turn off automatic date conversion
Opening scientific data in excel for review or analysis purposes is a nightmare in Excel. Some values, gene names and other text automatically transforms into dates and then the data is corrupted. Changing cell format in this case corrupts the data even further and there's no way to return to the original value/text, since the data corrupts when opening the file. This is the worst functionality in Excel and I don't know anyone who benefits from the automatic transformation of dates. Please the date transformation optional setting for those who might need it!
i agree 100% with Terence Martin's comments. Excel often guesses wrong so i have to program around the bad guesses when i use the MATCH or VLOOKUP functions. This slows down my calculations and bloats the spreadsheet. My biggest headache is matching up cells, some of which may have been converted automatically to numeric!
Terence Martin commented
I'd make this request more general: Allow us to turn off ALL automatic formatting. Everything. Don't change my number format, don't change column width, color, size, nothing. Excel almost always guesses wrong, and then I have to waste time undoing several items rather than just setting the format I want.
Don D commented
Please let the user decide what format to assign to a cell, instead assuming *anything* that looks even close to a date needs to be formatted as a date. You have gotten yourselves into more trouble by trying to assume what the user wants, rather than giving the user the ability to make their own choice or specify the preferences they want.
David Hawkins commented
Has to be the most irritating function in excel - If I start swearing at the computer its almost always when excel has mangled my data by trying to be helpful and converting things like 7611-01-01 in to a data when its a document reference number. Once its "helped" there is no way back
hmm. while not convenient, I got around this (for my needs) by using Powershel with Epplus.dll. Epplus works on excel file format directly, leaves formatting control to the developer instead of the "helpful" defaults Excel applies (that can't be overridden easily if at all). Avoids kludges like template spreadsheets (not talking about .xslt files), and is amenable to running on a server to boot.