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At 13:41 13/09/2013 +0200, Paul Steyn wrote:
Thanks, but as I stated in my original email, changing the cell formatting doesn't do anything. I've tried a number of different formats, including percent, currency, number and text, as well as clearing direct formatting.

I won't guarantee this, but I think the damage is done when you enter a formula into a cell already formatted as Text when you have opened the spreadsheet from a .csv file. What you type is then interpreted and stored as text. *Changing* the format afterwards will not help: you need not to have had the format as Text when you typed the entry.

That said, I did redo my experiment (for about the 10th time), but this time I put the formula in a new column to the right of the existing data, and it worked fine.

That would be because your new column is not formatted as Text. Alternatively, what do you mean by "put" the formula? If you copy the existing formula - already fossilised as text - you will get text again, of course. But if you retype the formula into a non-text-formatted cell, won't you then obtain the formula you require?

However, when I do as previously, and make a new column B, and put the formula in there, it still doesn't work.

Hmm: perhaps that depends on how you create any new column: does it inherit the (troublesome) formatting of the existing column? Or perhaps by "put" you again mean "paste" rather than "type"? (These have different effects.)

Actually, now that I experiment, it seems to work in any column I put the formula, existing or new, provided it isn't between the original first two columns.

Look at the formatting of any relevant cells before you enter any formula: is it Text? Change it *first*.

When I save it and then open it in a plain text editor, I see that in the column that worked, the result is saved, but in column B the formula value is saved. However, when I then open the file in LO again, now both columns show the result, although the originally working one is of course just a number.

When you reopen the .csv file, your text string is evidently reinterpreted - as if it had been typed, not pasted - so it is converted to the formula you want.

Note that the formatting of cells has (at least?!) two effects: how any stored value is displayed and how any entered (i.e. typed) input is interpreted. Reopening a proper (.ods) spreadsheet file preserved the save cell contents, of course. Opening a .csv file seems to reinterpret it as if the contents were retyped. You could override this - the opposite of what you want - by selecting Text as the column type in the Text Import dialogue.

I trust the helps.

Brian Barker

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