WTF is Excell doing NOW?

OK I know I can go on a bit about Microsoft products, but they just keep doing things for no apparent reason. Here’s the latest.

I open Excel 2010 and import a .txt file like I always do. Normally I get as many columns as I indicate by clicking on the column start points in fixed-format upload. Today however, I’m getting zillions of extra columns. The last data column is N. The file contains columns out to XFD – which slows things doen noticably.

Is there any way to make it stop putting in the extra columns? Is there any way of keeping the extra columns gone after they’ve been deleted (and the file saved)?

OK, it’s not just annoying. A large file becomes too large. Excel says it doesn’t have the resources to delete the extraneous columns. I’ve tried restarting the computer, but this new ‘feature’ of Excel, whereby it adds as many columns as it can, won’t go away.

how is the data in the text file delimited?

What do you mean by “The file contains columns out to XFD?”

For the time being, I would just copy the actual data into a new, blank workbook.

Excel labels columns by letters, as you move further out it starts combining letters. So you get A to Z, then AA to ZZ, then AAA to ZZZ as your columns go to the right.

Not out to ZZZ, actually. The last available column in Excel 2007+ is XFD, which happens to coincide with the last column in the OP’s worksheet.

In any workbook, if you hold down control and hit the right arrow a few times, the cursor will be placed in column XFD. This doesn’t mean that all of the columns will be stored in the file, though. So when the OP said “The last data column is N. The file contains columns out to XFD …”, I though that this might need some clarification.

The text file is not delimited. It’s a fixed-position text file. I import it into Excel by clicking on the positions in the file where I want a new cell. For example, I might place a line at pos. 12, then another at 52, and so on.

Let me see if I can elaborate on what’s happening. I import the file, and there are as many columns as I’ve defined. So far, so good. I select the first record by clicking to the left of column A. Then I Cntl+Shift+Doen arrow to select the last record before a blank record and sort on a column. This is where it gets weird. Upon sorting, I suddenly have a gazillion columns. On a smaller file, I can delete them and save the file. when I save the file, the extraneous columns are not saved. (But they come back if I sort again.) On a larger file (i.e., more rows), Excel says there’s not enough space to delete them.

This bizarrety just started today.

I can confirm this problem also. I have an Excel spread sheet that I use every day. As of a few days ago it has acquired a seemingly infinite number of empty columns to the right of the data.

To clarify – if I go ctrl/end I will move to the last populated cell. So it does know where this is. However if I select the entire spread sheet (click in the top left corner) for a sort it selects and sorts all of the columns including a vast number of empty columns (I am guessing out to the excel limit). This sort takes some time. Until a few days ago selecting the entire spread sheet would only select to the last populated cell.

(I need to select the entire spread sheet in order to do a sort because it may have an empty column in the populated area.)

If I use the find function it also now takes a long time where as it did not previously. I am guessing it is now looking in the empty columns.

The horizontal scroll bar is pretty much usless now as the area to the right is so vast only a tiny movement will scroll past the populated section of the spread sheet.

I have tried copying the data and putting it into a new spread sheet but this does not help. I also created a simple spread sheet with a few cells and it has the same problem.

I did install a routine MS update recently and this change may have been caused by that.

I’m not aware of installing anything, but MS is tricky and will install stuff if you sneeze.

I asked our IT guy to look at it (and I showed him what’s happening), and he didn’t get back to me before I left. Excel is still making things difficult today.

I am having the same problem, exactly as described by njb110. I am a hardcore Excel user and I’ve never seen symptoms like this before. The problem started for me on Friday (5/11).

I am running Excel 2010, but I have access to 2007 on a few other machines. I will do some testing and see if I can duplicate the problem on other computers.

njb110, can you let me know what version of Excel you’re running?

I’ve got promising news:

It looks like uninstalling the “Security Update for Microsoft Excel 2010 (KB2597166)” does the trick. I just uninstalled and tested it, and Excel is back to working flawlessly!

I am running 2010 (v 14.6106.5005) and I cannot reproduce this problem. My IT does not usually push updates until they have been out for a while so it is possible I will have this problem in a couple of months…

Sounds like there is an answer. Otherwise, I’d suggest pasting into notepad and then C&P into Excel, just to be safe.

That worked!

See, this is why I prefer Apple products…

Thanks for finding that.

Thanks guys. Looks like the update problem. Presumably MS will come out with another update that will fix it. I am using office 2010.