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Your Numbers don't behave (like numbers)
Niek Otten, May 11, 2006
Your numbers sort incorrectly, are not included in SUMs, cause #VALUE! results in formulas, cannot be found in LOOKUPs, etc.
In short:
Your Numbers look like Numbers, but they really are Text.
Sure! You formatted them as numbers, but alas, formatting afterwards doesn't help. Believe me, they are Text!
Here's a checklist which will help you solve most known cases. Make a copy of your workbook before trying! Always use Excel's
ISNUMBER() function to check your cells; maybe you solved your problem in the first step!
· Format an empty cell as Number. Enter the number 1 in it. Edit>Copy.
Select your "numbers". Edit>Paste Special, check Multiply. Hopefully your cells are "real" Numbers now
· If that doesn't help, there may be spaces in your "numbers". You can use the LEN() function to compare the number
of characters that Excel sees in the cell with the number of characters you see. If you suspect spaces, use Excel's TRIM()
function to remove them
· If that doesn't help, there may be nonprintable characters in your "numbers". You can use Excel's CLEAN() function
to remove most of them
· If that doesn't help, there may be nonbreaking spaces in your "numbers" (mostly acquired from Web Pages). Use
David McRitchie's TRIMALL() function to remove them. It can be downloaded here:
http://www.mvps.org/dmcritchie/excel/join.htm#trimall
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I am definitely using the right formula, as you have stated below.

 "Lauren Giles" wrote:

 > Are you using the right forumla? If 5, 6, and 7 are in A5, A6, and A7, and
 > you want the sum in A8, does A8 say =SUM(A5:8) ?
 >
 > "Kate" wrote:
 >
 > > I have a column of numbers and am trying to do a simple sum at the bottom of
 > > this column, does not work. I have formatted all the numbers to actual
 > > "Number" in Excel but unless I click into each cell, the sum function does
 > > not work. For example:
 > > 5
 > > 6
 > > 7
 > > =18, does not. If I click in the "6" cell, my total sum will now become 6.
 > >
 > > Thank you in advance.