Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jun 2018 00:10 UTC
Microsoft

Office today has a whole bunch of versions - the traditional, fully featured Win32 desktop applications and their near counterparts on the Mac, along with various simpler versions for the Web, mobile, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Presently, these various incarnations all have similarities in their interfaces, but they're far from consistent.

That's set to change. Microsoft is overhauling the interfaces of all the Office versions to bring a much more consistent look and feel across the various platforms that the applications support. This new interface will have three central elements.

I use Office every day, and I just want one thing from Microsoft: the ability to open multiple instances of the UWP Office applications. The UWP version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are faster, smoother, and easier to use than their slow, cumbersome Win32 counterparts. I'm convinced the only reason Microsoft artificially limits the UWP versions to one instance per app is so they won't tread on the hallowed, sacred Win32 ground.

It's high time Microsoft removes this purely artificial limitation.

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malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

I just want one thing from Microsoft: the ability to open multiple instances of the UWP Office applications... I'm convinced the only reason Microsoft artificially limits the UWP versions to one instance per app is so they won't tread on the hallowed, sacred Win32 ground.


I don't think that's it. Remember, UWP came from tablets/phones, where "start app" and "switch to running app" are the same operation. Those devices had no concept of multiple instances of an application. It has since evolved so that an application can have multiple concurrent windows, but the application needs to be written to make it happen. In Win32, applications would need to go out of their way to prevent it happening, since the user can start as many instances of an app as they want.

There was a time when Windows 10 could only run one calculator - see https://www.onmsft.com/news/windows-10-preview-build-10130-allows-yo... .

I'm not saying that the evolution shouldn't continue and support multiple concurrent windows to Office applications, just that it's far more likely to be a historical artifact than malicious.

Reply Score: 5

sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

Remember, UWP came from tablets/phones, where "start app" and "switch to running app" are the same operation. Those devices had no concept of multiple instances of an application. It has since evolved so that an application can have multiple concurrent windows, but the application needs to be written to make it happen. --

There was a time when Windows 10 could only run one calculator.

That was over three years ago. Meanwhile Office for Metro has made no effort to get to that point. I don't think it can be that hard, unless there was a political decision made that Office for Metro has to suck on the desktop.

Reply Score: 0

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Office is adopting UWP's Fluent UI.

"Fluent Design System inside of Microsoft: Office : Build 2018"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKvkRfQD8Yg

Reply Score: 3

Or tabs?
by Vistaus on Thu 14th Jun 2018 09:25 UTC
Vistaus
Member since:
2018-03-21

Or they could allow tabs in the UWP versions. Some other office software, like WPS Office for example, has tabs support so if you want to open multiple documents, you just open them in tabs inside the window. That'd be a good alternative to multiple instances for the UWP versions of Office.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Or tabs?
by daedalus on Thu 14th Jun 2018 12:50 UTC in reply to "Or tabs?"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

It depends on the reasoning behind the multiple instances desire. In my use case, for example, tabs are no good because I want to be able to open separate documents, or groups of documents, at the same time on different monitors.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Or tabs?
by laffer1 on Thu 14th Jun 2018 12:52 UTC in reply to "Or tabs?"
laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

Or bring back the multi document interface (MDI) from the 80s/90s. It's extremely useful to be able to compare two excel documents at the same time. Tabs wouldn't allow that to happen.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Or tabs?
by ThomasFuhringer on Fri 15th Jun 2018 06:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Or tabs?"
ThomasFuhringer Member since:
2007-01-25

Not only for spreadsheets is it invaluable. So many applications where you tend to compare two or more documents and do a lot of copy and paste between them are bogged down when you can not see the instances next to eachother. Even for a web browser it would be helpful at times, e.g. when you read an article and can put a map or a dictionary right next to it.
And the age old argument that it is cumbersome for most users does not hold water because you can always make it configurable to switch back to a tabbed view.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Or tabs?
by daveak on Fri 15th Jun 2018 11:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Or tabs?"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

I already have a multi document interface, it is called separate windows that play nicely with multiple monitors and behave like the rest of the windows in my system. MDI was, and still is in Excel, horrible to use. Given Windows is now copying macOS in allowing creating tabs from multiple windows of the same application (yes other systems probably did this earlier) then we have both tabs and separate windows available now. Hopefully no one will make the mistake of going backwards to MDI.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Or tabs?
by jgfenix on Fri 15th Jun 2018 19:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Or tabs?"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

You can have various Excel spreadsheets opened but you can't look at more than one at the same time. It's a pain in the ass.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Or tabs?
by FlyingJester on Thu 14th Jun 2018 17:22 UTC in reply to "Or tabs?"
FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

Just "adding tabs" to an application that was previously singular is not simple, and I suspect for something the size of Office it would be catastrophically difficult.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Or tabs?
by Vistaus on Thu 14th Jun 2018 17:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Or tabs?"
Vistaus Member since:
2018-03-21

I never said it was "simple", I just posted it as an alternative idea.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Or tabs?
by moondevil on Fri 15th Jun 2018 06:30 UTC in reply to "Or tabs?"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

It is called Sets and are coming in the upcoming W10 version.

"Developing for Sets on Windows 10 : Build 2018"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZXFkaxVwfI

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Or tabs?
by Vistaus on Fri 15th Jun 2018 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Or tabs?"
Vistaus Member since:
2018-03-21

No, sets is an OS feature and works with multiple windows. I was talking about tabs INSIDE the Office window itself.

Reply Score: 3

features, dammit
by chrish on Thu 14th Jun 2018 14:15 UTC
chrish
Member since:
2005-07-14

I'd be fine with this if the "new" versions implemented all (or even most) of the features of the existing Win32 versions.

Take OneNote for example; the Mac and UWP versions are missing a ton of features and have a UI that practically forces you to run full-screen if you need to switch between notebooks and pages frequently. It's pretty much the same as the mobile version.

Outlook on Mac (which is presumably using the UWP code base; can't tell as I haven't seen UWP Outlook yet) can't even subscribe to an iCal calendar. The mobile version isn't even an Exchange client, it's just a rebranded IMAP/SMTP app (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it would be nice to be able to access Exchange shared mailboxes from it).

Moving to a dumbed-down touch interface for everything is one thing, but also dropping tons of features? Do not want.

- chrish

Reply Score: 4

RE: features, dammit
by chrish on Thu 14th Jun 2018 14:16 UTC in reply to "features, dammit"
chrish Member since:
2005-07-14

This is sort of a pet peeve because I really like Win32 OneNote, and I have to access an Exchange server for work. ;-)

Reply Score: 3

RE: features, dammit
by The1stImmortal on Fri 15th Jun 2018 01:53 UTC in reply to "features, dammit"
The1stImmortal Member since:
2005-10-20

I'd be fine with this if the "new" versions implemented all (or even most) of the features of the existing Win32 versions.

The reason they dont is a lot of those features have been around so long the original implementers were long gone before the newer versions were even thought of. Win32 Office still has large chunks of code that date back a very long time.

Take OneNote for example; the Mac and UWP versions are missing a ton of features and have a UI that practically forces you to run full-screen if you need to switch between notebooks and pages frequently. It's pretty much the same as the mobile version.

Until relatively recently, OneNote was an app looking for a niche. It was only with OneDrive stuff it really came into its own. The various implementations are going to reflect that search for a purpose.

Outlook on Mac (which is presumably using the UWP code base; can't tell as I haven't seen UWP Outlook yet) can't even subscribe to an iCal calendar. The mobile version isn't even an Exchange client, it's just a rebranded IMAP/SMTP app (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it would be nice to be able to access Exchange shared mailboxes from it).


There is no UWP Outlook (at least not a native one - the win32 version comes in a windows store wrapper).

There's Windows Mail, which is mostly native UWP but I've seen the odd reference to msimn floating around in the guts of it which indicates there's at least some parts borrowed from the old Outlook Express codebase, but is mostly based on the old Windows Phone 7 mail client from what I can tell.

Outlook for Mac is basically the old Entourage app internally but with a rewritten GUI

Outlook for IOS and Android is an acquired product that has its own, independent development history

Outlook for Web is an evolution of Exchange OWA (which goes way back to Exchange 5.0

Getting all those disparate codebases to look and act the same way is going to be incredibly difficult.

Moving to a dumbed-down touch interface for everything is one thing, but also dropping tons of features? Do not want.

Unfortunately "remove features" is the modern trend. I suspect it's really about saving money. Blame Apple, they made it popular! ;)

Reply Score: 4

Ctrl-F
by tkeith on Fri 15th Jun 2018 16:25 UTC
tkeith
Member since:
2010-09-01

Let me know when I can use Control-F for find in outlook. So infuriating. And normal copy paste in excel would be nice.(instead of copy-forget)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ctrl-F
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat 16th Jun 2018 18:10 UTC in reply to "Ctrl-F"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

pretty sure copy/forget is a feature that lends itself to financial analysis activities because it limits the ability to accidentally leave the wrong data on the clipboard.

Maybe a good medium would be to offer a configuration that lets you turn on normal copy/paste.

Reply Score: 2

Question
by ebasconp on Fri 15th Jun 2018 17:00 UTC
ebasconp
Member since:
2006-05-09

Does someone know the architecture behind these changes?

What stuff is still using Win32?

Which languages are being used to implement the UI and the backend? Is still C++ king in all versions (or almost all, because web version is other daemon) of Office?

Edited 2018-06-15 17:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2