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At 03:59 01/01/2015 +0000, Conly Honly Donly wrote:
At last, I knew how my colleagues strongly believed and what they wanted to achieve. They wanted a date format which works across all known free, paid, old and new versions of spreadsheet program, e.g. LibreOffice Calc. They decided to use YYYY.MM.DD. and MM.DD., e.g. 2015.01.01. ---> three dots. 1st January, 2015. and 01.01. ---> two dots. 1st January.
This format is standardized internally for communication. The good things are:
(1) The date is stored as "text" or "string" on the computer. It is not a "number" to the computer any more. Adding or subtracting dates is disabled. It is good for just displaying the dates, which my colleagues wanted.

Spreadsheets generally used for calculation, so preventing it would usually be considered a drawback, not an advantage. You could put text values into word processor tables instead. But chacun à son goût.

There is virtually a very large range of dates can be processed, e.g. AD 1000.01.01. to AD 9999.12.31. and BC 1000.01.01. to BC 9999.12.31.

Hold on: "BC 1000.01.01. to BC 9999.12.31." makes no sense, as your start date is after your end date! Do you mean BC 9999.12.31. to BC 1000.01.01.? But that starts at the end if the first year and finishes at the beginning of the end year, losing all but one day each of those two years. So perhaps you mean BC 9999.01.01. to BC 1000.12.31.? That's better, but it still leaves you with what would be a roughly twenty-thousand year range - but with a strange central gap of 1998 years, from 999 BC (BCE) to AD 999 (CE) inclusive. I can't imagine you mean that.

This YYYY.MM.DD. format is a beautiful workaround ...

Spreadsheets have always been able to handle text. I suspect most spreadsheet users would not see selecting text as a data type to be a workaround, beautiful or otherwise.

I can think of two limitations.

People make mistakes. One obvious limitation is that non-existent dates can be entered as easily as real ones. Entering "2015.02.29." as text creates something looking as much like a date as does "2015.02.28.", whereas entering these (supposed) dates normally shows one as a right-aligned date and the other as left-aligned text. Only Erich Kästner and perhaps the Tiananmen Square protestors are allowed the 35th of May.

But I say again: chacun à son goût.

Brian Barker

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