Not too long ago, Mary Ann Richards told you to enter a fraction in Excel by formatting the cell first. Why should you bother? Well, if you don’t, Excel interprets a fraction as a date. For example, if you enter ½, Excel returns 2-Jan. Now, Mary Ann suggested that you format the cell first, which definitely works and might be the most appropriate way to go. However, for a quick fix, simply enter a 0 before the fraction. For instance, to enter the literal fraction ½, enter 0 ½ instead (there’s a space between 0 and ½). It works like a charm!
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Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.