# [oak perl] Fwd: Excel Annoyances Needed for New Book

George Woolley george at metaart.org
Fri Feb 6 17:39:51 CST 2004

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Subject: Excel Annoyances Needed for New Book
Date: Friday 06 February 2004 1:18 pm
From: Marsee Henon <marsee at oreilly.com>
To: george at metaart.org

Hey User Group Leader,

O'Reilly is pulling together a new book called "Excel Annoyances" and
we'd like your help! As you might guess from the title, this book aims
to identify the problems, snarls, quirks, bugs, and just dumb things
about Excel that drive users nuts. Oh yeah--it also aims to solve these
annoyances, too.

If any members of your group use Excel--be they newbies or Excel
masters--and they have annoyances they'd like to see solved, have them
email me (marsee at oreilly.com) with "Excel Annoyance" in the subject
line. Just have them note what version of Excel and Windows (or Mac
OS) they're using.

Thanks for sharing. We'll make sure to get copies of "Excel
Annoyances" sent to your group shortly after publication.

--Marsee

***
An example:

LET ME COUNT THE DAYS

THE ANNOYANCE: I know you can do date calculations in Excel, whether it's
to find how many days late I am on a car payment or to see how long it's
been since my last haircut. It's pretty easy to determine the number of
days between two dates; just subtract one from the other. But when I do
that, the result is another date! Huh?

THE FIX: In a blank worksheet, try this little exercise, which should
show your age in days:

1. In cell A1, enter your birth date in MM/DD/YYYY format.

2. In cell B1, enter the formula =today() to display the current date.

3. In cell C1, enter the formula =b1-a1.

You'll notice that the result of the formula in C1 is some other date,
which appears to have no correlation to either of the first dates. How
come? When you enter a formula, Excel matches the formatting of the
formula's inputs. This works well when you're doing calculations on
dollar amounts or percentages; the result comes out formatted just
the way you'd want. But in our example, Excel formatted the formula
result--a number of days--as a date.

***

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