I recently noticed that a complicated spreadsheet that had previously functioned correctly was giving
wrong answers without warning. After the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth, I traced the problem to a
cell containing "=C4-SUM(G11:G1016)”. Further experimentation produced the following simple
version of the problem:
(1) Let A1=1, A2=2, and A3=sum(A1:A2); A3 computes here as 3.
(2) Insert cell A1 shift right.
(3) Observe: A3 now computes as 2. This is obvious in this case but far from obvious in a
complicated spreadsheet, where the connection between A1 and A3 is obscure. In such cases, For an
insert that would cause an error in a reference like A1:A2, I believe that Calc should issue a
warning something like, “WARNING: Insert may change the answer computed in A3. Do you want to
proceed?” I further think there should be no default and the user should be forced to select either
“Yes” or “No”.
This was observed in LO 220.127.116.11, LO 4..5.0.0.alpha0 2015-02-05 00:36:56, and MS Excell 2003 sp3.
Should this be filed as a bug report or a feature request? If yes, which, and what message should
Wikipedia says, "A software bug is an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or
system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways.” I
think this fits that definition. However, it may qualify as a feature request, because the fix is less
than obvious (and it has been around for so long).
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