Excel 2007 is math-challenged

Excel 2007 is math-challenged

Summary: Microsoft is working to fix a bug in Excel 2007 and Excel Services 2007 that involves calculations numbers around 65,535. Microsoft is blaming the bug on the function in it that takes the value and formats it to be displayed on the screen, not on Excel's calculation engine itself.

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Microsoft is working to fix a bug in Excel 2007 and Excel Services 2007 that involves calculations numbers around 65,535.Excel 2007 is math-challenged

Excel is calculating the values correctly, according to Microsoft, but the function in it that takes the value and formats it to be displayed on the screen is faulty.

The bug was introduced when Microsoft made changes to the Excel calculation logic in the Office 2007 time frame, according to officials.

As Excel Group Program Manager David Gainer explains, the Excel bug affects a very particular set of results in 12 cases:

"There are 6 floating point numbers (using binary representation) between 65534.99999999995 and 65535, and 6 between 65535.99999999995 and 65536 that cause this problem.  You can’t actually enter these numbers into Excel directly (since Excel will round to 15 digits on entry), but any calculation returning one of those results will display this issue if the results of the calculation are displayed in a cell. All other calculation results are not affected."

No ETA on when Microsoft will issue a fix for the problem. Stay tuned.

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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13 comments
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  • -1 for repost

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=812
    jhhicks@...
  • +1 for not being a hardware issue

    even if it was previously reported by Adrian.

    This is the first that I have seen about it.

    Thanks Mary Jo!
    jacarter3
  • Is their "printf()" also

    brain-damaged?

    I find it hard to understand how, after decades of converting FP numbers to strings (there are numerous of ways in C/C++) that now these particular values do not convert correctly ??

    I also cannot understand why it takes so long to correct something so fundamental?

    -dT
    Dr-T
  • OOXML

    Microsoft is already working on the OOXML extension to support this:

    <ComputeLikeExcel2007>
    77.1*850
    </ComputeLikeExcel2007>

    Let's hope they get it accepted by ISO...
    jinko
  • It's true! It's true!

    I remember a movie, [i]Office Space[/i], about some guys skimming off the dropped numbers in the rounding of currency calculations at their employer, depositing those miniscule amounts into a separate account, and discovering the amount grew amazingly large.

    NOW you all know why people are so addicted to MS Office: The profits their businesses show are bogus because they're using Excel!
    OButterball
    • its called Counting Zeros

      its where -1, 0, -0 are counted as 3 values. just truncate
      and carry .


      Counting Zeros is the worlds oldest computer crime, they should
      set up a red light district, oh wait, has give;n it all away - this is how ms bill your account.
      not of this world
    • That's so ridiculous in this case

      That only works if it works for every number. This is a bug that only shows up with a very specific limit point. Think man! Don't just spew rantings.
      DevGuy_z
      • Note to DevGuy_z:

        Back off of your High Horse Shilling for MS for just a bit and you'll be able to detect when someone is just MAKING A FRAKING JOKE. <guffaw> :D
        OButterball
  • Isn't this about the 3rd time ....

    Isn't this about the 3rd time Excel has had "arithmetic" problems
    over the years?
    kd5auq
  • RE: Excel 2007 is math-challenged

    Ya know... If you're doing the type of calculations where this is an issue. Maybe you should consider using a different tool?
    rawright@...
  • OpenOffice doesn't have this problem

    HAhahaha
    Danometer
  • RE: Excel 2007 is math-challenged

    Excel 2003 appears to have the same problem around 65535
    abb@...
  • RE: Excel 2007 is math-challenged

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