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Somebody sent me an Excel spreadsheet in which some of the data is unreadable since it has been replaced by text consisting of hashtag signs only…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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fixed : change the Currency-format of only a few cells in Numbers (from iWork)

Question :

I’m using the Apple Numbers spreadsheet-app (from iWork) and I want to use multiple currencies in one spreadsheet (US dollars, GB pounds and Euros). I tried “Create / Change Custom Cell Format” from the “Format”-menu, but there the currency is set to default to my local currency (Euros) and I can’t change it…

This must be possible, right ?

But, how do I do it ?

Answer :

The trick is you should change the currency format of a (group of) cell(s) in the “Inspector”…

Here’s how to :

– in Numbers, select the cell or cells of which you want to change the currency

– then click on the “Inspector” (info-sign shaped button on the right of the upper bar of the spreadsheet-window)

– in the “Cells”-window that opens, choose the tab marked “42” (*)

– there, under “Cell Format” you should change the default “Automatic” to “Currency” and choose the one you want to use

That’s it !

😉

(*) this is probably a subtile reference to “The Hitchhikers Guid To The Galaxy (H2G2)”, where 42 turns out to be the answer to “the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything”

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