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At 20:05 19/04/2014 +0200, Marco Fioretti wrote:
I have the problem below with LO on a Fedora box. I have a shell script that generates and save to a text file called synthesis.csv many lines like this:

|||2013-02-15|Payment A|-100.25|008|fae|
|||2013-03-15|Payment B|-50.25|008|fae|

Calc loads that file without problems, when tell it to use | as field separator. Lets assume the payments imports (-100.25 and -50.25) end up in cells F1 and F2. if I write in a third cell the formula =sum(F1:F2) I get zero, because F1 and F2 are seen as text.

Your problem is there, of course. I cannot reproduce this if I "load that file": in that case, the values are correctly interpreted as numbers. Are you perhaps instead pasting the material into an existing sheet? In that case, the existing cell format of the sheet comes into play. If column F is formatted as text, that's how your values will be interpreted.

OK, so I select those cells and do Format->Cells->Numbers->Number = -1234.12. But I still get zero, because the operation above adds to the content of \both F1 and F2 a single quote prefix:

F1 = '-100.25
F2 = '-50.25

which, right now, I have to remove manually to make the formula work.

It's important to realise that changing cell formatting changes only the way data is displayed: it doesn't change the data itself. So your values are still text. In order to make this clear, an apostrophe is helpfully prepended in the Input Line to values that look like numbers. When you remove those manually, you are asking Calc to reinterpret the values. Now that the cells are formatted as numbers, this will - as you need - create numbers from your text values.

What is happening, and how can I fix it?

If you cannot solve the problem at source, there is a simpler workaround:
o In an unused column, insert the formula =VALUE(F1) in row 1 and fill it down the column. o Copy the column and paste it back over the source column, but using Edit | Paste Special... (or right-click | Paste Special... or Ctrl+Shift+V) instead of ordinary Paste. In the Paste Special dialogue, remove the tick from "Paste all" and ensure that Numbers is ticked but Formulas *not* ticked.

Even better: how to make LO automatically format and use strings in the format -1234.12 as numbers when it opens the file?

You seem to be writing from a country where the normal fractional separator would be a comma, not a point. Is this a locale issue?

I trust this helps.

Brian Barker

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