Math errors found in Excel 2007

Microsoft has confirmed the existence of a serious bug in Excel 2007 that can cause an incorrect amount to appear in a cell. The problem that has been isolated so far occurs when a calculation should produce the result of 65535. Instead of the correct result, Excel displays 100000. For example, enter the following formula in an Excel 2007 cell:


You will see that 100000 appears as the result. Other formulas have the same effect.

It should be noted that, although the spreadsheet displays 100000, the value of the cell is correct at 65535. So if you use the cell in another formula (for example, if the mistakenly displayed presentation of 100000 appears in cell A1 and you enter the formula =A1*2 in another cell, you will see the correct result of 131070.

The problem is manifesting itself in many, but not all, calculations that should produce a result of 65535. For example, the formula =13107*5 produces the correct result of 65535.

According to a description that appears on the Microsoft Developer Network Excel team blog, this is where the problem lies:

"So what, specifically, are the values that cause this display problem? Of the 9.214*10^18 different floating point numbers (floating point on wikipedia) that Excel 2007 can store, there are 6 floating point numbers (using binary representation) between 65534.99999999995 and 65535, and 6 between 65535.99999999995 and 65536 that cause this problem. You can't actually enter these numbers into Excel directly (since Excel will round to 15 digits on entry), but any calculation returning one of those results will display this issue if the results of the calculation are displayed in a cell. All other calculation results are not affected."

Programmers at Microsoft are aware of the problem and are working on a fix. No date for a correcting update has been projected yet.

You may like these other stories...

Event Date: May 29, 2014 In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA brings you up to speed on the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both...
No field likes its buzzwords more than technology, and one of today's leading terms is "the cloud." But it's not just a matter of knowing what's fashionable. Accounting professionals who know how to use...
There is a growing trend of accountants moving away from traditional compliance work to more advisory work. Client demand is there, but it is up to the accountants to capitalize on that. What should accountants' roles be...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.