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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 →

465 comments

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  • 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.

  • Jason commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is probably the most inconvenient thing possible when it comes to stuff like this. How was this looked over...?

  • zak's not so evil twin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    i personally don't like it when Excel AUTOMATICALLY does anything. i would prefer that, if the situation arose for such an option, it would pop up and ASK me what i would like to do.
    doing things that may not be helpful is...not helpful.
    especially for those of us who actually KNOW what they are doing, and what they WANT to do.

  • Haigha and Hatta commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The anonymous comment where we can set the number of digits for a number to be converted to scientific notation would be best, and should be set as default. This is very essential when exporting files from web/desktop applications generating spreadsheets/Excel. Also, the permanent rounding up of numbers replacing other digits to 0 can really affect this kind of scenarios negatively. Maybe we can configure that as well.

  • Ben Clothier commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Dear Microsoft, please fix this issue post haste so I can stop getting notifications from everyone and their dogs about how to work around this and actually subscribe to more useful feedback. Thank you.

  • zak's not so evil twin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonymous1: if you prepend numbers with an apostrophe ('), it will treat it as text, and not show the apostrophe in Excel.
    of course, this is a massive pain in the neck to deal with if you must export the data again...

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I am going to stop using excel and break my companies security policy just because of this. It's so frustratingly annoying that I literally do not care if I get fired because of this. I have to copy paste a LOT of numbers (most of which are actually text values) to excel and having 4 extra steps just to get the correct value is absolutely ********. It's also commonly droping off preceeding 0's, so then I go spend more wasted time to rationalize those.

  • Doug commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I seriously doubt Microsoft will change this. This has been an issue that I have had since I started using Excel 20 years ago. There is no good way of converting the Excel mess up so it will match up with data outside of Excel, unless you do the editing outside of Excel.

    Aside from Excel converting to scientific notation it will also remove leading zeros, which will make things not match up when doing database joins on data sets that use a certain number of characters for a record ID.

    Nonetheless, every few years I search for the answer to change, but it never does.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    At the very least, I wish Excel would treat them as strings when you wrap the data in double quotes.

  • zak's not so evil twin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    handy trick, but it doesn't change the fact that Excel alters CSVs when you open them.
    and to reiterate what has already been said, NO program should alter data without consulting the user.
    i am very sick of software that tries to outsmart me. especially when i already know what i'm doing (in most cases at least). if they want to change things, they should at the very least consult me FIRST, or at best, give me an option in preferences to decide how i want it to treat such data.

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