fixed : hashtags making text unreadable in Excel

Question :

Somebody sent me an Excel spreadsheet in which some of the data is unreadable since it has been replaced by text consisting of hashtag signs only…

I’ve seen this happening before, and the remedy used to be just to broaden the column, since all number that are too large to fit their cell width are automatically made unreadable…

However, in this case, if I broaden the column width, some of the hashtag text will turned into readable numbers, but other hashtag text will remain, no matter how wide I make the column…

What is wrong ?

And how can I fix this ?

 

Answer :

This seems to be a problem with Excel for Windows files that are opened in Excel for Mac (possibly more specifically with data copied or converted from another application into Excel on a Windows-PC). So PC-users will not be warned on forehand that their Excel output is not suited for use on Macs…

Fixing it turns out to be rather simple (but annoying) :

• open the file in Excel for Mac

• select the cells that are effected (or preferably even the entire column), then go to “Format” in the top menu bar

• from the dropdown-menu that appears, select “Cells…” and a window entitled “Format Cells” will open

• make sure the “Number”-tab is selected and make sure that you select “Number” or “General” from the list (make sure that it is something else than what was previously selected ; anything seems to be okay, as long as it is not “Accounting”)

• no return to your spreadsheet to check if the hashtag texts have disappeared (if not : try again)

That’s it !

Enjoy !

😉

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