Reply to post: Re: Wrong tool for the job

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Fluffy Cactus

Re: Wrong tool for the job

Well, but if you are a dedicated scientist, then you won't throw up your hands, but try and find ways

to work around the problem.

For example, if you are faced with a column of text data, where some of it has been changed into dates,

then you can fairly easily copy that column into a new spreadsheet, change the format of that column

to 'Text', and then use the 'Search and replace' function to undo the damage. You could even write

a little macro, or a formula to do something like that. Yes, Excel is wrong and dumb, as they do not let the user decide up front what data format an imported data can have.

Way back when, I once wrote a macro in Lotus 123, that replaced all the missing zeros in a system

that required "left-filled zeros", and formatted the field as text. No good reason why, but can you argue with tax authorities?

With Lotus 123, I could actually do that. With Excel, not so much, because their macro language is not intuitive, not in the least. In fact, I consider it so utterly un-intuitive that it stinks.

Nonetheless, a scientist ought to be resourceful, and if they are not, they are not good scientists.

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