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Date: 11/27/19 13:48
Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: ns2557

I apologize if this is not the correct place to ask this question. I have tried to contact Microsoft themselves since they produced the product, Excel, but according to their live support, they do not provide the type of support I am asking about. Needless to say I am not real happy with them

But what I have going on is when using the Excel program in a database that I am starting again, (Had alot on Microsoft Works, that went away when they stopped supporting Works. Got a new compuetr from Dell about 1 year ago and it didnt recognize the works program) I lost the disc to reload Works, but have used Excel previously with great success, so this is what I am trying to recreate, the databse that I had begun. 

What is happening is when I go to sort the files they will not sort in order. I have a set of columns A-M lets say. Of course each column has rows beginning at 1. After choosing the "custom sort" function it used to be able to sort by Column and by row. First Column is the RR so that would be alphabetical .(This is to be an all encompasing database of my photo's/negs/slides by RR, then,  Eng/Unit number, which is where the rows come in at) Column 2 is the Eng Model. Column 3 the eng/unit number . I am currently about 350 give or take entries into this database, but it will not list alphabetical. I have ATSF as one of the first roads and CR farther down the list. BNSF is laso in this beginning stage of all of this. What is happening is one of my CR entries is now at the top of the list in the row, then my ATSF then BNSF, etc. The eng number being the 3rd column is also not getting sorted. Example, Column A (RR) has the CR unit as line 2, line 1 being blank, ATSF starts at Line 3 and appears to be in the order in which I am asking the program to sort. Then it skips down to Line 139 which is currently my last entry for BNSF. Everything appears normal and the program is doing what I asked. But then at line 140, it keeps the Column A correct, but goes to Column C which is my eng/unit number and starts again with a lower numbered unit and does this for the next 9 lines where it once again reverts back to the "correct" way by Column then line. Last entry in this is UP. Still sorting by Column and letter but it puts a lower numbered unit Column C at the end of the list out of order.

This is the best I can explain it other than perhaps taking a snapshot (if that can be done) and sharing. I have tried resorting various ways but it still puts a few out of sequence. I thought perhaps I had fat fingered something in the original entry but now that I have done the other possible remedies, I don't think that is the problem.

Any of those out here have any ideas as to what is happening? Should I just un-install the Micro Soft Office 365 that contains the excel Program and then reinstall it hoping to fix it or is there possibly an easier solution?  Since I am just beginning this process again and am not to far into it, That might be the best way to do so Thanks for any ideas and help. Ben

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/19 13:51 by ns2557.

Date: 11/27/19 14:39
Re: Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: colehour

While I have used Excel as a spreadsheet and as a simple database, I'd suggest that it would be better to use a true database program for what you have. I used to keep a database of personnel in Excel and I found it difficult to use with so many fields. I am using an old version of FileMaker, which is still one of the best database programs around, at least so I'm told. MS Access is another. A relational database would allow you, for example, to sort by railroad, city, date, equipment, etc. -- whatever fields you might have. With FileMaker you can create custom layouts for displaying your data. For example, I can sort my database of members by name, month and date of birth, and year of birth and display this as a list for each month of the year. I also created a layout for inputing new data that has some dropdown menus built in.  

Of course, there is a learning curve, and I was fortunate to have someone who knew FileMaker to help me get started. 

If you want to try another program that works like Excel, you might check out Open Office. It's free, and the suite contains programs like MS Office. I have not used it lately, but did use it about ten years ago when I bought a new laptop and did not have the installation CD with me. I think Open Office has a database program available. There are probably other database programs out there, and I hope others will offer more information. I'm sure that you will find people more knowledgeable than I here on TO!

Date: 11/27/19 15:34
Re: Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: TCnR

I'd be lookiing for hidden characters or symbols in the copied cells. Something as simple as a carriage return (from ASCii Text files) or number instead of text character and not adjusting the sort criteria table for it wreaks havoc.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/19 08:42 by TCnR.

Date: 11/27/19 20:25
Re: Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: Arved

Before you uninstall and reinstall Office 365, try opening the document in Google Sheets, and work from there.

You could also try installing OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and opening the spreadsheet in the spreadsheet app in those office suites.

It does sound like you have a problem with numbers being treated as text. Not an uncommon problem. Insert a column next to the suspected column, and use the istext function (https://exceljet.net/excel-functions/excel-istext-function) to check the data.

All the best!

Arved Grass
Fleming Island, FL
Arved Grass

Date: 11/28/19 06:03
Re: Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: Theowhitey

I would agree with the above comment. It sounds like you've got numbers being treated as text (or text being treated as numbers). To remedy this, try highlighting all the cells in a given column, right click, choose "format cells", then choose the appropriate category. Then try resorting your data.
If that doesn't work, if you could post a screenshot of the problem, that might be helpful to zero in on the issue. That's best done by hitting the Print Screen key on your keyboard, and inserting the screen image into your photo editing software. In Photoshop Elements, for example, that would be File/New/Image from Clipboard.

Date: 12/01/19 12:01
Re: Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: JUTower

I do not recommend uninstall and reinstall nor do I recommend trying another program. This is probably a simple formatting problem.

I’d be happy to take a look at the file if you know how to email an attachment. If so please PM me.

Posted from iPhone

Date: 12/04/19 02:09
Re: Micro soft Excel Problems
Author: video7105

I also agree that there is a simple formatting issue going on. I use Excel allot and don't have sorting problems. I even use it to draw my electrical wiring setups for my layout.  PM my with your Excel file attached. Would be glad to look at it for you. 


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