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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Stop Excel from changing large "numbers" (actually text values) to scientific notation.

Prevent Excel from changing large "numbers" (actually text values) to scientific notation.

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Caleb shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →


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  • Pat Babcock commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonyzak spake thusly: "i'm sure there are some statistician/scientists who DO use Scientific Notation"

    <hand raised>

    Excel is the "Engineer's word processor". Statistically, there are huge numbers of engineers using Excel, and we are pretty much all adherents to Scientific Notation by nature of the data we play with. HOWEVER, I'm also one of the early respondents to this thread: Excel should not convert numbers on import - especially since, in converting to SciNot, they drop significant digits. The number import (and entry) behavior should be user-selectable, both globally and in the import dialog... And as one of those respondents back ... What? Four years ago, now? ... I am equally frustrated that this seems to have been going absolutely nowhere at a very high rate of speed. It's almost as if UserVoice is for input to politicians...

  • anonyzak commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonymous: i'm sure there are some statistician/scientists who DO use Scientific Notation, however, statistically speaking, think of the number of them compared to the rest of the world.
    it is probably right on par with the @ProfessorMickelson estimate.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I wonder - if Excel did away with scientific notation completely, how many people would notice?

    I suspect that Excel has this "feature" to convert large strings to scientific notation, that hardly anyone at all would want to use.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Ccis Bmkh yes we know. You can also put a single quote ' in front of the digits to make Excel treat it as text format. The issue is that we should not have to do anything in Excel to stop the scientific notation since it is far less often that scientific notation is wanted.
    Anonymous @ProfessorMickelson estimate is probably correct. :)

  • Leigh McDonald commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    An excellent question. This "feature" is a major problem for a huge portion of your user base (speaking as a publisher, I can tell you that dealing with metadata in Excel is required by the industry and 13 digit ISBNs are a total nightmare because of this one issue.)

    I'm having a hard time imagining why ANYONE would want a field that claims "The cell is displayed exactly as entered" to *actually* convert numbers to a completely different and very specific format that is useless for most applications?

  • ProfessorMickelson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    So this suggestion was reported Oct 2015 with an admin response Nov 2015 and admin surveys and notes Jan and Jul 2018. This issue has been in the forums and on other sites as early as 2005. I have had multiple Office365 updates and April 2019 still have this annoyance.
    Is there a timeline to adding a simple Excel Advanced Option for 'Scientific Notation Handling'? Waiting to just flip that switch to 'OFF'.
    I am curious though as to how many Excel users actually prefer to have their long number strings converted to scientific notation?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is a big problem dealing with merchandise codes UPCA - 12 digit and UPCE 13 digit and CODE 128 - I wish I could rip scientific notation out as an option in excel.

  • Chickooo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with another coments. Please let us define what we want from excel, don´t do this "automaticaly" please.

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


    Actually, for that problem, the TEXT option is precisely what you DO need.

    Base changing functions for anything "past" Decimal require your input to be text. So being imported with that option set for the column will accomplish exactly what you need.

    Suggestion's point is still very, very desirable.

  • anonyzak commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    you can do that with CSV as well. the point is, we shouldn't HAVE to...

  • Greg B commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Change the file extension from .csv to .txt. Then open the file FROM Excel. Be sure to set file type as text or you will not see it. Specify delimited > next > comma as delimiter > next > select your number column and specify it as text > Finish

  • Nurgul commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Really, stop this scientific notation changes. With 22-digit JCNs in California Workers' Comp data bases we are having hard time in extracting and distributing the data for analysis. with this scientific notation, we are never sure if any groupings are ok. After achieving some results we can't go back and extract additional data to continue analysis.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As per 'not zak''s comment re: not doing things automatically. there is also a similar request opened about not automatically converting numbers to dates.

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