A COMPUTEREASE Tip!

[CE logo] Thanks for visiting our world wide site. We hope to leave you with a handy tip.

We will periodically post a new tip, about once a month or faster. So if the one below is not applicable to your software, be sure to drop by soon.

If you have a suggestion you'd like to share with others or you need a tip on a software application, drop me an e-mail.


[*] Rounding in Electronic Spreadsheets

Computers, and all spreadsheet applications, cannot resolve real-world rounding problems.

For example, you decide to give 3 kids $10.00. You will have a conflict, for 2 kids receive equal amounts, $3.33; but one kid gets $3.34. Unless, of course, you pocket the extra penny...

A computer would calculate each person's share to be 3.3333333 (and so on). When totalled, a computer would yield 9.99999. That's a big problem if you are dealing with company financials.

Electronic spreadsheets include a ROUND function to accommodate for these scenarios. Using formatting or styles is not sufficient! You only need worry about this in a spreadsheet if you have division, percentages, averages, etc.

The ROUND function truly rounds the value or calculation to the number of decimals specified. Again, formatting does not do this.

    ROUND(number_to_be_rounded,maximum_number_of_decimals)
Consider the following point-of-sale (Canadian, eh) example.

Excel 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro incorrect
pre-tax amount 29.95 in cell A1 29.95 in cell A1 29.95
PST tax =A1*8% +A1*.08 2.396
GST tax =A1*7% +A1*.07 2.0965
amount tendered =SUM(A1:A3) @SUM(A1..A3) 34.4425

Excel 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro corrected
pre-tax amount 29.95 in cell A1 29.95 in cell A1 29.95
PST tax =ROUND(A1*8%,2) @ROUND(A1*.08,2) 2.4
GST tax =ROUND(A1*7%,2) @ROUND(A1*.07,2) 2.1
amount tendered =SUM(A1:A3) @SUM(A1..A3) 34.45

[*] Old Tips

And, remember, never let a computer know you're in a hurry...


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Last updated: 29 January 1996

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