Microsoft KB Archive/168707

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Knowledge Base

Article ID: 168707

Article Last Modified on 10/21/2000


  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q168707


If you have formula that is referencing a cell containing a time value, the formula may return an unexpected value. For example, if you have the following data in Sheet1 of your workbook

   A1: 12:00 AM   B1: a   C1: 1:00 AM   D1: =VLOOKUP(C1,A1:B5,2,FALSE)
   A2: 12:30 AM   B2: b
   A3:  1:00 AM   B3: c
   A4:  1:30 AM   B4: d
   A5:  2:00 AM   B5: e

the value returned by the VLOOKUP formula in cell D1 may be #N/A.


You may experience this problem if the times that your formula references were created by the fill-down feature in Microsoft Excel. In the example in the "Symptoms" section, you would have manually typed the times into cells A1 and A2, but you used the fill-down feature to create the times in cells A3, A4, and A5.


To resolve this issue, you can either manually re-enter your times, or you can use the Precision As Displayed option on the Calculation tab in the Options dialog box.

To turn on the Precision As Displayed option for the active workbook, follow these steps:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Calculation tab in the Options dialog box.
  3. Click to select the Precision As Displayed check box, and click OK. Note that you receive the following warning:

    Data will permanently lose accuracy.

  4. Click OK.

NOTE: When you change the precision of the calculations in a workbook by using the displayed (formatted) values, Microsoft Excel permanently changes any constant values on all worksheets in the workbook. If you later choose to calculate with full precision, the original underlying values cannot be restored.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in the Microsoft products listed at the beginning of this article.


For more information about the Fill-Down feature, click the Index tab in Microsoft Excel Help, type the following text

filling cells, series

and then double-click the selected text to go to the "Fill in a series of numbers, dates, or other items" topic.

Additional query words: 97 XL97

Keywords: kbbug KB168707