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Thanks to everybody who replied. I still don't understand all of the problem, but I have found a solution that works for me.

First in more detail what I'm doing and trying to do: In a Linux xterm, I get lines containing a special marker out of a file and onto the screen:

[herbert@wardlaw10 NEB-test]$ grep @
@  180.00 -.2781258475E+03
@ -175.00 -.2781257976E+03
@ -170.00 -.2781256549E+03
@ -165.00 -.2781254333E+03
@ -160.00 -.2781251459E+03

I copy and paste that into a spreadsheet, the way you do it in Linux: left mouse button, middle mouse button. Of course it's text. When pasting (or afterwards in "text to columns"), I choose "space" as an additional delimiter, and "merge delimiters". The spreadsheet splits the columns as expected, interprets the first number as a number and the second as text. I think it's the exponent that causes the problem, but this should be a valid number format.

I doesn't help is to change the number format of that column (as somebody proposed). What does help is the =value(...), BUT somehow (from the pasting, I guess) some columns behind the newly filled ones end up being "protected" (whatever that is) and refuse to evaluate a formula, which took some figuring out.

Anyway, after all this, I noticed a "detect special numbers" button in the paste menu, which seems to be the easiest solution for me.

Thanks again

Herbert Fruchtl
Senior Scientific Computing Officer
School of Chemistry, School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland:
No SC013532

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