I apologize in advance, as I don’t know where else to post this. I also apologize for this being long winded. This is not a question the general public would be able to answer. I’m hoping I can get an answer from one of the Calc programmers for an answer to this from a programming prospective (not a general user prospective). Now I’m not a well seasoned up to date programmer, but I have dabbled in BASIC, C, C++, Pascal, 6502 assembly and pc assembly, off and on mostly throughout the 90’s. So I’m not oblivious to simple to moderate programming concepts.
Okay, so here’s my question. Why can’t binary, hexadecimal, octadecimal (or a custom base type) numbers be an actual number type in any spreadsheet program? I did ask in Microsoft’s help forum (I believe) many years ago, but the only answers I got was you can’t do it, and to use dec2hex, dec2bin, etc… They also told me if I wanted to create a column and/or of hex or bin numbers via dragging the handle of a cell, I would have to create a column and/or row of decimal numbers, another column and/or row of dec2hex conversions for viewing, and then reference the dec column for any calculations I wanted to do, and then convert the answer back using dec2hex. And if I didn’t want or need to see the decimal numbers, then I could just hide those columns and/or rows. I don’t get why this is such a difficult concept to have included in a spread sheet program. Windows calculator (I know. It’s much less complicated) can jump around between dec, hex and bin, on the fly. I have also made simple programs that convert between these different base numbers. Obviously, the programmers had some thought on these number types, because we have these xxx2xxx functions as a result. I’d like to know why they chose to have a functions work-around instead of just having them as number types.
I believe that to be an unnecessary level of complexity to end users in having to continually do this “work-around” to these not being number types in the first place. It doesn’t make sense to me to have to make this a separate series of number-to-text or text-to-number functions in order to calculate anything. So my logic is, we already have many number types as it is. The date/time (mm/dd/yyyy XX:XX:XX) looks much more complicated than bin, hex and oct put together, and the date/time is treated as a number type, in which you can reference them in formulas and even drag the handle of the cell it’s in to make a list of incremental changes.
I did at one time try to look through the .xls file specifications, but it was so mind boggling complex that I wasn’t able to hardly make heads or tails of it. I don’t remember if I tried looking through the .ods file specifications or not, but I suspect it would be just as mind boggling.