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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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    Nick commented  · 

    Maybe I'm just ignorant of these new-fangled computimachines, but it seems to me that this isn't too difficult to fix. After all, analysis of data is what computers do really well, so Excel should be able to analyze its own Undo Stack easily and choose a course of action if it finds a potential conflict.

    The first piece of the fix is to have Excel talk to the User, warning him/her about any potential problem with an undo command, and giving the User the option to respond by clicking OK (Go Ahead With Undo), Cancel (Don't Do This Undo) or OK And Don't Warn Me Ever Again You Annoying Piece Of Junk.

    The second part of the fix is to change how Excel handles undos.

    Let's take a hypothetical Undo Stack (represented in the following table of which I'm hoping the formatting appears correctly for everyone). The following stack shows three actions which affect the four spreadsheets named W1, W2, W3 and W4. The X's represent which spreadsheet is affected by each action and two X's indicate that the action affects two spreadsheets through linking:
    =============================================
    Undo Stack 1
    ...............Spreadsheets
    ...............W1 W2 W3 W4
    Action-1 ..X
    Action-2 ........X ...X
    Action-3 ..............X ...X
    =============================================
    If the User is in either spreadsheet W3 or W4 and clicks Undo, then Action-3 will be undone exactly as expected in both spreadsheets. But instead, if the User is in W1 and clicks Undo, Excel recognizes that Action-1 is the most recent action for that spreadsheet AND that this action does NOT involve any other spreadsheet. Therefore, Action-1 is undone (and moved to the Redo Stack) leaving Action-2 and Action-3 untouched. But instead, if the User is in W2 and clicks Undo, hoping to undo Action-2, then Excel will analyze the Undo Stack, recognize that Action-2 also affects W3 through the linking and it will then search the Stack to see if there are any later actions involving W3. Since there are, Excel will recognize that there may be a potential cascade effect from undoing Action-2 onto Action-3. Excel then pops up a warning dialog telling the User, "If you click OK, there could be unintended side effects on spreadsheets W3 and W4". This lets the User make the decision about whether he/she really wants to go ahead with the undo.

    Consider another scenario:
    =============================================
    Undo Stack 2
    ..............Spreadsheets
    ..............W1 W2 W3
    Action-1 .X ...X
    Action-2 .X
    Action-3 .......X ....X
    =============================================
    If the User is in W1 and clicks Undo, then Action-2 is undone, leaving Action-1 and Action-3 untouched. If the User subsequently stays in W1 and clicks Undo again, then Excel analyzes the Undo Stack and sees that Action-1 affects W2 through linking, and W2 has a later action. Excel therefore throws the warning dialog up on the screen.

    And Excel would do the same type of analysis and warnings for the Redo Stack.

    Since the vast majority of Excel users don't use cross-linked spreadsheets, they would never see this warning dialog because there would never be conflicts. And undo's would occur only in the spreadsheet the User was in at the moment. Power users, who like cross-linked spreadsheets, could select an option to disable this undo self-analysis feature. For them, Excel would function just as it does now.

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  2. 123 votes
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  3. 340 votes
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  4. 158 votes
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  5. 7 votes
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