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Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

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Julian
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Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190042

Postby Julian » December 30th, 2018, 9:04 am

I use MS Office Home & Student 2016 on Windows 10 Pro. I pretty much only use Excel so that's all that I really care about.

I quite often have more than one spreadsheet open at any one time but often have ones I'm not currently working on minimised. One thing that I like about Office 2016, that earlier versions didn't do, is that when I open a new spreadsheet ("new" not necessarily meaning a new blank sheet, just meaning an extra spreadsheet that I now want to work on) it is opened in a new window whereas older versions of Office used to re-use the currently opened Excel window. Anyway, that's all good except...

If for instance I have a spreadsheet that I was working on a few minutes ago minimised and I then double-click on a shortcut to another spreadsheet on my Desktop to open up something else that I want to work on or even just quickly look at it not only opens up a new Excel window to display the spreadsheet that I just double-clicked on (which is what I want) but it also restores the window for the other spreadsheet that I might have had minimised so I not only get a Window on my desktop with the spreadsheet that I now want to look at but I also get one of my other open but minimised spreadsheets restored so I end up with two Excel windows on screen and have to re-minimise the one that just made its unwelcome appearance on my desktop to remove clutter. Interestingly, if I have 2 spreadsheets minimised and open a third I don't get the windows for both of the minimised ones restored, only one of them, but that one is still annoying.

Does anyone know how to stop this behaviour? Do later versions of MS Office still do this? I object to paying annual subscription fees but I do use Excel a lot and really like it so I wouldn't begrudge Microsoft the £90 or so that Amazon is quoting for a one-off purchase of Office 2019 Home & Student Edition (https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Microsoft-St ... B07FYRSS4Q) but only if it would solve my problem.

- Julian

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190058

Postby ReformedCharacter » December 30th, 2018, 10:13 am

Julian wrote:I use MS Office Home & Student 2016 on Windows 10 Pro. I pretty much only use Excel so that's all that I really care about.

I quite often have more than one spreadsheet open at any one time but often have ones I'm not currently working on minimised. One thing that I like about Office 2016, that earlier versions didn't do, is that when I open a new spreadsheet ("new" not necessarily meaning a new blank sheet, just meaning an extra spreadsheet that I now want to work on) it is opened in a new window whereas older versions of Office used to re-use the currently opened Excel window. Anyway, that's all good except...

If for instance I have a spreadsheet that I was working on a few minutes ago minimised and I then double-click on a shortcut to another spreadsheet on my Desktop to open up something else that I want to work on or even just quickly look at it not only opens up a new Excel window to display the spreadsheet that I just double-clicked on (which is what I want) but it also restores the window for the other spreadsheet that I might have had minimised so I not only get a Window on my desktop with the spreadsheet that I now want to look at but I also get one of my other open but minimised spreadsheets restored so I end up with two Excel windows on screen and have to re-minimise the one that just made its unwelcome appearance on my desktop to remove clutter. Interestingly, if I have 2 spreadsheets minimised and open a third I don't get the windows for both of the minimised ones restored, only one of them, but that one is still annoying.

Does anyone know how to stop this behaviour? Do later versions of MS Office still do this? I object to paying annual subscription fees but I do use Excel a lot and really like it so I wouldn't begrudge Microsoft the £90 or so that Amazon is quoting for a one-off purchase of Office 2019 Home & Student Edition (https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Microsoft-St ... B07FYRSS4Q) but only if it would solve my problem.

- Julian


Does this help?

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mso ... bf72e91d8b

RC

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190059

Postby Stompa » December 30th, 2018, 11:13 am

There are some registry tweaks mentioned here:

https://word.uservoice.com/forums/30492 ... er_page=20

I've no idea if they work though.

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190070

Postby elkay » December 30th, 2018, 11:42 am

When I encounter issues like this, it makes me wonder if Microsoft employees and executives actually use Microsoft products. Maybe they are still using Quattro or Lotus 123!

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190075

Postby melonfool » December 30th, 2018, 12:02 pm

I've not read the responses but I find the behaviour you have explained to be intensely irritating

To resolve it right click on the Excel icon and open a whole new version for your second spreadsheet. I've no idea if MS intended this to be the expected method or anything but it does work fine.

Mel

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190076

Postby melonfool » December 30th, 2018, 12:04 pm

Oh, btw, I paid £10 for a copy of full MS Office on eBay, came with a code and instructions.

I also object to paying subscriptions (for anything).

Mel

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190077

Postby chas49 » December 30th, 2018, 12:13 pm

melonfool wrote:Oh, btw, I paid £10 for a copy of full MS Office on eBay, came with a code and instructions.

I also object to paying subscriptions (for anything).

Mel


Which version? And is it 'legal'?

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190091

Postby melonfool » December 30th, 2018, 2:14 pm

2010 and eBay don't sell illegal software, as far as I can tell it's legal, it installed just fine on my new W10 laptop, I don't get those warnings you used to get with dodgy software.

Mel

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190099

Postby johnhemming » December 30th, 2018, 3:06 pm

elkay wrote:When I encounter issues like this, it makes me wonder if Microsoft employees and executives actually use Microsoft products.

This is the eating your own dog food issue (which was invented by Microsoft)
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/ea ... ogfood.asp

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#190109

Postby ReformedCharacter » December 30th, 2018, 5:15 pm

I've just tested this on my copy of Excel using the link I posted earlier.

I made desktop shortcuts to 2 Excel workbooks, opened one and minimised it. I then opened the second workbook and - as Julian described - the first sheet un-minimised itself.

Using the switch mentioned in the link, I then edited the desktop shortcut properties like this:

from C:\myfolder\myworkbook.xlsx
to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\EXCEL.EXE" /x C:\myfolder\myworkbook.xlsx

The /x switch forces Excel to start in a new Excel instance and consequently the original Excel instance is unaffected, ie. remains minimised.

RC

Julian
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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#191434

Postby Julian » January 6th, 2019, 9:53 am

Thanks all. Sorry for the slow reply, I've been away for a few days over New Year's Eve.

I used RC's trick of editing the shortcut to launch Excel with the "/X" option and all is good. My Excel.exe is in "Program Files" rather than "Program Files(x86)". I believe that means that I have the 64 bit version installed vs 32 bit. It also changed the icon for my shortcut to a different Excel icon but that was easily fixed by choosing the previous icon from the properties pane for the shortcut which allows the icon to be explicitly selected.

That link to the registry hacks is interesting, not least to see someone from the Word product team replying in 2017...

Thanks for your feedback! This is an area we are currently investigating and will consider this feedback as we make a decision.

The clearly expressed frustration about the behaviour from various users is good to see. Then again it's a member of the Word team responding and Microsoft has been so messed up in this area that in a previous version of Office (I forget which) Word and Excel actually behaved fundamentally differently with Word using SDI and Excel using MDI! Such inconsistency within a single product suite was really sloppy in my view and if they do ever fix this un-minimise thing I hope it isn't just in Word and does also get fixed in Excel.

I used to implement registry hacks to the open methods to get around the MDI nature of earlier Excel versions and, as the poster on that linked thread points out, one issue is that they get overwritten by Office updates so need to be re-done on a reasonably regular basis. For that reason I'm going to stick to editing the shortcuts on my desktop to give me at least some isolation between spreadsheets since it is the ones on my desktop that I use 95% of the time.

One thing that occurred to me is whether a more global fix could be implemented via file type associations. Does one have to nominate a .exe to open a file type or can it be a batch file? If a file type can be tied to a batch file one could presumably create something like "new-instance-excel.bat" that simply invoked Excel with the filename it was passed and the "/x" option set and then assign the various excel extensions to be opened with that batch file. Even if it has to be a .exe then it would presumably be a pretty simple program to write in something or other (Java, C++ etc) to create a .exe.

- Julian

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Re: Annoying Microsoft Office behaviour - any solution?

#191446

Postby Itsallaguess » January 6th, 2019, 11:06 am

Julian wrote:
One thing that occurred to me is whether a more global fix could be implemented via file type associations.

Does one have to nominate a .exe to open a file type or can it be a batch file?

If a file type can be tied to a batch file one could presumably create something like "new-instance-excel.bat" that simply invoked Excel with the filename it was passed and the "/x" option set and then assign the various excel extensions to be opened with that batch file.

Even if it has to be a .exe then it would presumably be a pretty simple program to write in something or other (Java, C++ etc) to create a .exe.


The ideal situation would be where you can right-click an Excel file, and select the 'Open With..' option, where one of the presented options will open via Excel as normal, and another option will open the file via a batch file specifically written as you describe above, which will then open the file in a specific 'Excel instance' of its own.

There are some instructions here that describe what you need to do to enable you to do this yourself -

Open each file in a separate instance of Excel -

3. Opening workbooks using batch file (.bat)

You can also right click on one of your workbooks and choose Open with… Then uncheck 'Always use the selected program to open this kind of file' and hit Browse… Now navigate to the directory where you keep your .bat file, select it, hit Open and then OK.

Now you can right click on the workbook and .bat option should appear on Open with… list. If you’ve done this for .xls file but you want to have the Open with .bat option for other workbook types you have to repeat the above for .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlsb, .csv, etc. files.

If you want your workbooks to be always opened through .bat file then proceed as described above but do not uncheck Always use the selected program to open this kind of file option. Now every time you double click on your workbook it will be opened in a separate instance of Excel.


https://ratexcel.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/open-each-file-in-a-separate-instance-of-excel/

There are also a number of other solutions to this issue described on the above page.

I particular like the idea of creating a batch file and just leaving it on your desktop, and then when you require a specific instance of a workbook to be opened in Excel, you can drag the .xls file (or whichever equivalent you happen to be using at the time) and drop it onto the batch file, which then runs that batch file against that particular file. The instructions on how to do this are under the same Section No.3 on the above site.

Cheers,

Itsallaguess


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