Screen shot of Microsoft Excel spreadsheet illustrating errors caused by default conversion of gene names to dates. Columns A, E, and I contain the correct gene names. Columns B, F, and J contain the corresponding underlying internal Excel date representation resulting from the forced default date conversion. Columns C, G, and K contain the corresponding default format date conversions. To create this table, we prepared a tab-delimited text file in which each gene name was repeated three times side by side. The correct gene names in columns A, E, and I were retained by opening this text file with Excel, and selecting "text" mode for columns A, E, and I in the Text Import Wizard Step 3 of 3 that appears while opening a file in Excel. Subsequently, the format menu "number" option (with zero decimal places) was applied to columns B, F, and J to display the internal date format.
Zeeberg et al. BMC Bioinformatics 2004 5:80 doi:10.1186/1471-2105-5-80