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Excel/Pasting cells and losing formatting


 I am using Excel 2010. I am trying to copy data from a program that exports its data in Excel, however that program exports the data as text cells in Excel instead of a number or general format (i.e. Excel cannot perform functions on this data since it is a "text" format). Keep in mind the data includes numbers and percentages as well as actual text fields. The issue comes when I copy this exported file into a spreadsheet I have created. This spreadsheet I now "import" the "exported" data into (confused yet?) uses the copied data to fill cells in a worksheet with that data, just in a more friendly format (for people to easily read) and then calculates percentages Y-T-D based on that data. As you can see, if this imported (copied) data is not a "number" cell then Excel will not perform any calculations on those cells. My question is how can I force this data to be seen in excel as a "number" when I copy and paste it? Currently, when I paste it each cell has that little error icon that says "Number stored as text" with a recommended action of "Convert to Number." I don't want to have to click on this for every cell when I import this data everytime. Can you help me out?



First, format the cells as number or general if they are formatted as text.

Then you can type a 1 in a separate cell.  Then copy it.  Then select all the cells you want converted and do a Paste Special (click on the down arrow of the paste button in the home tab) and choose multiply.  

That has always worked for me to convert the numeric strings into actual numbers.

Tom Ogilvy  
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Tom Ogilvy


Selected as an Excel MVP by Microsoft since 1999. Answering Excel questions in Allexperts since its inception in 2001. Able to answer questions on almost all aspects of Excel's internal capabilities. If seeking a VBA solution, please specify that in your question itself so I give you the answer you want. [Excel has weak protection - if you are distributing an application, I don't answer questions on how to protect your project from your users.]


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Master of Science (MS) degree Operations Research (ORSA)

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Microsoft MVP in Excel.

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