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Roy

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  1. 14 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    Yeah. One of the reasons to use windowing rather than everything maximized and switched between is to be able to see something from a program while working in a different program.

    I'll forget and highlight an Excel row to keep from drifting up or down as I use information in it in a different program, then sigh when I get into the other program's window and notice the highlight is utterly gone.

    (Sigh...)

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  2. 2 votes
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  3. 6 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    Actually, if you use the formatting workaround, enter the birthdays as MMDD, not day first. Then they sort month-day which is clearly more what you desire.

    A different approach would be the often hated "helper" column in which one would extract the month and day from the entry cell allowing sorting as desired on the helper column. Extract as Month and Day, not Day and Month, of course.

    Since the usual reasons helper columns are reviled are that they bloat a table of data and give users one more way to muck up a perfectly good spreadsheet and that they seem inelegant, even incompetent (as in you should have been able to figure up some complicated formula that "cleverly" does the whole job in one go... but is a nightmare to maintain and explain to users who are not sure your spreadsheet is accurate) it seems likely a helper column here would be perfectly fine since it is a basic job, no frills, and clearly being done personally by you so who else would be seeing the spreadsheet. Being just for your own convenience, there would be no downside to the helper column approach.

    And then you could enter the real birthdays. Probably better not to have them of course, for a lot of privacy and HR-type reasons, but surely they are presented to you with year included (who would just send you month and day, right?) and it's natural to type it that way, harder to remember not to do so each time!

    Actually, if your formula in the helper column also appended a standard year (2016 for instance) to the extracted month/day, and used DATEVALUE() to turn it back into a real boy, I mean a real date, your sorting would work nicely, but periodically you could copy the helper column and Paste|Values back into the entry column to "cleanse" it (so the birth years entered would be wiped out and become the standard year). Privacy and HR concerns would fade somewhat.

  4. 2 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    The sum results are correct for the formulas, as written.

    Summing C3:C35 and similarly for column E.

    Perhaps you chose the wrong cells to sum, though these look like what one would wish to sum.

  5. 6 votes
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  6. 12 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    Sorry, didn't word the middle part as clearly as I'd've liked. The original material would never be merged away, never cease to exist or be moved or... anything. It would all stay right where it was to begin with.

    It would simply display as one big, merged-looking cell.

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    Roy commented  · 

    @Chris: I believe he is looking for something up/down, not left/right. The part about rows directly under each other seems key.

    So what it looks like he'd like is, if A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, and A7 all had the same value, the seven individual cells would NOT show as seven individual cells, but rather it would be like you merged the whole range, A1:A7, and set the formatting to center up and down, for sure, and maybe left and right (but up and down, for sure) as if it were one single merged cell even though all the other values would still be present, editable, sortable on, and useable in formulas elsewhere (because merging like that now would wipe A2:A7 out and you'd have to be a heroic formula writer to deal with a column of, say, a thousand rows doing three here, nine there, seven in this spot, and so on.

    So merging across the selection is definitely NOT what he needs. It would be more like my thought below about allowing the merge across selection to be applied up/down as well as the current left/right.

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    Roy commented  · 

    If the centering (display only) ACTED like present merging in that ONLY the value in the cell in the "upper left corner" of the range would then be centered across the range, hiding all contents in the other cells in the range, this would be different than the linked request in one way.

    To explain via example:

    Cells A1, B1, C1 have 3, 4, 6 as their respective contents. Merging them wipes out completely the contents of B1 and C1. Gone. This could cover their display by showing only A1's content of 3 with B1's and C1's contents hidden, but still accessible in a variety of ways, not the least being functions that need their information.

    So the "3" from A1 is displayed overtop all three cells, but all three contents are still present.

    Another way in which this could differ from the linked request is that the linked request ONLY ONLY ONLY goes for centering across the selection. To be sure, the high percentage of times one would wish to use any of these features, it would be to accomplish precisely that so, yay.

    However, what if you wish to have the value right "indented"? That is, displayed at the right of the three cells, with the other two not displayed at all? That is not an option pictured by the linked request because it is very much aimed at not having to merge in order to center across cells. Again, very high percentage. But with billions of spreadsheets...

    And further, THIS could operate on a 2-D range, say A1:C4, while the current center across selection option will take that range and make each ROW in it do it, but will not make that a single block displaying the "upper left corner's" contents centered up/down, left/right.

    (I know that is an argument for NOT doing away with merging, in the context of the link's request, but putting this request's idea into play and either doing this, or improving the link's requested features would make it applicable.)

    I DO basically hate merged cells, especially into exported results like PDF to Excel conversions, but centering across a selection alone and only if the selection has no contents other than the "upper left corner" cell's contents is too restrictive for any improvement made since these are once in a lifetime things.

    It could be of interest as well if accessible to the Conditional Formatting engine, which by the way is all about not affecting underlying formats, only changing how they are displayed. Makes CF sourced changes missed by VBA for many macro writers checking formatting... Anyhow, if, for example, CF could center the highest value, say, of three next-to-each-other cells over their display space (so, selecting the highest value of the three and showing it only, centered, at the right, whatever, of the cell), that would be a straightforward, not workaround-y way of achieving that desire.

    Finally, I get all kinds of cr*p from customers and vendors alike in which their precious display concepts and font sizes and so on make, I guess, pretty documents, but I have needs and rights too. And just care about what is shown in my usage, not all their garbage. I have the original on the hard drive for that. But if I edit the stupid spreadsheets they send, they've used merging and right indenting and blah-blah-blah to make it look pretty to them and I have to do all the de-merging and moving of cells and clearing of columns for deletion, before I can make it suitable. If they had this, a LOT of that would go away.

    So yeah, it's different, though obviously built on the same unhappiness with Merge. It's actually broader and more fully useable, if implemented by Excel according to its spirit.

    I might mention that it might, or might not, have implications with the new "Spill" functionality that is supposed to begin infusing great tranches of formulas.

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  7. 14 votes
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  8. 20 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    It's a broader problem in Excel.

    Another example is, for Excel 2013, if I set an indent for a column (horizontal positioning), then later changed the vertical positioning, the indent disappeared, just gone. I was force-upgraded by the boss so now I have 365 and it does not happen there.

    So these things exist across the product but it seems they CAN be fixed. With any luck, they'll do this one soon.

  9. 2 votes
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  10. 9 votes
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  11. 7 votes
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  12. 24 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    I like that, never thought of it:

    =VLOOKUP(A3,A2:D5,MATCH("Baker",A1:D1),FALSE)

    (If "Baker" happened to be a column heading). Have to use the column the lookup values are in too, of course, or add "1" to its result, but otherwise, it is a sweet way to do what Excel used to do naturally.)

    Thanks!

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    Roy commented  · 

    I do more or less what Sergei does, but my usage would be:

    COLUMN(AM1) - COLUMNS(A:E)

    (You could use "AM:AM" but that's extra for no good reason. And you could use "A1:E1" but that's... you get the idea. And using a range that covers column A through the last column before the table starts avoids the "+1" which is extra...)

    If you will only be looking up the one column, or just a few (you be the judge of "a few"), you can create Named Ranges for them. If not using the ranges for any other purpose, it doesn't matter what cell/s are in the range, so simply using AM1 for the Named Range (call it "ColumnAM" maybe, here anyway) lets you use: (with Named Range "NotUsed" = A:E)

    COLUMN(ColumnAM) - COLUMNS(NotUsed)

    But maybe the solution could include the idea that in this kind of context COLUMN() would return the number of the column relative to the range just specified AND let us use the column name. So:

    =VLOOKUP(A2,F:AM,AM,FALSE)

    would number F:AM as 1-34, not 6-39 and AM as the column to return would be numbered as 34, not 39 s ocould be directly specified.

    Actually, however they'd do it internally, of course, but it would look that way to us. They essentially do that now, but make US number the column relative to the table. Since the functions we could use, like COLUMN() are outside the lookup's context, we can't return the column relative to the table directly. So we have this disconnect. Makes more sense for THEM to regard the table as having columns 6-39, not 1-34 as they do now, so the USER can use functions whose context is the bigger world of the whole sheet.

    They could maintain backward compatibility, instead of breaking a trillion existing spreadsheets, by adding an argument after "True/False" which would specify the 6-39 idea if entered, or the current use if missing (as all current uses of the functions (VLOOKUP has relatives, a brother and a cousin, so to speak) would present). That would even cover ad hoc lookup ranges created using the "CHOOSE({1,2,...},...)" technique.

    But this alone would pretty much do all that I guess... I'd just like the bigger issue made more sensible as well. Definitely deserves my vote!

  13. 6 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    @RL: You are DEAD wrong. Lots of us LOVE MDI. See:

    https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304921-excel-for-windows-desktop-application/suggestions/11706627-restore-mdi-file-handling-open-all-files-in-one-w?tracking_code=f368ca87ec8c46369c18ba20d75eae9a

    Word still uses MDI. No matter how I open documents in Word, even opening two files from Outlook, I have a single instance of Word running (see Task Manager) though Word PRESENTS them in separate windows, as one would expect. ONE instance of Word, lots of windows, no problem. Me likee.

    If I open two Excel files from Outlook, they are in utterly separate instances of Excel (see Task Manager), utterly independent of each other (separate Undo stacks even and one can do this with several copies of files having the same name: because they are in separate instances of Excel).

    It's a nightmare for lots of reasons including whacked behavior with VBA, inability to truly copy and paste between them, formulas that need the second file open can't work because it is in a whole different world...

    We want the MDI world back.

    I can even use the Spike between the Word documents which I cannot do if I force two separate instances to open. That's MDI, no matter how many windows are open, it is still just a single instance of the program.

    It replaced a mess of programs that opened single instances for each document OR opened them all in a single window (like Excel's Panes still do). Now the windows were independent of the program and could be shifted about even onto different monitors and carry the program framework (like the Ribbon) with each instead of having to share the program's real estate.

    Supposedly, and I doubt this as I have plain vanilla equipment and never experienced it, SOME, not even all (definitely not me either way) folks had problems getting them onto their second or fourteenth monitors and Excel changed back to SDI to solve that. Since that would have only been a few (say 100,000 stockbrokers and day traders vs. 2 billion other users) it seems mendacious. It DOES solve bigger complaints like the common Undo stack (not now, separate programs, eh?) and not being able to open, at the same time, two (or more) files that have the same name. So it seems more likely they had that kind of thing in mind, but that's like butchering the baby and then throwing it out with the bathwater: no kind of desirable thing at all.

    Don't misunderstand SDI: it has NOTHING to do with opening windows for each document. Nothing at all. It is about opening the new instances (which are as completely separate as opening one of Excel and one of Lotus 123 would be).

  14. 4 votes
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  15. 2 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    Yes indeed.

    Starting the 100 year window at 1930 made some... sort... of sense in 1980-ish, but clearly needs to be moved forward a decade every decade. Should NOT be hard to do either.

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  16. 3 votes
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  17. 15 votes
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    Roy commented  · 

    As a minimum, it should be upgraded to include a second argument: a date formatting string to tell Excel exactly how the input string is formed.

    At present, it seems to use the computer's Windows setting for date to interpret the input string. So their own example of Feb 23, 2011 works for me if entered as "2011/02/23" but does not if entered as "2011/23/02".

    That is ridiculous, if one thinks about it. A spreadsheet not only could be USED by a few dozen variations on that theme, presumably breaking it when the users' formats don't match, but also because its input data could be SOURCED from around the world.

    This forces one to have to clean data that might already be perfectly clean and well-formed. Wonderfully consistent in its creation. But useless until worked on either by hand, formula, or macro.

    For its display, it seems like the cell's formatting would be good, but one could argue that some.

    But any way you look at it, it HAS to be upgraded.

    Going off-subject a small bit, but related:

    There's another Suggestion out there, "cousin" related, that I'm told (by its author) I misunderstood but I like my thought better. That would be that Excel would present every language version of Excel date formatting using language appropriate characters (if Sri Lanka uses "j" for month, then instead of "mmm" to show, say, "Feb", they'd format using "jjj"). HOWEVER, Excel itself would represent the formatting internally in one single way no matter the language version (perhaps "mmm" in this case, perhaps something else). Send the spreadsheet to a customer or co-worker in Mexico and using a Spanish language version and when he opens it, those formatting characters would display to him appropriately for Spanish (maybe "mmm") and any edits he made would have the same thing happen and when you then opened it afterwards in your Sri Lanka language version, you'd still see characters appropriate to your language.

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    Roy commented  · 

    Or simply add a format value to the formula formation: =DATEVALUE("20170802","YYYYMMDD") or for someone else perhaps it would be: =DATEVALUE("8/2/2017","MM/DD/YYYY"). One would obviously use only date specific codes in the second parameter, but those would easily tell Excel how to parse the first parameter's data. And it could easily allow reference to cells where the date data is or formulas that resolve to a date format (so one could us IF() to deal with a variety of formats in the date data (not all input data is clean) or to add the year to a month and day source. One might even create a second parameter that forces a mask: =DATEVALUE("20170802","MM/15/YYYY").

  18. 290 votes
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    Thanks for the suggestion Nick. We’ve got some related work we’re looking at soon, and we’ll be sure to carefully consider if we can get a fix in for this then. As always, more votes helps – so keep voting for the things you care about most.

    Thanks,
    John [MS XL]

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  19. 477 votes
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    Thank you for taking your time to suggest and vote for this. We do think that this suggestion has merit, but we don’t think that we’ll be able to devote time to it in the near future. We’ll continue tracking votes for it so we know how it ranks among the other suggestions.

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  20. 4 votes
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