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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 →

    414 comments

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      • Volker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Google shows 826,000 search results when looking for a fix... means THE ENTIRE WORLD want's Microsoft to finally except that users don't want MS to change their numbers in spreadsheets to something a shiny MS programmer thought it would be the holy grail... NOBODY needs or wants scientific notation when for example TXT files or CVS files are imported. Many thousand people use Excel to prepare inventory lists for online stores, Amazon, eBay etc. And they all are upset with MS to have long item numbers or transaction numbers converted to exponent functions. I hope this will be an update SOOOOON, because I suffer it every day, when I open my sales statistics.

      • the lurker formerly known as zak commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        that's a great workaround, but might be kind of tricky in countries where acute letters take more work to type. and it really SHOULD be unnecessary. i'm just sick of software trying to "outsmart" me. i'm smart enough to know when i want my data set a certain way, i will just set it that way myself...

      • Brian Gale commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have a chess games text file I convert to excel. It changes moves with an "e" to scientific notation.
        For example 1.e3. Had a brainwave! Changed all the e's to é (ie to e acute).
        It leaves them alone now! Yay!!!

      • Brian Gale commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        About time! How long will it take?
        I had this problem more than 5 years ago!
        Also excel converted student unit codes like OCT1101 to dates!
        In chess moves like1.e3 get converted to scientific notation.
        I don't like excel messing up my data!!!!!!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        this is a real pain when you have to do lots of imports that have 15 numbers, add lots of extra work to some things that should just work.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Whatever your fix is, please make it the default state for non-power users. I've got all kinds of workarounds for this problem because I've been dealing with it for over a decade(!), but most people don't encounter it regularly like I do -- if the fix doesn't solve the problem for *them*, then they'll continue send me broken files.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I just received a file with a list of phone numbers in it. They've been converted to scientific notation and lost precision, which makes this file completely unusable. Instead of a phone number, I have 4.42E+11 -- actual value: 442000000000. No longer a phone number, and completely useless.

        The tiny percentage of people who need scientific notation can right-click and format as scientific notation. Their specialized needs shouldn't be prioritized over the needs of the rest of the planet.

        I can't possibly count all the problems I've dealt with throughout my career as a result of Excel converting things to scientific notation (and dates -- but that one at least serves some purpose).

        Fix it. Fix it. Fix it. Fix it. Fix it.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Why is this taking so long to fix??

        It seems clear that there are almost no users who prefer defaulting to scientific notation, so it should simply be a feature that can be enabled if desired.

        Otherwise it should be turned off. I shudder to think how many productive work hours have been lost by all the people having to fix scientific-notation-related import errors... what a waste.

      • Lee commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        My dream come true, I sure hope this is not a joke! The wrestling I have to do on a DAILY basis because of 'E' and missing zeroes!

        I would point out that there is no reason to use scientific notation at all except as a format option. In my near 30 years of business experience, using excel since it was initially launched, delivering lots of solutions in analytics/reports, I have never once seen scientific notation used.

      • Bruce commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is great news. So many people now use Excel as an import format in addition to as an analysis tool. This is an extremely painful issue for ETL processes. Things like part numbers, geocodes, serial numbers... all are almost always botched in the source files.

      • Patrick O'Beirne commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        So what will you do? Retain the entry as text? Display it as a number with 15 digit precision with a decimal and zeroes ? I would like this as an option, maybe a worksheet option, or a text import option for all fields ie not having to specify every one as text.

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