Microsoft recently released a A blog highlighting new Excel updates It allows users to disable automatic data conversion. This is good news for scientists because in recent years they have had to rename many human genes because Excel converts them to dates.
To provide some context, each gene is given a name and a symbol, the latter usually an alphanumeric letter. So like Ring-bound membrane of CH finger type 1 MARCH1 for short. However, Excel previously misread this date and set it to “1”. March”.
There was no way to disable this automatic conversion, and it eventually affected hundreds of academic papers. This resulted in scientists spending many hours manually troubleshooting and retrieving data. In 2020, the community has made this their mission Change the referencing of these genes in Excel. So MARCH1 became MARCHF1, SEPT1 became SEPTIN1 and so on.
Three years later, Microsoft finally discovered and introduced a set of features called Repair Gene. There is now a checkbox called “Convert sequential letters and numbers to dates” that can be turned on or off. The update introduces a few more checkboxes, all of which fall under the Automatic Data Conversion category.
Microsoft also added an additional option at the bottom that says, “If you upload a CSV or similar file, notify me about automatic number conversion.” As the name suggests, this checkbox displays a warning message when you upload a CSV – or open TXT file with an optional automatic data conversion.
However, note that a “known issue” with the update, which Microsoft noted on its blog, is that the new conversion option does not work when running macros.