Friday, 11 June 2010

Google Desktop Breaks Excel

This is unbelievable, but if you use Excel and Google Desktop, it almost certainly applies to you.

When you install Google Desktop it also installs some Office addins - in particular, it installs something called "Google Desktop Office Addin".

It turns out this is EVIL.

For a long while now I have had this ultra annoying problem with Excel - after a save, it breaks the Undo Redo - but not in a manageable way (eg just not work) - it sort of half works. It basically remembers the last two things to Undo, but it does NOT remember how to Redo the last one - so it can Undo twice, but only Redo once.

When I work on a spreadsheet I save very regularly, and then go look at something on the sheet, and I do a quick Undo Redo to both see what I last changed, and to get back to the tab I was working on, to continue editing.

However this was no longer working, because I would do Undo Redo after a save and IT DIDNT DO THE REDO. So the result was that I was losing changes, until I realised it was broken.

The other problem was speed. I have quite a large spreadsheet I use daily, and it was taking forever to do things like select sets of lines - in particular if I wanted to for example clear a load of lines, I would be shift-selecting and paging up to select them - with each successive extension to the selection it got slower, so after about 5 pages it was taking 3+ seconds per extra page.

This performance problem also affected large inserts of lines and other things involving lots of lines.

I happened to notice that my wifes computer didn't have this same problem (even on the same sheet) so I investigated. They were nearly identical, but I spotted that I had the Google Addin.

I disabled the Addin (Excel Options / Add-Ins, go to the bottom and choose Manage Com Add-Ins, and uncheck the Google one.

Magically it fixed my Excel problems. I have enabled and disabled it a few times to check, and it really was this poxy addin. I then did some searching and a few other people have also had problems with the Addin - but it isn't generally known.

This Addin will come whenever you install Google Desktop, so beware.

I have uninstalled Google Desktop, as if they can screw up Office so badly, maybe its responsible for some of my other problems that I have been blaming on Windows...

Note that this problem with the Addin was first reported back in 2007, so after 3 years, Google have still not fixed it - unbelievable - or Google quietly trying to disrupt Microsoft for their own competetive advantage - or is that too cynical and its really just a typical case of developer incompetence...

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