MS Works - Phantom Double Quote Mark?

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MalcolmWalker
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MS Works - Phantom Double Quote Mark?

Post by MalcolmWalker »

My 90-year old friend keeps his monthly housekeeping records in a Microsoft Works Spreadsheet. In the MS Works Suite (discontinued in 2007.)the spreadsheet programme has a similar appearance to that of MS Excel but is somewhat basic in terms of functionality.

This month his sub-total and total SUM formulas have returned zero (0). In looking at his spreadsheet all appeared normal and the data was verified as correctly entered as displayed. Eventually, I noticed in the formula bar that many, but not all, of the entries in this month's data were preceded by a double quote mark, ("), for example "69. The quote mark did not appear in the display of the relevant spreadsheet cells; only in the formula bar. I did a find and replace for the quote marks to be replaced by nothing and the SUM formulas all returned to their expected behaviour.

So although there is resolution there remains the question as to how the quote mark could have been inserted. Perhaps there is something I have overlooked? Can a Lounger offer a valid explanation please?

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HansV
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Re: MS Works - Phantom Double Quote Mark?

Post by HansV »

There is an old option in Excel that may well exist in Works spreadsheet too: if you turn on "transition navigation keys", prefixing a value with " will make Excel treat the value as text and display it right-aligned. This feature was included for compatibility with Lotus 1-2-3. Perhaps your friend was familiar with Lotus 1-2-3 and used this option?
Regards,
Hans

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MalcolmWalker
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Re: MS Works - Phantom Double Quote Mark?

Post by MalcolmWalker »

Hans, Thank you for your interesting response.

I have been unable to find such a setting or a mention of transition navigation keys in the spreadsheet Help. The removal of the double quote affects both the alignment and format of the data. The data is right-aligned, being configured as such and with the double quote mark it is located very close to its right-hand cell border. Without the double quote mark the data is still right-aligned but is noticeably not as close to the right hand vertical cell border. With the data configured as left-aligned the inserting of the double quote mark fails to affect the alignment of the data. So our curiosity remains and my friend has no recall of ever using the Lotus 123 programme.

Malcolm

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Rudi
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Re: MS Works - Phantom Double Quote Mark?

Post by Rudi »

Hi Malcolm,

I have been searching for info that might clarify why cells in the referenced spreadsheet might have double quotes in them. There are no clear answers to this. A few pages did mention that a problem with outdated drivers (possibly print drivers) caused blank cells in a Works sheet to convert to text (which caused problems in formulas when importing into Excel). I thought I found the solution when I happened upon this page, but the answer was rather vague and did not mention much along the lines to resolve this mystery.

One thing to consider is if this occurrence is a once off scenario, or is it occurring over and over again. If it is once off, I think we'd have to rest on the case that we might not ever know what caused the behaviour. If it is repetitive, it could be possible to find the issue; whether it be a setting or incorrect usage.
Regards,
Rudi

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MalcolmWalker
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Re: MS Works - Phantom Double Quote Mark?

Post by MalcolmWalker »

Rudi, Thank you for the research you have done and reported upon.

My friend has been keeping his home accounts monthly in MW Works spreadsheets for at least six years; as far as I am aware it is the first time this month's behaviour has been seen. Whenever he compiles his data for next month we should have evidence of one-off behaviour or not. I'll ask him to keep me informed but as his computer guru he is sure to contact me to question the smallest misbehaviour!

Regarding the link you included in your message I agree about the lack of a solution as to how the double quote mark is inserted.

Thank you again for your input,

Malcolm