Allow us to turn off automatic conversion to date
Search for "make excel stop converting numbers to dates" and you will see the user demand for this feature. Please for the love of all that is holy let this be at least an advanced user setting.
Thanks for the suggestion Jessica. We’ve got a few other suggestions on the site that are similar with scientific notation, etc. We’ll take a look at this area, and pay special attention to any cases that get a lot of votes. So please keep the votes coming to help us do a good job at prioritizing asks like this!
John [MS XL]
A much simpler but similar submission is this one:
Maybe you should count those votes towards this one as well!
Delaney Waldron commented
Losing data when pasting makes me use google sheets. I don't know what to do so I switch products instead. Data is important in my job.
I second this request. This is also true when working with times that have more precision than Excel likes to display. It pretty much disappears from the system. Say I'm working with microsecond precision, and I enter a time to that level. The resultant displayed, then fed through subsequent calculations is truncated to whatever the Excel developer chose it to be. (probably something like an F64, but based in days, not seconds)
When people in computational biology paste a list of gene names sometimes genes like "SPET8" are in the list. The original value is lost, and now the column has corrupt data. (Why did you kill the original value?) Since the column of gene names usually goes off screen and is often in alphabetical order nobody notices this until something breaks in a bizarre way in another person's hands. Scientific papers have had corrupt data for this reason many times, and everyone advises each other to avoid excel for this reason. It might even make a difference for a clinical diagnosis. This is actually serious. Here's the first google result: http://manuelcorpas.com/2011/11/05/beware-of-gene-names-in-excel/
Alternatively, if a column of text is pasted which has an overwhelming majority of what can only be text values, and an underwhelming minority that could be dates OR text, then prefer text. The probability that I wanted to delete my text and replace it with garbage is 0. Nobody ever wants that to happen, and I'm sure there are many other examples of this biting people in the ass for all sorts of excel users.
Noticed you guys were doing an AMA. Figured this would be the perfect time to bring it up!
Clark Jones commented
Signed up just for this. May be a useful heuristic to some, but when working with large amounts of sensitive data, Excel's eagerness to manipulate the source data without telling the user is a huge problem.
Clark Jones commented
Easily overlooked and majorly annoying issue with CSV files, too. I've even seen scientific papers with the occasional range (d-d) or ratio (d/d) converted to a pseudo-date.
Theis is related to the leading zeroes one, but it is at least as bothersome that it tries to format as an excel data anything that looks like a date -- including values that are not dates. And the date formatting means you can't use Excel to open a CSV with dates, edit it, and re-save it without completely changing the way dates are formatted.
Probably should be contingent upon the column type, adjacent cells type, or some user-controlled Excel/workbook option setting.
Sanjib Pradhan commented
If i am copying a string of group type 1- 2, 3-4 etc, sometimes excel converts this as 2nd January or 1st February. This should not happen.