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Excel for Mac cannot simultaneously edit files with the same basename

29 Sep 2020 in Blog

Yes, you read that right: you can’t open (e.g.) Documents/budget.xlsx and Work/budget.xlsx at the same time.

What the f@#$?

Yeah, that was my reaction, too. At first, it doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s the best explanation I have, as an educated programmer: the basenames (that would be the budget.xlsx part—I haven’t tested differing extensions yet) are probably stored in a duplicate-disallowing structure. Normally, we’d call that a set. I suspect they’re probably actually keys in a map of filenames to in-memory buffers of contents or data or some-such. The keys of a map must be a set, so that would also track.

Fix it!

I wish I could. Stupid closed-source bloatware… I mean, sure, it’s a nice tool for spreadsheets.

Ironically, the fix is probably easy: use absolute paths as the entries in whatever this set is. I cannot fathom a single reason not to do so.

This might not solve the problem if two documents have the same absolute path on two different file-systems (e.g., my hard drive and a network-mounted file-share or some other storage medium), but we could either

Again, what the f@#$.


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