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Notes/Excel bug could cause miscalculations

Lotus Development Corp. is investigating a reported bug that may remove decimal points from numbers in a Microsoft Corp. Excel spreadsheet displayed in the Lotus Notes 4.x viewer.

The bug, which was reported on the BugNet Alert Web site this past weekend, can occur when a Notes 4.x user attempts to view an Excel spreadsheet that includes a custom number format.

Within the Notes viewer, users may experience inflated numbers, since the bug eliminates all decimal points from custom-formatted numbers, effectively multiplying the value of each decimal number by 100, according to BugNet Alert.

Boston-based Inso Corp., maker of the Notes viewing technology, has produced a fix, which Lotus is currently evaluating.

A spokesman for Lotus said the Inso fix is in-house, but the company plans to wait until the latest version of Inso's viewers have arrived to test them and implement a complete fix.

"We are working rapidly to make sure we have a patch solution that meets our general standards across the board," said Paul Davis, a spokesman for the Cambridge, Mass., company.

Affected versions of the spreadsheet include Excel 5, Excel 6, Excel 95 and Excel 97, according to BugNet.

Inso officials were unavailable for comment.