Microsoft patches Excel calculation bug

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft has fixed a rare display glitch in Excel 2007, two weeks after it first alerted users to the problem.

Microsoft announced the problem a couple weeks ago, saying that problems could arise if a function in Excel caused the solution to be 65,535.  The unusual bug shows the answer as 100,000.  For example, if someone types in "=77.1*850" in Excel 2007, it will display the value 100,000, even though the actual value is 65,535.

In an era where virtually all patches and software problems are related to security issues, it is rare to see an issue that is actually rooted in the application's programming.  It is especially unusual in such a high-profile program as Excel 2007.

In the official Excel blog, Microsoft wrote, "We are in the process of adding this fix to Microsoft Update so that it will get automatically pushed to users running Excel 2007 or Excel Services 2007. Additionally, the fix will also be contained in the first service pack of Office 2007 when it is released (the release date for SP1 of Office 2007 has not been finalized)."

Users can download the patch now from Microsoft's download page or from the Excel blog.