Microsoft announced an update to the configuration options, specifically in the area of Automatic Data Conversion, which has been in testing for the past year. This update aims to prevent users from inadvertently converting data in Excel that does not align with their intentions, such as deleting leading zeros or displaying excessively long numbers as scientific notation (e.g. 15-digit numbers displayed as E format).
The new addition to these options is the ability to enable/disable automatic data correction for text followed by numbers and convert them into date format automatically. For example, if you have the text “MAR1”, it will no longer be recorded as “1st March”, but will instead be recognized as the string “MAR1”.
This matter has gained attention due to the need for the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee, a standards organization for human gene research, to establish additional naming standards three years ago. They specified that if a name encounters issues with Excel’s automatic conversion to dates, for instance “MARCH1”, it should be modified to “MARCHF1” to avoid any unintended conversions.
TLDR: Microsoft introduces an update to the configuration options in Excel, focusing on Automatic Data Conversion. Users can now control the automatic correction of text followed by numbers, preventing unwanted data conversions. This update addresses the need for consistent naming standards set by the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee.