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Weekly Computer Tip # 197
25 May 2007

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prevent fractions to be converted to dates (Microsoft Excel)

Do you ever have to enter fractions in an Excel worksheet? If so, you must know it can be a bit of an awkward task as Excel will turn your entry into a date format. For instance, if you type 1/2, Excel will turn it into 01-Feb. You might know that if you right-click the cell and select Format Cells you can select Fraction from the Category list. By that time, however, 01-Feb will be known as 39114. In short: a bit of a nightmare.

But there is a way to force Excel to accept your entry as a fraction.

Here's how:

  1. Click the cell in which you want to enter the fraction
  2. Type a zero followed by the fraction, for instance 0 1/2

The fraction will be displayed as you want it to be (1/2) and you can use it to do calculations, as normal.

By the way, if you like this tip, why not sign up for our next half day Excel Further Use course, scheduled for the afternoon of 1 June. The session will be held at the Sun House in Cambridge and will be 97 pounds (+VAT) only. See http://www.roem.co.uk/msexcfu.html for further details.

Until next week.

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May 2007