a formula that refers to WorkbookB, such as =SUMIFS. This formula will give the sum of values in WorkbookB in range A1:A10 that have “Yes” in the…

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    Rob commented  · 

    1000% agree that, if nothing else, MS should work on bringing to the front whatever workbook is being affected by the undo, so at least it's *somewhat* clearer to the user what is happening.

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    Rob commented  · 

    @David Separate instances is a good option for Windows users — if you know how to do it. Not so much for Mac. And it makes switching between open sheets more difficult and confusing. On a Mac, CMD+` switches between windows within an application, while CMD+TAB switches between applications. On Windows CTRL+TAB switches between all open windows in every application.

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    Rob commented  · 

    Anonymous from October 19, 2020 8:45 AM is right on many counts, not the least of which are...

    1) Word and Excel are completely different development and maintenance teams. If you have any trouble believing this, just look at all the commands that have wildly different keyboard shortcuts in each app — for example, insert date is CMD+; in Excel, and CTRL+SHIFT+D in Word.

    2) Nobody here, other than Steve K responding from the Excel development team, has any idea how much work it would be to make the change we're requesting. As someone with QA experience, I can tell you that an app just a few years old can have layers of convoluted code if there isn't a conscious effort to keep the code clean. Unraveling the undo stacks to clean them up and give them two paths of functionality is, I'm 100% sure, a major task.

    Having said that, this never should have become a problem in the first place. Cross-workbook undo stacks should *never* have become the default. It seems likely that the Excel team was not thinking about the average user, but rather thinking only of power-users, when this way of handling stacks was initiated. And it seems very likely that behind the scenes the Excel codebase is a tremendous mess, given that Excel 2008 was 58MB, and the current version of Excel is 1.7GB. Microsoft most definitely didn't add 30x more functionality, or make it 30x better, in the process of making it 30x bigger. (I'd like to see Microsoft do the occasional ground-up overhaul of Office apps like Apple does with MacOS every once in a while.)

    So I'm understanding of why this request is probably a much bigger deal that most of us here could comprehend. Without question, Microsoft still needs to fix this. But linked workbooks is not "just an excuse" (even without much coding experience, it's obvious to me that's a **** of a lot more complicated and intertwined with other code than a simple, standard undo within a single document), and how Microsoft Word works could not be less relevant to the discussion at hand.

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    Rob commented  · 

    Well, at least we know this isn't going to happen, but what Steve K's reply doesn't seem to address is that what everyone here is asking for is the *option* to undo on a per-workbook basis. Granted, that's probably even *harder* to make happen. But all anyone here wants is a way to opt-out of this feature that is aimed at Excel ultra-power-users to the significant, confusing detriment of *everybody* else.

    It should be possible to turn off cross-workbook Undo stacks in Preferences and/or there should be a separate keystroke. If I could CMD+CTRL+X to keep my undos within my workbook, I'd be happy with that at this point.

    Again, not saying that's an easier thing to code (in fact, I'm sure it's not), but I'd like to hear what "we don’t have plans to address this soon" means.

    Also, I do understand that whatever the Excel team does will have to address both use cases. The example Steve gives may seem like a corner case to a lot of us in here, but *the user who needs this functionality* can't be left out of the solution.

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    Rob commented  · 

    @Evan: I'm with you 100%. My point was more that there has to be a reason MS did this in the first place, and the reason they haven't fixed it may be due to there being a lot of (lucrative) users who want it.

    Now, that doesn't in any way excuse having not made it optional in the first place...
    ...or having not fixed it so it's optional after all these years of complaints...
    ...or having been so thick as to not realize it was going to be a problem for a TON of users.

    At this point, I'm thinking the code is a bloated, tangled mess (FFS, the app is 916MB when 10 years ago it was 58MB) and fixing this would be a bigger project than any of us imagine. Doesn't mean they shouldn't get on it.

    Just saying there might be more to it than we know. Of course, the REASON we don't know is because when MS folks haven't stopped by in 2+ years, despite having raised our hopes.

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    Rob commented  · 

    I hate this functionality too, and Microsoft NEEDs to make it possible to turn it off, so people who work with one workbook at time don't have to deal with potentially dangerous Undos.

    But keep in mind, everyone who thinks global undo is "silly" and asks if the developers have ever used their own product, that Excel's bread-and-butter is corporate power-users for whom this behavior is beneficial.

    Microsoft didn't pull this functionality out of their backsides. There's a reason for it. A good reason, in fact. Where they screwed the pooch was in making it the default with no option to turn it off, thereby demonstrating no consideration for their *common folk* users.

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    Rob commented  · 

    @Anonymous on 2020-02-21: Hit the nail on the head. I *do* understand why MS wanted to make undo stacks global. I understand why power-users might need that. But there's just NO excuse for not making it optional. 1) They *must* have known that the vast majority of Excel users will never need this feature, and 2) as you've so perfectly pointed out, they didn't think through the work flow and how this rotten execution bleeds over into other functionality. It's terribly botched in execution. But I suppose that shouldn't come as any surprise for software as bloated with code as Excel. There may truly be no equal for spreadsheet apps, but 1.64GB for a single app just screams "Our app is full of dead-wood code leftover from 15 years ago."

    For my use case, which is fairly sophisticated, Excel 2008 still does 95% of everything I need, and it's only 58MB (97% smaller than Excel 2016), and has 90% fewer bugs. Of course, the devil is in the details, and that last 5% of improved functionality is stuff I *really* need, so I'm stuck using this bloated, bug-riddled version of Excel that doesn't think like its users think.

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    Rob commented  · 

    > I seriously cannot understand why this isn't the default. Can you imagine if Word had this behavior default?

    To be fair, Word documents that need to reference each other in a live manner aren't really a thing. Excel workbooks can — and frequently do — pull data from each other. So having a global undo is something that would be terrible to be without *IF YOU NEED IT*.

    But the fact is, it's a pro feature. It's not needed by the vast, vast, vast majority of users.

    The behavior should be an easily-set user preference.

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    Rob commented  · 

    John from Excel, how about just giving us another keystroke for "undo in this workbook only"?

    CTRL+Z for undo within a workbook (because I'm sure the vast, vast majority of Excel users don't need the cross-workbook undo), and CTRL+ALT+Z for cross-workbook undo.

    And on Mac (where I'm working) CMD+Z and CMD+OPT+Z. A person who needs cross-workbook undo can *always* use one, and a person who doesn't can *always* use the other. I think that would solve the problem.

    FYI, Tina Ess, if "it never happened before" to you, you've been lucky. This has been a problem since at least 2003.

    Here's a SuperUser thread from 2011 where someone is seeking a solution to this problem.

    https://superuser.com/questions/293044/excel-how-to-undo-in-current-file-only

    It includes an explanation of why this issue exists and why it's hard for Microsoft to remove it: "MS does this for Excel only due to cross-workbook references. The only way they can maintain integrity of formula relationships in that context is to maintain a single undo history."

    In other words, it's vital for anyone who frequently uses a lot of formulas referencing other workbooks. I can understand how that might be the case. But speaking as someone who has never done that and probably never will, the majority of Excel users shouldn't have to pay the price on a regular basis for the sake of a feature used only by super-Excel pros.

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  2. 2 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Excel for Mac » Formulas and Functions  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  3. 6 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Excel for the web » Formulas and Functions  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Rob commented  · 

    When you're inside the Formula Bar, you can F4 (Windows) or CMD+T (Mac) to toggle between relative, absolute, and mixed.

  4. 7 votes
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    Rob commented  · 

    This absolutely (pardon me) needs to happen. I'm in the middle of editing dozens of cells one at a time because this very obvious functionality doesn't exist.

    Also, apparently it's impossible to toggle between relative and absolute except via keyboard shortcut — no Menu item, no Ribbon button. Seriously?

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  5. 62 votes
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    Rob commented  · 

    1000%. I can't think of any reason why having merged cells in the row could possibly make any difference.

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    Rob commented  · 

    It's absurd that merging a cell makes it not possible to AutoFit the height. And even if there's a good reason, there's no excuse at all for having AutoFit Row Height available if it can't be used. It should be grayed out, so users at least understand it won't work, even if they don't know why.

    But #1, make it possible to AutoFit Row Height regardless of merged cells. I need this badly for cells in which I'm making lists with line breaks within the cell.

  6. 5 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Excel for Mac » Formatting  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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