Bug skews numbers in Excel

A bug in Lotus Development's Notes 4.x's viewer eliminates the decimal points from custom formatted numbers in the Microsoft spreadsheets.

Lotus Development has confirmed reports of a bug in its Notes 4.x's viewer when displaying Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

As first reported by BugNet on Saturday, the problem appears when a user defines a custom number format in Excel. Some of the numbers will be inaccurate when displayed in Notes, Lotus' flagship groupware.

The Notes viewer eliminates decimal points from custom formatted numbers, thus multiplying the value of each decimal number by 100.

Affected versions of the spreadsheet include Excel 5, Excel 6, Excel 95, and Excel 97.

Lotus told CNET's NEWS.COM that it is aware of the bug and is currently trying to fix the problem. However, it doesn't see the patch becoming available until the fourth quarter, when it will be part of forthcoming Notes 4.5.4 and 4.6.1.

The Notes viewer is actually written by Boston-based Inso. A spokesperson from the company said the bug came to their attention some time ago.

Paul Lamoureux, a spokesman for Inso, said, "We've already taken care of the issue in our latest release of the viewer. Lotus has had that version for a while now, but it is up to them to use it when they deem fit."

For users not willing to wait until Q4, Lamoureux said Inso already has available a product that addresses the problem. QuickView Plus has all of Inso's latest viewer products and can be downloaded from the company's Web site for $49.