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.

0
friesian (3)
1/17/2006 2:32:59 AM
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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.
> 


0
ng1 (1444)
1/17/2006 3:03:52 AM
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
0
petersod (12005)
1/17/2006 3:18:09 AM
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).

0
friesian (3)
1/17/2006 3:53:10 AM
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.

0
friesian (3)
1/17/2006 3:56:51 AM
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.
> 


0
ng1 (1444)
1/17/2006 5:03:49 AM
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
0
petersod (12005)
1/17/2006 12:40:32 PM
Reply:

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