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posted by martyb on Monday November 26 2018, @02:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the putting-it-all-together dept.

If you've ever tried to use the CONCATENATE function in Microsoft Excel to merge the values in a range of cells, you know it doesn't work unless you add each cell to the function, one by one.

You might have noticed the following message in the support article for CONCATENATE:

Important: In Excel 2016, Excel Mobile, and Excel Online, this function has been replaced with the CONCAT function. Although the CONCATENATE function is still available for backward compatibility, you should consider using CONCAT from now on. This is because CONCATENATE may not be available in future versions of Excel.

Meet the alternatives: CONCAT and TEXTJOIN

for CONCAT and TEXTJOIN:

Note: This feature is not available in Excel 2016 unless you have an Office 365 subscription. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office.

While it is admirable that Microsoft is finally fixing some of the idiosyncrasies of its software, I fear the future will bring a level of fragmentation unseen since the office 2003 to 2007 switch.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday November 26 2018, @03:01PM (9 children)

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday November 26 2018, @03:01PM (#766450) Journal

    This is just the next nail in the coffin of "old fashioned" software that didn't require a subscription.

    I'm WAY more worried about people sending me spreadsheets with CONCAT and TEXTJOIN functions that a perfectly functional copy of Office 2003 can't open, let alone 2007/10 or 2016 unsubscribed (if there is such a thing). Well, I would be, if I weren't required to have an Office 365 subscription that is provided at no additional cost to me.

    And there's no way I couldn't be convinced that MS could not have relatively easily created a patch for Excel 2016 for this. This is just the next step in rent seeking.

    And Microsoft WILL get away with it. Because those who are in a position to stop such idiotic behavior won't do so - not just Microsoft but Enterprise customers who feel they don't have an alternative. And no, for such people they do not see free software as a viable alternative. Just getting used to ";" instead of "," is enough for them. The place paying for my Office 365 subscription is one of them. I still keep my copy of OpenOffice and keep it current and try to use it once in awhile, because I have no illusions that when my gravy train ends I'm not rewarding Microsoft for the predatory behavior that is SAAS. But yes, Microsoft will make this stick, and somewhere down the road when these functions get good traction in enough spreadsheets (which Microsoft will know because it will telemeter the usage of the function) they'll remove the CONCATENATE function from Office 365 and the planned obsolescence cycle will be complete.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @03:09PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @03:09PM (#766452)

    "I still keep my copy of OpenOffice and keep it current and try to use it once in awhile, "

    you should probably move to libreoffice...use your internet machine to understand why.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @04:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @04:26PM (#766477)

      I agree, move to LibreOffice. LibreOffice is developing at faster pace. I also believe that many of the LibreOffice developers actually came from OpenOffice.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by zocalo on Monday November 26 2018, @04:21PM (5 children)

    by zocalo (302) on Monday November 26 2018, @04:21PM (#766476)
    Oh, yeah, they're definitely copying the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC playbook here. Next up they'll be adding absolutely essential features that any right-thinking person would expect to just work out of the box to the subscription only feature list, but won't realise they are missing until after they install the software. It's an excellent strategy at first, but long term...? Well, my employer has about 30k employees all told, and every single one of them no longer has Acrobat installed on their work PCs, including those who used to have Acrobat Pro, having been migrated across to a much more capable open source package that now let's everyone create and edit PDFs if/when they need to, and now that Corporate IT has started down the F/OSS road there are a steadily growing number of other F/OSS packages available through our software portal and supplanting paid-for tools.

    Keep it up, Microsoft, and would you like to buy some more rope? It's fully open source, including the instructions for tying it into a noose.
    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @04:28PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @04:28PM (#766478)

      What are they using to edit PDFs?

      • (Score: 2) by zocalo on Monday November 26 2018, @04:58PM (2 children)

        by zocalo (302) on Monday November 26 2018, @04:58PM (#766491)
        PDFedit [pdfedit.cz] is the default PDF editor that is pre-installed on our Windows builds, but there are some other options available for those that need features it doesn't support yet or just don't like the interface, including PDFSam (also F/OSS) and a couple of other freeware/commercial options as well including CutePDF and FoxIt (which also provides the default PDF reader). Personally I switched to CutePDF as I was already familiar with it from a previous employer.
        --
        UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @06:32PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @06:32PM (#766533)

          Thanks. I'm always on the lookout to add good open source programs to my list of alternatives.

        • (Score: 2) by NewNic on Monday November 26 2018, @06:40PM

          by NewNic (6420) on Monday November 26 2018, @06:40PM (#766539) Journal

          PDFedit [pdfedit.cz] is the default PDF editor that is pre-installed on our Windows builds,

          Does it work with the FBAR PDF document? [treas.gov]

          Before you say, just use the online tool ... the online tool is a one-shot affair. You can't start creating it, save it, then come back after a while. Instead, you have to sit down with all your data and complete it all in one session.

          --
          lib·er·tar·i·an·ism ˌlibərˈterēənizəm/ noun: Magical thinking that useful idiots mistake for serious political theory
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @04:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26 2018, @04:54PM (#766487)

      Like the other AC said...

      Why did you take the time to go on a rant about Acrobat and then tout some magical open source product only to leave the name of it out? I call bullshit!

  • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Monday November 26 2018, @05:39PM

    by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Monday November 26 2018, @05:39PM (#766511)

    You've been able to buy Office 2016 as a stand alone product for quite some time. I was not aware of it being substantially different in most respects - there are a few differences like not including cloud storage (required for some features such as autosave). The article implies this feature will only be available with a subscription, and specifically mentions updates but only for subscribers.