It makes me mad!

I don’t know about you, but I get really irritated by those little things that change between the different versions of the programs that I use.  The things that ought to be the same.  The things where there is no logical reason for them to be different.

You get into the habit of performing tasks in a particular way.  So, because you are in that habit, you are working efficiently and quickly. Then you are presented with a new version – and you get tripped up by the inconsistencies.

Closing a File

This illustration shows the top right-hand corner of Microsoft Excel in Office 2010:

Rant A

Notice that there are two Close buttons (the X signs).  The top one is used to Exit from the program.  It doesn’t matter how many Workbooks I have open, I know that if I click that button I can get out of Excel quickly – (of course saving any changes on the way).

The bottom one is used to close the Workbook that I’m currently working on.  Any others that I have open at the moment will still be there.  If I close all of them, I’m still left with the Excel program running.

Now look at this similar picture of Microsoft Excel in Office 2013:

Rant B

There is only one Close button – and it does different things depending on the circumstances.

If I have more that one Workbook open, it will close that one, and leave me in Excel to work on the others. However, if there is only one Workbook open, clicking that button will Exit from the program.

So that means I have to keep track of how many Workbooks are currently open to avoid being accidentally kicked out of the program – It makes me mad!

I’m victimising Microsoft Excel in this blog, but all the Office 2013 programs do it. To be fair, Microsoft Word has worked this way for years, so at least they have added some consistency.

What is my way around this? – When I want to close a file in any application I always use File / Close from the Ribbon.  That way I’m certain of what will happen next.

Exiting a Program

While we are talking about the File menu (Microsoft’s posh name for this is the Backstage View) let’s have a look at it in Microsoft Excel 2010…


… and in Microsoft Excel 2013:

Rant D

Notice any differences?  There are a few, but perhaps the heading for this section of my rant will help you to realise what I’m going to moan about.

Where has the Exit choice gone!  What possible justification can Microsoft have for taking it away?
That seemed like a good question to Google – Here’s the answer:

The feature is not widely used. There is confusion with other related features such as Close file and Exit the backstage. The red “X” in the upper-right corner of the window is mainly used to close the window.

Source: Microsoft TechNet

But, as we have already said, the Close button doesn’t always Exit the program – It makes me mad!

Being a bit of a keyboard short-cut nerd, I would use Ctrl+F4 to close a single Workbook – (leaving the others open) – and Alt+F4 to get me out of the program – (closing all open Workbooks). They have nobbled that as well ! – both these keystrokes now do exactly the same thing as each other.  Go on, try it.

So, out of the packet, there is no way in an Office 2013 program that you can [click a button / pick a menu choice / press a keyboard short-cut] and be certain that you will exit the program.

All you can do is add an Exit button to the Quick Access Toolbar – which is a horribly manual change, and would have to be done for ever Office 2013 program that you use – It makes me mad!

And Whilst I’m On

I was discussing these issues recently when hosting an Advanced Microsoft Excel course. Everyone in the room had some pet hates about the program.  I’m going to quickly share four of them with you.
[None of these are version specific, so I’m going to use pictures from Excel 2010 – still the most popular with our clients]

Statistical Functions

So many people want to use this category of Functions – why hide them away in a sub-menu on the Ribbon –  It made someone mad!

Database Functions



OK, not that many people use these regularly – (I’ve got a few nifty uses for a DSUM Function) – but surely they deserve to be in the Ribbon somewhere.
[Have a look – they aren’t there] – This one does make me mad!

Pivot Table Slicers


Not easy to explain this (especially if you’ve never seen a Pivot Table before), but Slicers are a very visual way of filtering the information shown.  Just click on the button for June (say) and the data for all the other months is hidden.

So what’s the issue? – Well, the Slicer for Month was the second one that I inserted.  Seconds earlier, I had put one in for the Employee.  Excel positions the second one absolutely slap bang on top of the first – and if you don’t know this you might waste ages trying to find out where the first one went (voice of experience there)  – It makes me mad!

No Spinner for Decimal Places

[The Excel 2013 Task Pane looks different to this dialog box, but the complaint is still the same]


I’m formatting the axis of a chart.  Currency is fine for the Category, but I would prefer zero for the Decimal places.  Good old Excel 2003 (remember that) let me click twice on a little “Spinner” to achieve that.  In 2007 / 2010 / 2013, I have to overtype the 2 with 0.  In what sense is that an improvement  – It makes me mad!

What about You?

You’ve spent a while reading about some things that annoy me – (believe me I could go on, but it’s nearly tea-time).  What is it that makes you mad about Microsoft Excel, or any of the other programs you use?

Let me know via