Abbreviation for Single Document Interface, SDI means that each workbook opens in its own window and has its own interface. This provides a lot of useful functionalities.

Conveniences of dual screen with SDI

When you work with a two monitors in a dual screen setup, showing two workbooks in the same Excel instance was not easy to do. Now with SDI, you can have a workbook each on the left and right hand screen.

Move/Copy a worksheet

With the SDI, moving a worksheet from one workbook to another is very easy; it’s like moving a file from a folder to another one.

Position your two workbooks side by side and drag and drop a worksheet from the first workbook to the other one.

Here you see that the worksheet has been moved to the other workbook :)

If you want to copy your worksheet, press the Ctrl key while you drag and drop.

Move/Copy a column, a cell

With SDI you can also move or copy a column, a row or just a cell from one workbook to another just with drag and drop.

Here is the result:

Watch the video to see a demo of this new architecture.


1 ping

    • Peter on 05/12/2014 at 02:25
    • Reply

    Actually MDI/SDi interface is completely independent of number of excel instances.
    User friendly design would give user an option to keep document windows standalone or combine them into shared windows (ideally freely dragging – ideal example here is Eclipse).
    There should also be a startup switch to allow opening documents in either shared excel instance or as a new independent one.
    Forcing one model on the users today is very middle-age like and clearly a step back.

    • Belinda on 16/09/2014 at 13:32
    • Reply

    I agree with Nathan I HATE SDI. There I said it. We have an integration tool that now either loads in ALL Excel instances or none, but previously with separate workspaces it could be loaded in one and then open a second window where the spreadsheet is not affected by this.

    The tool requires all fields to be calculated to work – imagine how many times you are required to right click calculate with it running as logged in….

    Now I can’t run separately this is enough to make me actually put 2010 back on.

    I can’t understand why the user is forced to run this way and doesn’t have a choice. It is not an improvement.

    If a work around ever becomes available I would be very interested. I have tried running “Excel/x” to create a new instance but no joy.

    • Nathan on 31/03/2014 at 16:19
    • Reply

    This is actually one of the most annoying aspects of 2013! One could always open up a new instance of Excel if desired with basic Windows functionality (right-click the application in the taskbar).

    * However, as a result of SDI, Microsoft removed the very practical and useful Workspace feature.
    * Additionally, when tiling multiple workbooks they each now have their own ribbon which takes up tremendously more valuable screen real estate for no added benefit.
    * Furthermore, as an instructor it makes it more difficult to demonstrate linking to other workbooks, as there is a lot of opening and closing files to show the link updating – and now doing so requires completely exiting the entire application rather than just closing the file within the application.

    Ultimately, it would be nice if Microsoft provided an option to allow the user to choose their preference, as Excel 2003 did (not sure why they ever took that out).

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