Microsoft Excel patch may lead to to calculation errors

Microsoft Excel patch may lead to to calculation errors

Summary: Microsoft plugged more than a few vulnerabilities in Excel last week, but the trade off may be calculation errors.Microsoft's Bill Sisk said in a post late Friday following the software giant's latest patch batch:I wanted to let you know that we have updated bulletin MS08-014 to provide additional information on a newly identified issue that causes Microsoft Excel 2003 calculations to return an incorrect result when a Real Time Data source is used.

SHARE:

Microsoft plugged more than a few vulnerabilities in Excel last week, but the trade off may be calculation errors.

Microsoft's Bill Sisk said in a post late Friday following the software giant's latest patch batch:

I wanted to let you know that we have updated bulletin MS08-014 to provide additional information on a newly identified issue that causes Microsoft Excel 2003 calculations to return an incorrect result when a Real Time Data source is used.  The issue affects a specific scenario and may not affect you. Please see the bulletin for additional details.

Microsoft's bulletin adds the following:

The problem causes Excel calculations to return an incorrect result when a Real Time Data source is used in a user-defined Visual Basic for Applications function. If you have applications that leverage Real Time Data sources in Visual Basic for Applications functions, we recommend that you perform additional testing before initiating a wide deployment of the update.

This KnowledgeBase article has more on the problem and workarounds. Also see Computerworld.

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

13 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Nothing new ....

    Ever since MS took over Excel, it has always had calculation problems.

    Every time I see some of my co-workers using Excel to make really important calculations, I get sick. I know that in the end of the day, their calculations are going to be WRONG and I will end up doing a lot of work to fix their screw up. The sad part is that most haven't learn the lesson and continue to use Excel as an engineering tool when it isn't.
    wackoae
    • A well known problem

      [i]"Ever since MS took over Excel, it has always had calculation problems."[/i]

      Indeed, but the users keep on buying it... :-(

      http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1162012
      bportlock
    • Oops, posted previously at wrong level.

      Would you mind providing an example of a calculation error in Excel? Thanks!
      Litehouse
    • Be specific

      A blanket statement suggesting that all calculations in Excel are wrong is quite disingenuous.

      I just checked and it in fact returns 2 + 2 = 4
      tikigawd
  • Completely Unacceptable

    Microsoft has to do something about their quality control. Too many products having data integrity issues. It doesn't matter how secure / good a product is if one cannot trust their data to the product.
    ye
    • Well...

      The fixes are probably in a priority queue somewhere, somewhen.
      zkiwi
    • if you know a software without bugs please tell us

      if you know a software without bugs please tell us
      qmlscycrajg
      • ?Hello, World.?

        But anything much more complex than that will almost certainly have bugs.
        Joel R
  • RE: Microsoft Excel patch may lead to to calculation errors

    Does it also cause syntactic errors in article titles? :)
    Litehouse
  • RE: Microsoft Excel patch may lead to to calculation errors

    Would you mind providing an example of a calculation problem in Excel (not having to do with the patch mentioned)? Thanks!
    Litehouse
    • This from the second message in this thread...

      http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1162012
      SpikeyMike
    • Clarification of faults

      The main areas of fault are in regression and distributions, both of which are standard statistical techniques.

      More details here

      http://www.practicalstats.com/xlsstats/excelstats.html

      Excel's faulty random number generation (badly implemented from a well-known algorithm) http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/paperpdf/McCullough.pdf

      Discussion of other less "statistical" faults here
      http://www.burns-stat.com/pages/Tutor/spreadsheet_addiction.html#excel

      Cheers!

      :-)
      bportlock
  • Nothing new here!

    Errors are a dime-a-dozen (or 2
    cents, even) for anything coming out
    of Redmond.

    Mosey on............
    Ole Man