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Can't see tabs in Excel2003


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#1 tos226

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 08:31 AM

HELP!!!
This is a question about why an indication of existing delimiters disappeared and how to restore it back. This is NOT a question about how to parse data using delimiters.

Details:
When a Notepad contains tab separated values (1 tab 2 tab 3), pasting it into Excel always placed 1 square 2 square 3 into one column (unless previous parsing was on tabs, of course when it would split it into three columns right away).
By square I mean Excel's representation of tab control character as a graphic square.
I can't paste the look of it here even when I use quotes; those tabs are persistent.

Suddenly Excel stopped showing the little squares, which is disturbing.
Yesterday when I pasted such data, the cell looked like a normal number 123 :thumbsup: which of course it wasn't.

At this point,
When I copy and paste contents of the cell back into Notepad, the tabs are still there.
When I do text-to-columns using tab as a delimiter, correct parsing takes place.

I ran Office2003 upgrades last week. I doubt that anything there would be responsible for this change.

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#2 tos226

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 10:23 PM

Bump - ANY IDEAS? Any clues?
:thumbsup: :flowers: :trumpet:

Edited by tos226, 23 July 2005 - 10:51 AM.


#3 Grinler

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 02:35 PM

Paste your comma delimited text into the excel sheet. You will see that right now its all in that cell you pasted it to.

Select the cell with the data, and click on the data menu, and select Text to Columns. Make sure its set to delimited and press next. Uncheck Tab and put a check in comma and press finish.

The text from that cell should now be seperated into columns. From this point forward excel will remember this is how you like that data represented so if you copy and paste comma seperated values again in the future it will put them into seperate columns

#4 tos226

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 08:58 PM

Grinler, thanks for attending to this, I was thinking there's no answer.

Unfortunately, that's not my problem. I do text to columns all the time, and it is EXACTLY as you say. And commas are simple - I can see them in, as you say, that one cell.

My problem is that I used to be able to see in that one cell any other control character, such as TAB. It looked like a tiny square. Now I can't see them. The tabs are there, parsing using a tab works, but I must see them as they come in. Something changed in my Excel recently. Could you try my "1 tab 2 tab 3" example descr5bed above and tell me whether YOU can still see squares between the digits, PLEASE :thumbsup:

#5 Grinler

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 09:20 PM

ahh i see what you mean..sorry about that. Hmm...mine is automatically putting the data into rows. Let me see if I can reset the behaviour so I can see the squares.

My question is why do you need to see the squares? Isnt it fine to just have each element go into its own cell?

#6 tos226

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 11:23 PM

My question is why do you need to see the squares?  Isnt it fine to just have each element go into its own cell?

Grinler, you don't want to know why, believe me. Has to do with validation, but it's bigger than that.
And you can't count on it going correctly to cells if the delimiter is wrong. It might be tab, it might be some ascii code. Might even be combinations.

From a more human point of view, when I see 123 in a cell (using my example of text coming from Notepad with tabs imbedded within), I don't know there are control characters on which I can parse the data. I don't know how many columns to expect, etc.

Imagine you have text coming in from some text file to parse on comma, but instead of displaying "a,b,c,d,e,f" it comes in as "abcdef" yet if comma was the last delimiter used, it splits it nicely, but if, say tab was, you don't even know it's there, and in any case -- Excel always, if you previously shut off ALL delimiters, would put such data into one column and you could deal with it when you saw the little squares.

I want my squares back :thumbsup:

#7 Grinler

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 12:02 AM

We will get them back. Will test some more when i get to work tomorrow

#8 tos226

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 10:53 AM

Grinler,
Just in case this is in the picture, the upgrades to Office I did were a subject of another thread of mine where jgweed helped sort things out for me:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...topic=22064&hl=

While I'd like to say the usual "I didn't do anything to my computer", there might be something with smart tags or whatever they put in that might play a role.
I also may have added few language supports to Office, but I do not recall when.

I'm not system admin, I don't know side effects of patches, don't understand Office components ... you get the drift.

I searched high and low for an answer and everywhere I look it teaches me how to parse data, not precisely what I need in this instance. I looked into registry and that didn't help either. Where do they keep those settings?

Edited by tos226, 26 July 2005 - 10:55 AM.


#9 Grinler

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:10 PM

I cant get it to shut off delimiters. Any idea how to do that?

#10 tos226

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:24 PM

I cant get it to shut off delimiters.  Any idea how to do that?

Grinler, sorry I didn't reply yesterday - never got the email notification.

The way I shut'm off is
1. select a blank cell (excel<2003) or a safe cell with, say "x" in it (Excel2003 - it' trying to be too intelligent, won't permit parse of nothing)
2. data; text to columns and now on this dialog turn off tab, comma, ascii, everything you see, hit OK to (non)parse the cell and you're good to go. Next time any delimited text comes in, it will go into one column.

As soon as you actually parse something, Excel remembers last delimiter (fortunately or unfortunately, depends on what you want subsequently)

I suspect you already tried something along these lines, so I'll think about some other way and post if I succeed (in thinking that is).

Edited by tos226, 27 July 2005 - 04:25 PM.


#11 Grinler

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:14 PM

I have been searching high and low, but I cant seem to get my excel to show control characters

#12 tos226

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:30 PM

Do you mean in the cell where you paste something equivalent to my stuff coming in from text file (1 tab 2 tab 3) or do you mean the delimiter list on the text to columns dialog?

#13 Grinler

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 03:03 PM

Pasting

#14 tos226

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:06 PM

Darn :thumbsup:
So now there are two of us. It's a real problem for me.

My long range wish, besides finding a solution to the above, is to find where Excel stores your delimiter preference, or more specific, last use.

Grinler, I hope you don't give up, but will not blame you if you do.
And if I ever get a solution I'll post it, but I suspect there's little interest in the issue.
Thanks a bunch :flowers:


Does the dot in the middle of the envelope left of this post's title mean thread closed or something like that?

#15 Grinler

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 04:26 PM

My problem is I am testing this in 2000, not 2003. So it could be an issue that my version does not support control codes unless you know otherwise




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