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At 02:16 14/12/2015 +0900, Thomas Blasejewicz wrote:
Setting the language under "Format cells" -> "numbers" to German now switches SOME (but not all) numbers like "50,000" to "50.000" (Some) Numbers appearing on the screen as "50000" do not change at all. The latter one being the German localization. I am still fighting with the problem, that this works in some cells, but not all (probably because of the format of the entered data?). It would be helpful to find a way change the thousand separator for "," to "." and the decimal separator the other way around, because there are quite literally thousands of items that need to be changed that way ...

Values that *appear* as the examples above may be stored as numbers or as text. It is worth considering carefully what your data should be. Many data items that look like numbers are in fact text strings that happen to consist only of digits. Telephone numbers and numeric postcodes are examples. The last four digits of my telephone number are 4852. No-one would pronounce that "four thousand, eight hundred and fifty-two". Someone else will have the same number but ending 2426. Does his telephone ring half as loud or half as often as mine? Of course not. Telephone numbers and postcodes can also start with a zero, which in these cases is significant, unlike leading zeroes in numbers. My telephone area code is 020: that's not "twenty". If your bank PIN was set (unwisely) to 0123, you could not get money out of an ATM using "123" or "00123". Nor do you get more money by having a "larger" PIN. James Bond was not Agent Seven (despite what UK telephone directories believe).

It is possible - probably very easy - to enter similar data as a mixture of different types. If your "decimal separator" is set one way but you enter numeric data containing the alternative, it will be interpreted as text - or perhaps even as a date. Data prepared in a different locale may not be as it appears. There are two simple ways to guide you to see the nature of your data:

o Set the horizontal alignment to Default. You can click whichever alignment button is selected in the Formatting toolbar to cancel it, or go to Format | Cells... | Alignment | Text alignment | Horizontal. Numbers will be right-aligned and text left-aligned.

o Go to View | Value Highlighting. Numbers are shown in blue and text in black.

Choose carefully what your data should be. Convert any in the wrong form. There are many ways to do this; the TEXT() and VALUE() functions may help. Paste results back over your data. Now control the appearance of your data by formatting it (Format | Cells...). Ensure you have made appropriate choices at Tools | Options... | Language Settings | Languages - in particular "locale setting" and "Decimal separator key".

I trust this helps.

Brian Barker

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