Microsoft reportedly fixes the Excel feature wrecking scientific data. A new setting in Excel now gives users the control over the automatic data conversion feature that reportedly forced scientists to rework symbols that represent human genes.
Microsoft Fixes Excel Feature
Scientists back in 2020, decided just to rework the alphanumeric symbols that they used to represent genes rather than just trying to deal with an Excel feature that was reportedly interpreting their names as dates and very much (un)helpfully automatically reformatting them. And just yesterday, a member of the Excel team posted that the firm is at the moment rolling out an update on Windows as well as macOS in a bid to fix that.
The Automatic Conversions of Excel
The automatic conversions of Excel are intended to make it very much easy and faster to input certain types of commonly entered data such as numbers and dates, for example. But for scientists making use of quick shorthand to make things quick and legible, it could as well ruin published, peer-reviewed data, as a study back in 2016 found.
Microsoft’s Blog Post Detailing the Update
Microsoft however detailed the said update in a blog post this very week, thus adding a checkbox labeled “Convert continuous letters and numbers to a date.” You can now probably guess what that toggles. The update in question builds on the Automatic Data Conversions settings that the company reportedly added in the previous year, which is inclusive of the option for Excel to warn you when it is about to get extra helpful and allow you to load your file without automatic conversion so it is that you can make sure that nothing will be screwed up by it.
How Excel Gets To Avoid the Conversion
The blog of Microsoft also adds caveats, such as that Excel gets to avoid the conversion simply by saving the data as text, which in turn means that the data may just not work for calculations later. There is also a known problem where you just cannot disable the conversions when you are running macros.
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