Why Excel 2007 sucks

Maybe the Excel is not that bad. Maybe even that ribbon is OK (when you get used to it). But the sheer ignorance of “old” users is striking. I saw a nice presentation about Ribbon, about the amount of features in Office programs, about how unmanageable it became, etc. That doesn’t change anything for me.

I’m no new user of Excel – but then I’m not power user either (not of Excel that is). That means I have to Google (seriously!) how to do stuff with their new Ribbon interface. Often repeatedly after a month or two I don’t use it. I wasn’t able find Options, for instance. I had the gut feeling it is somewhere “on that big bubble in the top corner”. And it was there. But I wasn’t able to see it on the bottom of that menu – I simply didn’t expect it there. Google for the help.

Another crazy thing is Excel’s window management. This is the reason why this article is about Excel and not about Word. Word somehow managed to stay under the radar, Ribbon or not. Because Window’s Alt-tab simply works with Word. But not with Excel.

If you open two documents with Excel, how many windows do you expect? Two? Or a single one where you have to use some Window menu or Ctrl-Tab? Be prepared for three icons in Alt-Tab – for a single window actually! And after some Alt-Tabbing, be prepared that one of those icons is placed further in the list for non-obvious reasons (but it’s the icon for the document you’re alt-tabbing from, not the other one – luckily).

Do you have dual-head and want to see each document on different screen? Forget it. Actually, go and Google some ways how to do it. So far I tried one that semi-worked (in Options, Advanced, Ignore other DDE applications) – but it produced some warning dialogs and you had to open documents from Excel window. Clicking the document in Explorer opened Excel, but not the document in it. I’ll try something else, some other time.

It still bothers me who came with software that behaves so differently from Word (the same Office!) and why? I always liked and respected Excel (not like Word – though I should give him a chance again, it seems to be able to produce even nice documents finally), but this is just such a fail that I felt like blogging about it.

I often repeat to myself: “And just so little would make the difference.” And also: “God, indeed, is in the details.” But then: “So is devil.”


About virgo47
Java Developer by profession in the first place. Gamer and amateur musician. And father too. Naive believer in brighter future. Step by step.

3 Responses to Why Excel 2007 sucks

  1. Mike says:

    I agree that Excel has its flaws, but not those You have mentioned. Dont moan about a computer program, just because you dont know how it works. That includes Word, which is great program, as far as you dont try to use it like Excel.

    • virgo47 says:

      I’m used to work with many new programs and often Google how to do this and that in them. In Excel (that I was quite used to previously) it was just too often – especially related to the Options. However, my biggest gripe is its multi-document management that is different from Word. I don’t know the reason for it and I don’t know anyone from around (and a lot of people do crazy stuff with Excel here) who understands this alt-tab Excel chaos. Excel (by Microsoft) behaves like no other program (MS or not) while alt-tabbing in Windows 7 (also by Microsoft). Excel 2007 acts so non-windowish. That tells something.

      Excel itself is of course good. 🙂 My title was just a little blog-exaggeration. Pardon me for that and thank you for the comment.

  2. James says:

    “Dont moan about a computer program, just because you dont know how it works.”
    I will certainly moan about a computer program that doesn’t work the way it used to. Backwards-compitability used to be a goal of MS programmers. Now it seems that ass-backwards is the goal. I decided that since I was going to have to re-learn EXCEL, I would be better off learning OpenOffice Calc (which does work very much the way Excel did for 15 years).

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