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Microsoft is rolling out improvements to Excel for automatic data conversion features

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More than a year ago, Microsoft announced some changes it was going to make to its Excel apps, based on user feedback. Office Insider Preview users (now Microsoft 365 Preview users) can gain more control over Excel app defaults, so they can turn off certain types of automatic data conversion.

Today, Microsoft is rolling out these improvements to all Excel users on Windows and Mac platforms. Additionally Microsoft 365 Insider blog post states that he has added some improvements to this feature.

Microsoft stated:

Last year’s blog post Explains how the initial version of the feature worked. Based on your feedback, we have:

  • The feature is easier to find
  • Added more format support
  • Enabled the feature in Excel for Mac

Excel app users can go to choose file > options > data > And finally Automatic data conversion. They can then go ahead and disable one or more of the automatic conversion options.

Here are the specific options that can be changed in Excel applications:

  • Remove leading zeros from numeric text and convert to number.
  • Truncate numeric data to 15 digits of precision and convert to a number that may be displayed in scientific notation, if necessary.
  • Convert numeric data surrounding the letter “E” to a number shown in scientific notation.
  • Convert a contiguous string of letters and numbers to a date.

There is one known issue with the feature right now, as disabling conversions while running a macro won’t work. No word on when or if this issue will be addressed.

The new conversion controls are now available to all Excel for Windows users running version 2309 (Build 16808.10000) or later, and to all Mac users running version 16.77 (Build 23091003) or later. No word if these new features will be added to the mobile or web editions of Excel.

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