It is 2023 and Excel's reign of date terror might finally be at an end

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The days of Microsoft Excel's "helpful" wont of automatically converting values mightiness beryllium astatine an extremity arsenic nan Windows elephantine has yet admitted that, yes – not everything is simply a date.

As good arsenic spawning a thousand memes - aliases truthful it feels for illustration - Excel's wont of helpfully converting values into types that nan personification didn't intend has resulted successful immoderate hilarious and time-consuming consequences. Changing nan cistron naming rules to suit nan whims of nan spreadsheet springs effortlessly to mind.

Recognizing nan symptom caused by its productivity tool, Microsoft took immoderate tentative steps last year to let users to power amended what Excel would do erstwhile presented pinch thing that looked for illustration it mightiness beryllium a circumstantial information type.

After a twelvemonth of requests from users, Microsoft is making nan characteristic disposable for Excel for Windows and Mac, and tweaked things a small further to make nan action much accessible to find. It will besides – hold for it – let users to specifically move disconnected nan spreadsheet's impulse to move letters and numbers into a day erstwhile it really shouldn't.

Chirag Fifadra, merchandise head connected nan Excel team, was charged pinch dispensing nan bully news, which only applies from 2309 (build 16808.10000) of nan Windows type and 16.77 (build 23091003) of nan Mac type aliases later. There is nary retrofitting for nan clip being.

Fifadra said: "We wanted to reside customers' vexation pinch Excel automatically converting information to circumstantial formats." To that end, an Automatic Data Conversion conception has been added to nan Data page of nan Options dialog.

Previously, Microsoft listed nan options connected nan Advanced page – which immoderate mightiness reason is nan computing balanced of sticking nan settings successful nan bottommost of a locked filing furniture stuck successful a disused lavatory pinch a motion connected nan doorway saying "Beware of The Leopard" (with apologies to Douglas Adams).

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Using nan settings, users tin halt immoderate of Excel's astir egregious habits, including stripping starring zeroes from numerical matter and nan infamous believe of turning thing that looks a spot for illustration a day into an existent date. The personification will besides beryllium warned if imaginable conversions are spotted successful imported files (such arsenic .csv data) and allowed to unfastened nan record erstwhile without converting nan data.

While Excel will still kick astir imaginable numbers being stored arsenic matter - this tin beryllium ignored - and nan conversions cannot beryllium abnormal during macro execution, it is undoubtedly a measurement successful nan correct direction. Now, astir that full leap twelvemonth thing... ®