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Old 09-07-2010, 08:13 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,235,371 times
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Apologies in advance for the length of this: I am not a techie and don't know how to describe this stuff in technical terms. I'm sure it's possible to explain this in one short sentence, but I don't know the words to do that.

The IS infrastructure at my workplace is an odd mishmash of PC and Mac users, and within the groups of PC users and Mac-o-philes, there is quite a wide range of operating systems, office software and so on. It makes for some interesting challenges, but I've never encountered one quite like what's baffling me today.

I have a PC running Windows 7 (one of the first few in the company on that OS) and using Office 2003 for business applications. Most other PC users are on XP, with a few Vista users. Macs in use by other departments feature all sorts of combinations of operating systems and versions of business software.

I had need to access an Excel spreadsheet that is normally updated and maintained by a Mac user in the marketing department (I'm in accounting). After obtaining the requisite permissions and security access to that section in the main server, I opened the spreadsheet, corrected a circular reference error that demanded attention, and then did a Save-As over to my folder on the server so I could continue to analyze the data that I needed without tying up the original.

The odd thing about the spreadsheet, though, was that all the columns were identified by numbers, not letters. And the formulas in the cells were both cryptic and completely unfamiliar to me, although the results of the formulas appeared to come out as I would have expected.

And then the REALLY odd thing happened when I opened a different spreadsheet of my own, one that I had created in Excel on my PC. It opened with the same numeric column identifiers, and all my formulas, while they still appeared to yield the correct data, had turned into the same cryptic and baffling combinations that I found in the marketing spreadsheet.

About an hour later, I needed to email a spreadsheet to a colleague in my department, and it happened to be one of the ones that I had opened after starting to see those weird changes. And the same thing happened to him: when he opened the spreadsheet I had sent him, it had the same numeric column identifiers and strange formulas that I was getting. And every time he opened another spreadsheet, it opened in that same format, just like I had experienced.

The only thing I could think of to try was to shut down all open spreadsheets, close out of Excel and try to open the worksheets again. Same thing happened. I closed Excel again, reopened it, and this time when I clicked on the "Open worksheet" icon, I changed the view to the option "Properties." And every spreadsheet I had touched since I opened that marketing spreadsheet showed that it was Application Microsoft Macintosh Excel, even the spreadsheets that I had created on my PC in Office 2003. Tried doing a Save-As to a couple of different versions of Excel and they all still show that they're Macintosh Excel, and they all have those stupid numeric column identifiers and the cryptic formulas.

At that point, I started to panic, because just about everything I do is in spreadsheets, and I absolutely HAVE to be able to decipher the formulas in order to work with them. Our IS guys had left for the day, and when I asked the marketing person whose spreadsheet is the one that I think started it all, she insists that when she opens it, her Mac displays the alphabetic column identifiers the way they're supposed to be.

So does anyone here have any hints, clues, suggestions or ideas for disinfecting an Excel spreadsheet from "Microsoft Macintosh Excel" and returning it to its original condition? Thanks for your patience and assistance!
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,345 posts, read 83,931,346 times
Reputation: 17566
convert excel mac windows - Google Search
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:08 AM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,235,371 times
Reputation: 43728
Thanks for the links, Charles. I did some hunting in the links you provided, and didn't see my problem described, which is most likely the fault of my inability to explain it clearly. I appreciate your efforts to help, though, and I'll keep hunting for the solution.
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,832 posts, read 13,971,314 times
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Can you give a specific example?
Like what the formula was before and then what it became.
SUM=A1+A2 should be the same in either version.

I thought, perhaps wrongly, that formulas are just formulas. They are the same across all versions. However maybe just something in the way the formula is displayed has changed.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 25,912,734 times
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Perhaps the original file was used by someone who had the R1C1 style of cell numbering.

Columns and rows are labeled numerically in Excel

Since that time the option has persisted in your copy of Excel. You should be able to undo it easily.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:51 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,235,371 times
Reputation: 43728
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
Perhaps the original file was used by someone who had the R1C1 style of cell numbering.

Columns and rows are labeled numerically in Excel

Since that time the option has persisted in your copy of Excel. You should be able to undo it easily.
That's it! That is exactly the link that one of my colleagues in the IT department found and emailed me today, and once I followed the steps that are outlined on the page, my misbehaving spreadsheets all obediently returned to their usual format, to my immense relief and gratitude.

So I was completely mistaken and it was not at all a Mac vs. PC thing, although the spreadsheet that was the culprit did originate from a Mac user. Not that it's any surprise that I was wrong - I've gotten awfully accustomed over the decades to being in that position.

Thanks to all who offered suggestions and assistance!
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 25,912,734 times
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Glad that fixed it. Tell that person who built the spreadsheet on the Mac to use the same kind of column labeling that 99% of the world uses!
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