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corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?

  1. #1
    friesian@zoocrewphoto.com
    Guest

    corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?

    I'm trying to determine if the file or program is corrupt. Or if it is
    operator error. We are changing to a new computer and installing the
    program fresh. We don't want to ruin the new setup by loading in a
    corrupt file.

    My mom volunteers at a charity, and they use excel to keep track of
    statistics that they need for grant money. Over the past year, the
    program keeps making changes, and my mom has to keep correcting the
    file.

    Basically, she has a list of clients with name, client #, city, and a
    few other details.

    When she closes the file, everything looks great. When she comes back
    the next week, the columns are misaligned. It's different every time.
    Sometimes, only one column like first name is out of alignment with the
    rest. Maybe moved up a few lines. Sometimes, several columns are out of
    alignment, so you get something like this:

    firstname2 lastname1 client#1 city5
    firstname3 lastname2 client#2 city6
    firstname4 lastname3 client#3 city7
    firstname5 lastname4 client#4 city8
    firstname6 lastname5 client#5 city9

    It seems like it moves up and either fills in gaps, but we aren't sure.
    She doesn't think that it actually covers up information that is
    already there, but she isn't sure. I have never seen a before and
    after. She just shows me the file when it is all wrong, and I don't see
    what it was like before or what might have happened. And I am not very
    familiar with Excel. It didn't come on my desktop, so I only used it a
    little bit when I was in college and had to use it there.

    When it first starting happening, we thought it was because the files
    was so huge. She was creating new worksheets for each quarter instead
    of new files. So, she deleted all the old quarters and renamed it as a
    new file, much smaller.

    We thought it was maybe the old computer having probelms, so we tried
    working on the file at home, and it does it there too.

    We have gotten a new computer to use at the office. It is an older
    computer, windows 98. 18 GB hard drive, 512MB ram. Should be a decent
    computer. All it needs to do is run excel and keep track of this file.

    I have installed Excel on the computer, and now we need to decide
    whether to manually type in the 1800 clients or load in the old file.

    Any ideas on what causes this problem? Does it sound like a corrupt
    file, and we should just type it all in fresh? Or does it sound like
    something that is being caused over and over again? Perhaps closing the
    file wrong or hitting some command that shouldn't be touched?

    My mom is not computer savy. And there are a couple other people at the
    charity who also enter information, and they aren't good with computers
    either. Every week, my mom spends hours fixing the problems and
    entering in new information.

    I welcome any suggestions. At this point, she is going to enter all the
    new clients, and then start manually entering all the old clients
    (about 1800). But that will be a total waste of time if the problem is
    an operator error and not a corrupt file.

    Thank you very much.


  2. #2
    Anne Troy
    Guest

    Re: corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?

    Sounds to me like someone's not following the rules of Excel, but since
    there's no "primer", how could you know?
    NO extra (blank) rows and NO extra (blank) columns in the data. If you
    delete a name, delete the entire row, not just the contents of the cells.
    When you have blank rows or columns WITHIN your data, the sort ranges
    CHANGE.

    If someone deletes the contents of row 13 (but not the entire row), then
    goes up to A2 and hits the sort button, it's only sorting rows 2 to 12.
    Likewise, if they then hit sort on cell A14, only rows 14 through the end
    will sort. Now, if there's a blank column, that's far worse because it'll
    sort, for instance, only columns A & B when you might also have data in D,
    E, and F (C being a blank column in this scenario).

    Does this make sense? I'm happy to review the workbook. Send to my first
    name at the website below.
    ************
    Hope it helps!
    Anne Troy
    www.OfficeArticles.com

    <friesian@zoocrewphoto.com> wrote in message
    news:1137465179.620681.198760@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > I'm trying to determine if the file or program is corrupt. Or if it is
    > operator error. We are changing to a new computer and installing the
    > program fresh. We don't want to ruin the new setup by loading in a
    > corrupt file.
    >
    > My mom volunteers at a charity, and they use excel to keep track of
    > statistics that they need for grant money. Over the past year, the
    > program keeps making changes, and my mom has to keep correcting the
    > file.
    >
    > Basically, she has a list of clients with name, client #, city, and a
    > few other details.
    >
    > When she closes the file, everything looks great. When she comes back
    > the next week, the columns are misaligned. It's different every time.
    > Sometimes, only one column like first name is out of alignment with the
    > rest. Maybe moved up a few lines. Sometimes, several columns are out of
    > alignment, so you get something like this:
    >
    > firstname2 lastname1 client#1 city5
    > firstname3 lastname2 client#2 city6
    > firstname4 lastname3 client#3 city7
    > firstname5 lastname4 client#4 city8
    > firstname6 lastname5 client#5 city9
    >
    > It seems like it moves up and either fills in gaps, but we aren't sure.
    > She doesn't think that it actually covers up information that is
    > already there, but she isn't sure. I have never seen a before and
    > after. She just shows me the file when it is all wrong, and I don't see
    > what it was like before or what might have happened. And I am not very
    > familiar with Excel. It didn't come on my desktop, so I only used it a
    > little bit when I was in college and had to use it there.
    >
    > When it first starting happening, we thought it was because the files
    > was so huge. She was creating new worksheets for each quarter instead
    > of new files. So, she deleted all the old quarters and renamed it as a
    > new file, much smaller.
    >
    > We thought it was maybe the old computer having probelms, so we tried
    > working on the file at home, and it does it there too.
    >
    > We have gotten a new computer to use at the office. It is an older
    > computer, windows 98. 18 GB hard drive, 512MB ram. Should be a decent
    > computer. All it needs to do is run excel and keep track of this file.
    >
    > I have installed Excel on the computer, and now we need to decide
    > whether to manually type in the 1800 clients or load in the old file.
    >
    > Any ideas on what causes this problem? Does it sound like a corrupt
    > file, and we should just type it all in fresh? Or does it sound like
    > something that is being caused over and over again? Perhaps closing the
    > file wrong or hitting some command that shouldn't be touched?
    >
    > My mom is not computer savy. And there are a couple other people at the
    > charity who also enter information, and they aren't good with computers
    > either. Every week, my mom spends hours fixing the problems and
    > entering in new information.
    >
    > I welcome any suggestions. At this point, she is going to enter all the
    > new clients, and then start manually entering all the old clients
    > (about 1800). But that will be a total waste of time if the problem is
    > an operator error and not a corrupt file.
    >
    > Thank you very much.
    >




  3. #3
    Dave Peterson
    Guest

    Re: corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?

    I don't think it's a corrupt workbook.

    Corrupt workbooks usually mean that excel can't open them--not that the data is
    mangled.

    What it looks like to me is that the user (your mom or one of her co-workers)
    has sorted the data. But instead of sorting all the data, they only sorted a
    part (maybe a single column).

    When I've seen this happen, it's usually because the user selected a column and
    hit the A->Z or Z->A icon.

    Excel guesses that since only one column was selected, that the user doesn't
    want the adjacent columns included in the sort.

    In fact, xl2002 (if I recall correctly) added a warning to the user when the
    whole contiguous range wasn't selected first.

    First, I'd make sure that the data is backed up regularly. (Habits can be
    difficult to break.)

    Secondl, tell your mom (and tell her to tell all the users) to never let excel
    guess at the range that should be sorted/filtered/charted/anything.

    Tell her to select the whole range (all the columns in that range), then use
    data|sort.

    ========
    An alternative, if you want to try to make her life a bit easier (and face
    it--you owe it to her!!):

    http://contextures.com/xlSort02.html
    from Debra Dalgleish's site.

    It puts some rectangles over the cells in the header row and then allows the
    user to just click on that rectangle to sort the whole range by that column.

    You may have to do a little work to help set it up, though.

    If you're new to macros, you may want to read David McRitchie's intro at:
    http://www.mvps.org/dmcritchie/excel/getstarted.htm



    friesian@zoocrewphoto.com wrote:
    >
    > I'm trying to determine if the file or program is corrupt. Or if it is
    > operator error. We are changing to a new computer and installing the
    > program fresh. We don't want to ruin the new setup by loading in a
    > corrupt file.
    >
    > My mom volunteers at a charity, and they use excel to keep track of
    > statistics that they need for grant money. Over the past year, the
    > program keeps making changes, and my mom has to keep correcting the
    > file.
    >
    > Basically, she has a list of clients with name, client #, city, and a
    > few other details.
    >
    > When she closes the file, everything looks great. When she comes back
    > the next week, the columns are misaligned. It's different every time.
    > Sometimes, only one column like first name is out of alignment with the
    > rest. Maybe moved up a few lines. Sometimes, several columns are out of
    > alignment, so you get something like this:
    >
    > firstname2 lastname1 client#1 city5
    > firstname3 lastname2 client#2 city6
    > firstname4 lastname3 client#3 city7
    > firstname5 lastname4 client#4 city8
    > firstname6 lastname5 client#5 city9
    >
    > It seems like it moves up and either fills in gaps, but we aren't sure.
    > She doesn't think that it actually covers up information that is
    > already there, but she isn't sure. I have never seen a before and
    > after. She just shows me the file when it is all wrong, and I don't see
    > what it was like before or what might have happened. And I am not very
    > familiar with Excel. It didn't come on my desktop, so I only used it a
    > little bit when I was in college and had to use it there.
    >
    > When it first starting happening, we thought it was because the files
    > was so huge. She was creating new worksheets for each quarter instead
    > of new files. So, she deleted all the old quarters and renamed it as a
    > new file, much smaller.
    >
    > We thought it was maybe the old computer having probelms, so we tried
    > working on the file at home, and it does it there too.
    >
    > We have gotten a new computer to use at the office. It is an older
    > computer, windows 98. 18 GB hard drive, 512MB ram. Should be a decent
    > computer. All it needs to do is run excel and keep track of this file.
    >
    > I have installed Excel on the computer, and now we need to decide
    > whether to manually type in the 1800 clients or load in the old file.
    >
    > Any ideas on what causes this problem? Does it sound like a corrupt
    > file, and we should just type it all in fresh? Or does it sound like
    > something that is being caused over and over again? Perhaps closing the
    > file wrong or hitting some command that shouldn't be touched?
    >
    > My mom is not computer savy. And there are a couple other people at the
    > charity who also enter information, and they aren't good with computers
    > either. Every week, my mom spends hours fixing the problems and
    > entering in new information.
    >
    > I welcome any suggestions. At this point, she is going to enter all the
    > new clients, and then start manually entering all the old clients
    > (about 1800). But that will be a total waste of time if the problem is
    > an operator error and not a corrupt file.
    >
    > Thank you very much.


    --

    Dave Peterson

  4. #4
    friesian@zoocrewphoto.com
    Guest

    Re: corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?


    Dave Peterson wrote:

    > What it looks like to me is that the user (your mom or one of her co-workers)
    > has sorted the data. But instead of sorting all the data, they only sorted a
    > part (maybe a single column).
    >


    Is it possible to have the program set so that it sorts automatically
    when it is opened?

    She doesn't usually intentionally sort until she does teh quartly
    reports. Then she has to sort by city since the grants come from a few
    different cities, and they want to know how many people from their city
    were helped.

    During the rest of the time, she has them in alphabetical order to make
    it easier to enter names.

    Thanks again. I am printing both replies. I think they did get a book
    that was excel for dummies, but it is up to my mom to teach the other
    two. Kind of the blind leading the blind. (And up to me to fix the
    problems when it gets bad).


  5. #5
    friesian@zoocrewphoto.com
    Guest

    Re: corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?


    Anne Troy wrote:

    > NO extra (blank) rows and NO extra (blank) columns in the data. If you
    > delete a name, delete the entire row, not just the contents of the cells.
    > When you have blank rows or columns WITHIN your data, the sort ranges
    > CHANGE.


    Thanks. I know the leave some of the various categories blank for
    different clients. Will that apply in any row? perhaps they should just
    leave a character in there for unknown or NA.

    And it is possible that they might accidentally delete names. I don't
    think they leave any of those blank intentionally, but it wouldn't
    surprise me if they click on it, and then do something else, not
    realizing the error.


  6. #6
    Anne Troy
    Guest

    Re: corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?

    No. Blank CELLS are okay, but no "completely" blank rows or columns is the
    rule.
    ************
    Hope it helps!
    Anne Troy
    www.OfficeArticles.com

    <friesian@zoocrewphoto.com> wrote in message
    news:1137470211.822254.252650@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    >
    > Anne Troy wrote:
    >
    >> NO extra (blank) rows and NO extra (blank) columns in the data. If you
    >> delete a name, delete the entire row, not just the contents of the cells.
    >> When you have blank rows or columns WITHIN your data, the sort ranges
    >> CHANGE.

    >
    > Thanks. I know the leave some of the various categories blank for
    > different clients. Will that apply in any row? perhaps they should just
    > leave a character in there for unknown or NA.
    >
    > And it is possible that they might accidentally delete names. I don't
    > think they leave any of those blank intentionally, but it wouldn't
    > surprise me if they click on it, and then do something else, not
    > realizing the error.
    >




  7. #7
    Dave Peterson
    Guest

    Re: corrupt program or file? How to tell? Or is it operator error?

    Yes, but I'd try that other method with the rectangles first. I find it more
    useful to do things on demand than have to close and reopen.

    friesian@zoocrewphoto.com wrote:
    >
    > Dave Peterson wrote:
    >
    > > What it looks like to me is that the user (your mom or one of her co-workers)
    > > has sorted the data. But instead of sorting all the data, they only sorted a
    > > part (maybe a single column).
    > >

    >
    > Is it possible to have the program set so that it sorts automatically
    > when it is opened?
    >
    > She doesn't usually intentionally sort until she does teh quartly
    > reports. Then she has to sort by city since the grants come from a few
    > different cities, and they want to know how many people from their city
    > were helped.
    >
    > During the rest of the time, she has them in alphabetical order to make
    > it easier to enter names.
    >
    > Thanks again. I am printing both replies. I think they did get a book
    > that was excel for dummies, but it is up to my mom to teach the other
    > two. Kind of the blind leading the blind. (And up to me to fix the
    > problems when it gets bad).


    --

    Dave Peterson

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