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This question seems to have been discussed before, but none of the replies I understand work for 
me. Here it goes:

If I copy a column-based piece of text, containing numbers in some columns, into LibreOffie Calc 
and apply the (hopefully) correct text-to-column delimiters, all columns (including the numbers) 
are interpreted as text. On closer inspection I find that at the start of each number there is a 
single quote (invisible in Calc, but I can delete it with backspace, and then the number is 
recognized as such). Doing it manually cell by cell is the only way that works. "Paste special" as 
number or as text doesn't work. Search and replace doesn't work (or I do it wrong). I don't think 
it's the locale; else the aforementioned manual delete of the quote wouldn't work. Writing macros 
is beyond my abilities (I don't know the language and I don't know where and how to enter them. If 
something that straight-forward requires complex programming, the software is broken).

This is LibreOffice 3.4 on Linux Mint. The column-based text is just copied from an xterm with the 
mouse. I have used OpenOffice and derivatives for years, but this one stumps me.

Any ideas?

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