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Please avoid the term "formatting". No, the locale setting does not format
anything. This option specifies the assumed language to be used for the
*interpretation of text strings*.

For instance, a "German(Germany)" locale for this particular text import
tells the program that ...
123.456 needs to be interpreted as  integer number 123456 because the point
is used as thousands separator.
123,456 needs to be interpreted as a decimal fraction because the comma is
used as decimal separator.
12.10.2012 needs to be interpreted as date because this is a common way we
write dates in Germany.
Same with 12. Oktober 12 ("Oktober" with k) and dozends of other date
strings which have to be interpreted correctly as one particular day number.
Incoming text "WAHR" and "FALSCH" evaluate to boolean TRUE and FALSE.

The incoming string of characters includes some numeric values as they had
been formatted by some unknown other software, but for Calc it is a string
of characters coming from some file. Since Calc is a calculator program it
tries to evaluate the character snippets as numbers. Since there are rather
fuzzy cultural differences in interpreting characters as numeric values, we
have to tell the software the cultural context to be used for the evaluation
of character strings.

When you choose this import locale to import any data that are supposed to
be German the application opens a blank new default spreadsheet and fills
the cells with the respective values. 
If your blank new default spreadsheet happens to be English:
Input 123.456 yields integer 123456
Input 123,456 yields fraction 123.456
Input 12.10.2012 or any other German date expression for that particular day
yields 10/12/12 if your new spreadsheet happens to be US English and
12/10/12 in case of most other flavours of English (1212-10-12 in Canadian)
Formatting is the way how these values are displayed in your sheet cells.
Formatting is completely unimportant. Getting the right numbers into the
cells (or text if it's not a number at all) is the one and only thing that
matters in a calcuation program. How these values are displayed (formatted)
is completely unimportant. You can change the formatting of correct values
with a few clicks withtout changing a single value. But it is impossinle to
get anything right when the imported/pasted/entered values are wrong.

German 123.456 is the exact same value as English 123,456 or plain 123456. 
German "31. Dezember 12" is the exact same value as US "December 12 2012" or
41274. Yes, that day is just another format of number 41274. Enter the date
in A1, the number in A2 and compare =A1=A2 which will yield TRUE (or the
exact same value WAHR in German which is the number 1 actually). All dates
are numbers and all numbers can be shown as date (unless they are text).

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