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First post was on Sat, 29 Apr 2017 17:56:37 -0400
"Big decimal numbers as text"
And:  Thank you for the replies last time. You helped get a bit further on.

'20170428153706454600(works ok)   `20170428153706454600(fails)
Using menu item, insert-special character
U+60 nope
U+27  nope with exception
U+B4  nope
U+2BC nope
U+384 nope
U+1FBD nope
U+1FBF nope
U+2018 nope
U+2019 nope
U+27 seems to be an 8 bit byte but really is 0027 requiring two bytes.

I get 27 (hex, 1 byte) using the lower case of the quote mark, ", on my keyboard.
That seems to work but it sometimes doesn't.

What has been reliable is when I perform a simple copy from a row that has worked in the past and paste a copy into the the cell where I want the new text string which happens to be all decimal digits.

I can then open the new cell displaying the old data and the magic prefix. Now I can very carefully select only the digits, 19(10) of them, and attempt to replace the old digits with the new.

The worksheet thinks it knows better and adds space characters where I don't want them. One is at the end of the line of digits and seems to be treated as a carriage return when the cell is closed to editing. If I use the mouse to cut everything after the digits even though I can't see the characters I can get what I want when I save. That's why the cell seems to push the digits into what looks like the cell above. It's just trying to add a new line to the top of the cell which doesn't have any vertical space available.

Sometimes the paste from a GEDIT window acquires yet another space at the beginning of the line of digits. It does not show in the test file but, if you're not very careful, will somehow absorb the 27(hex) and you see the digits but the procedure won't work the second time. You have to remove the space without disturbing the initial character. That is hard to do if the mouse is dirty.

If I choose a cell and declare its format to be Number-Scientific, I copy my string of characters taken as a text string. The cell has been declared to be a number but the system or the spreadsheet recognizes the non numeric character and treat the paste as a string. If I remove the first character the copy displays 2.01706241556575E+019 which is the result of a transform into IEEE floating point. It's wrong because the floating point has a limit of accuracy approximately 14 decimal digits, 52 bits.

I don't see any way to declare a cell as number, 63 bit binary integer with leading sign. I suspect that LibreOffice does what Excel does; all numbers use IEEE floating point. (Sometimes I think that also applies to counters controlling a loop.)

There still seems to be a problem that I haven't figured out: Take a working cell with 19 digits and the special symbol present. Open it up as if to be edited. Place a space between the special symbol and the first digit. Close the cell. The funny symbol U+27 is no longer recognized as a keep-out symbol but the space is removed and the symbol displays, on this Ubuntu box, as a lower case quote mark.

My recommendation for repair is to remove the possibility of space characters being introduced anywhere. Do others have problems with that? Is the spreadsheet trying to use features written for writing a book? Is the spreadsheet trying too hard to use 16 bit super-bytes to support non-Latin characters?

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