Microsoft fixes Excel calculation bug

Patch not yet pushed to Windows Update, however

Microsoft this week patched a bug in Excel 2007 that displayed wrong values for calculations around a pair of numbers, and said it would push the fixes through Windows Update as soon as possible.

The bug, which Microsoft acknowledged two weeks ago, displays 100,000 as the result of calculations that should instead show either 65,535 or 65,536. The error, Microsoft claimed last month, is not in Excel's calculations, but in the code that takes resulting values and formats them before they're displayed in a cell on the spreadsheet. Only the newest version, Excel 2007, and its online cousin, SharePoint's Excel Services 2007, contain the bug.

Fixes for the bug, as well as documentation logged into Microsoft's support database, have been posted to the company's download site, with links available on Microsoft's Excel blog. The download for Excel 2007 is a substantial 32.5MB.

"We are in the process of adding this fix to Microsoft Update so that it will get automatically pushed to users running Excel 2007 or Excel Services 2007," said David Gainer, the program's lead project manager, on the team's blog. The patch was not among the non-security updates included with yesterday's bulletins, however. Gainer also noted that the hotfix would be added to the first service pack for Office 2007, although Microsoft has said nothing about its work on Office 2007 SP1, or its release date.

The next regularly scheduled update is Nov. 13, but Microsoft has also taken to rolling out non-security hotfixes, especially for newer products such as Windows Vista, on the last Thursday of each month. This month, that day will be Oct. 25.

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Gregg Keizer

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