Control data conversions in Excel for Windows and Mac


  • Staff
Hi, Microsoft 365 Insiders! My name is Chirag Fifadra, and I’m a Product Manager on the Excel team. I’m thrilled to announce that, based on your feedback, we’ve improved the Automatic Data Conversion settings we made available last year, and are now making them broadly available in both Excel for Windows and Excel for Mac.

What did we change?​

Last year’s blog post explains how the initial version of the feature worked. Based on your feedback, we have:
  • made the feature easier to find
  • added more format support
  • made the feature available in Excel for Mac

How it works​

We wanted to address customers’ frustration with Excel automatically converting data to specific formats. So, we have now given you the ability to change Excel’s default behavior and disable specific types of automatic data conversions as needed.

To do so, select File > Options > Data > Automatic Data Conversion, and then choose the conversion(s) that you’d like to disable.

Excel Options dialog box with Automatic Data Conversion section selected

Tips and tricks​

  • You can enable or disable the following options:
    • Remove leading zeros from numerical text and convert to a number.
    • Truncate numerical data to 15 digits of precision and convert to a number that may be displayed in scientific notation, if needed.
    • Convert numerical data surrounding the letter “E” to a number displayed in scientific notation.
    • Convert a continuous string of letters and numbers to a date.
  • When you select the When loading a .csv file or similar file, notify me of any automatic number conversions check box, Excel displays a warning message when it detects that at least one of the optional automatic data conversions is enabled and about to occur when opening a .csv or .txt file. The message gives the ability to open the file once without converting the data.

Scenarios to try​

Based on the settings you chose above, try some or all of the scenarios below to test the increased control over data conversions.
  • Type directly into a cell.
  • Copy and paste from external sources (e.g., a web page).
  • Open a .csv or .txt file.
  • Find and replace operations.
  • Select Data > Text to Columns, and then use the Convert Text to Columns Wizard.
NOTE: Since the feature works by saving the entered data as text, you might see a green triangle with a Number stored as text error. This is expected. You can dismiss the error by selecting Ignore error in the context menu. Also, you may not be able to use that data in mathematical operations.

Known issues​

  • The feature does not support disabling these conversions during macro execution.

Availability​

This feature is available to all users running:
  • Windows: Version 2309 (Build 16808.10000) or later
  • Mac: Version 16.77 (Build 23091003) or later

Feedback​

We’d love to hear from you! Click Help > Feedback to share your feedback and help us prioritize our work.

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