Is It 2016 Already? (Office 2016 Released)

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Alan Kirk
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Is It 2016 Already? (Office 2016 Released)

Post by Alan Kirk » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:39 am

This is going to General since although it's predominantly about TM1 compatibility, it's broader than that.

As some of you know I have kept every version of Office on my notebook from 97 to 2010. Even the much loathed 2007 is on there. This is essentially a hangover from my old days on what were then the Excel Usenet newsgroups, when I would have to answer questions and sometimes test answers across multiple different versions. Of course, I think I may need to dump that practice since Office 97 won't run on my 64 bit notebook (because of a missing DLL). Though I just went on a nostalgia bender and revisited 2000 and XP, and even re-met Rocky, my office assistant after Power Pup was spiked in Office 2000. Ah, simpler times... (Granted XP looks awful with the column letters not sitting correctly, but aside from that... in fact it even loaded the CAFE add-in correctly, though I didn't try to use it.)

Anyway, I thought I'd better get 2013 on there quickly for test purposes since I had heard that 2016 was being released.

Too late; when I ran my Office 365 install it brought down 2016. Which, I suspect, would have overwritten 2013 anyway. You get no choice in the version that comes down. You get no choice in where it is installed. You do get a choice of 32 or 64 bit but if you have an Office 365 subscription you need to go into your Office account and change that selection before you do the download. MS recommended 32 bit for me predominantly because of the compatibility issues with 64 bit; in fact I'll only be loading the latter in a VM to update TM1 Tools. (No, I haven't forgotten, I just haven't had time.)

So how does it look?

Promising, so far. On the superficial side the menus no longer YELL AT YOU IN ALL CAPS the way they did in Office 2013. I have no idea who thought that was a good idea to begin with. The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) seems to be a bit chunkier than in 2010 (and, from what I saw of it, 2013); slightly higher with larger icons. The icons are now almost wire frames rather than being real icons; they're devoid of any colour unless colour is an integral part of the function, such as with the Fill Color command. That contains a narrow band indicating the currently selected colour if you add it to the QAT.

The ribbons seem more or less the same as 2010/2013 except for a new help feature at the far right of the tabs; "Tell me what you want to do..." This is the latest attempt to get Rocky and Power Pup right, albeit without a cute animated figure. OK, not so cute if you remember Clippy. When you type something in there it will try to find a matching help topic. It hasn't done too badly so far though when I replied to its question with "Win Powerball" the best it could offer was a Win/Loss Sparkline topic. It did offer the additional options of "Get Help on 'Win Powerball' " which takes you to the main help file (and unsurprisingly had nothing to offer) and "Smart Lookup on 'Win Powerball' " which is essentially a Bing search, though it asks you to agree to it first.

It certainly beats the idea that some genius had about burying the Help command on the File / backstage menu in 2010.

Unfortunately another piece of 2007-legacy idiocy - not having an always accessible option to change and arrange windows - has not been rectified. The Switch Windows command is therefore always the first one to go onto my QAT. (No, showing worksheets on the taskbar is NOT an adequate replacement, especially when you have a lot of them open along with non-Excel windows like Server Explorer, Cube Viewer or the VBA IDE, all of which appear in the same stack.) The Excel icon in the far top left (which contained Restore / Minimise / Close etc options) is gone, replaced by a disk icon for Save. (Visible only if there is an active file.) Speaking of which the 2007 irritation of changing the function of the close button in the top right remains; it still closes the document, not the application. Unless it's the last document loaded, in which case yeah, it takes out the application which as often as not you don't want. Using Close on the File menu or [Ctrl]+[F4] remains the workaround to keep Excel open with no workbooks.

Finally there's a new item on the QAT by default; the touch / mouse mode. Essentially if you toggle it from mouse mode to touch mode it spreads out the menus and icons a little bit to give your fat fingers a chance to hit the right one. (No, not your fingers, of course, dear reader. Other people's fat fingers, I mean.)

There seems to be a little animation that plays when you click on a different cell. Rather than just re-rendering with the selection on the new cell it looks like the cell cursor "slides" across the screen. (Very quickly; it's barely perceptible but definitely there.) I suppose it makes a cue for the eye but essential or even truly useful? I doubt it. But I doubt it slows things down appreciably unless you're still running an 80386, so it does no harm.

Autorecovery seems a bit wonky in Excel; it continues to insist that it has found some documents! Saved them from going over a cliff! Yet they were documents that had either saved correctly in the previous session or I had told Excel that I didn't care about. On one occasion it popped open the autorecovery panel to tell me with delight that it had saved no file at all for me to recover.

Slices, snapshots and active forms all seem to work as expected. (OK, ActiveForms won't work properly for Wim but that's only because they really, really don't like him or his football team.) The only eccentricity that I've noted to date is that the question of whether focus goes to the new sheet, or whether it stays with Server Explorer or perhaps another workbook that's open in Excel all seems to be a tad random. But the features all seem fine.

OK, you know that as soon as I typed that I created an Active Form into an Excel session with no other workbooks, and got an error message telling me that I had an error 1004 "Method 'Calculation of object 'Application' failed" followed by one of my personal favourites 91 Object Variable or With Block not set". This leads to ye olde problem of having all of the descriptive text disappear from the TM1 ribbon tab and, best of all, the active form is completely cactused. The Rebuild menu items are greyed out (once you get them back by faffing around with other workbooks while on other tabs for a while), and double clicking on a consolidated row does not work. Creating new active forms then generates random errors like Invalid Command ones.

It looks like the old, old problem where an unhandled VBA error de-initialises all add-ins and causes the TM1 add-in to lose all of the references that it needs. Once I reopened Excel again, though, and created an active form while there was another document loaded, everything worked fine.

My conclusions? Either:
(a) There is a bug in the add-in when it comes to creating an active form into Excel 2016 if there are no other documents (including blank, unsaved documents) open; or
(b) The Active Forms are sending me a message to never again discuss their Anti-Wim vendetta.

I can't connect this thing to CAFE at the moment so I'll have to test that out later.

I know many people don't use these (more's the pity) but the way that personally customised templates are handled in both Excel and Word has changed. In older versions any custom Excel templates would need to be installed in %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Templates. Now they're in a folder named Custom Office Templates under your Documents folder. I always love it when programs feel free to barge into my Documents folder and stake out a bit of space for themselves. Nothing like an extra bit of clutter to scruff up the place that I theoretically use to store my own documents. I haven't checked out whether there have been any changes to the default workbook / worksheet, but shall. A link to personal templates only appears after you've saved one. Before then all you get are hundreds and thousands of ("Featured!") Microsoft-supplied templates, each one more garish and less flexible than the last.

OneNote seems improved over the immediately preceding version. I share a couple of notebooks between several work and home machines via OneDrive and it worked well with OneNote 2010.Then on one machine I got a notification that there was an update to OneNote available (presumably to 2013) and made the mistake of installing it. "Nuuuh-uuuhhh!", it slobbered, "ya can't share loike that no more!". So I knocked it on the head, went back to 2010 and looked for the "Go To Hell" button whenever the "update" notification came in. So as you can imagine there was a sharp intake of breath when I saw that you were given no option about which applications to install, meaning that both OneNote and Outlook (both of which can have only one version at a time on) were getting updated whether I wanted it or not. Outlook I don't care about; it's a geriatric trainwreck anyway and is just as screwed as GMail and Google Calendar are, just differently. I don't think Microsoft realises just how much of an Achilles heel that thing is. Mind you, in 2016 I get... the weather in a bar at the top of the calendar! The weather for Washington DC, which is where my avatar works, I don't. Ah, but I can change it, and get Sydney's weather! In degrees Fahrenheit, a system that we and most of the world haven't used for 40 years this year. (It can be changed in Outlook Options => Calendar.) Oh, and look; all of my category colour codings have vanished from my calendar, thanks for that guys. Oh, and this is good! A whole raft of birthday reminders are spread over 2 days because they start at 01:00 and finish at 01:00 the following day. I smell the dead hand of daylight savings time here.

OneNote I was dreading. And yet... it loaded up the shared notebooks easily and seamlessly. The only issue that I encountered was that the other machines reported corrupted caches after the upgrade (probably to do with a change to the formatting) and required the whole notebooks to be re-synched. The other thing is that an embedded workbook couldn't be opened without me confirming that I trusted the author. Which was of course me. Do I trust me? I dunno, I can be pretty sneaky sometimes... yeah, whatever, go for it. :roll: And I see that there are still no insertable fields like time and date. (As opposed to insertable time stamps.) It's very little different to OneNote 2010, which, while it could be much better, is good enough.

That's about it for the moment... as any more cheery news comes my way I'll pass it on.
"To them, equipment failure is terrifying. To me, it’s 'Tuesday.' "
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Wim Gielis
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Re: Is It 2016 Already? (Office 2016 Released)

Post by Wim Gielis » Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:51 pm

Alan Kirk wrote:Slices, snapshots and active forms all seem to work as expected. (OK, ActiveForms won't work properly for Wim but that's only because they really, really don't like him or his football team.)
What a pity they still won't work for me :-(
I almost thought that MS not renewing my Excel MVP title was the worst news this week, but yes, things can still get worse.

Thank you for your findings so far.
Best regards,

Wim Gielis

Excel Most Valuable Professional, 2011-2014 ==> 103 TM1 articles and a lot of custom code
Newest blog article: TM1 message log analysis with Power Query

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Re: Is It 2016 Already? (Office 2016 Released)

Post by silw » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:54 am

The last CAFE 64bit doesn't work with MS Office 2016 64bit. It says, that this version of MS Office is unsupported :cry:

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