Issue 68636 - Checkbox "Save cell contents as shown" should be unchecked as standard
Summary: Checkbox "Save cell contents as shown" should be unchecked as standard
Alias: None
Product: Calc
Classification: Application
Component: ui (show other issues)
Version: OOo 2.0.3
Hardware: PC All
: P3 Trivial with 4 votes (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Keywords: oooqa
: 68871 (view as issue list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2006-08-15 10:04 UTC by hvbakel
Modified: 2013-08-07 15:12 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description hvbakel 2006-08-15 10:04:37 UTC
I often work with csv files containing high-precision numeric data (10 decimals
or so) generated by statistical software. When I open these files in calc it
automatically rounds these numbers to 2 decimals for display purposes, while
still maintaining the underlying high-precision numbers. However, when I save
the file after editing (again in csv format) it only saves the rounded numbers.

I believe this is caused by the calc feature "Save cell content as shown", which
is by default enabled in the dialog window that appears when I select 'Save file
as' -> text(csv). Unfortunately this same window only appears if I am currently
working on a openoffice calc file, not with an opened csv file.

I believe two things need to be changed:
1) The default behaviour of saving csv files must be to save the original data,
not the 'data as shown' because this can lead to serious data loss. At the very
least, this behaviour should be configurable in the calc settings.
2) The 'Export of text files' dialog window should always appear when selecting
'save file as' and selecting 'text(csv)' as file format.

To reproduce:
1) open a CSV files that contains numeric data with more than 2 decimals
2) Save the same CSV file again and notice how all data is now rounded to 2
Comment 1 hvbakel 2006-08-15 10:28:07 UTC
Ok, I found that it is possible to get the 'Export of text files' dialog for
opened csv files if I first select the 'edit filter settings' checkbox in the
save-as dialog. Regardless of this, I still believe that the default behaviour
of calc should always be to save the complete, unrounded data to prevent data
loss, and make it optional to only save the data 'as displayed'.
Comment 2 Rainer Bielefeld 2006-08-15 16:24:13 UTC
I checked with "2.0.2  German version WIN XP: [680m5(Build9011)]" and was not
able to reproduce any problem, because option "Save cell content as shown" does
not exist yet in this version.

I checked with "2.0.X  German version WIN XP: [680m180(Build9056)]" and was able
to reproduce the dataloss. Checkbox "Save cell contents as shown" is always
checked, and has to be unchecked newly for each new file that is to be saved as
".csv". That's dangerous and might cause dataloss.

I belieev checkbox "Save cell contents as shown" should be unchecked as standard
and if wanted it should work so that it must be checked all times nely for a new
"save as .csv" 

Pls. specify your OS and Platform!
Comment 3 ooo 2006-08-16 00:41:50 UTC
@Rainer: Export as displayed is a new feature as of OOo2.0.3, see and

The default "enabled" was chosen on purpose because that is what most people
expect, see specification and issue 4925.

If precision of the underlying values is needed, a corresponding number format
can be applied. There is a request for enhancement (RFE) to automatically
display the precision according to the value, see issue 46511.
Comment 4 ooo 2006-08-16 00:42:23 UTC
Comment 5 Rainer Bielefeld 2006-08-16 06:42:32 UTC
You are right, it's some more sophisticated than I thought. Saving with checked
"Save cell contents as shown" can cause precision dataloss, saving without
checked box can cause dataloss concerning formatting, what might be even more
serious. I don't believe that there can be a really "simple" solution, so for
first let it be how it is.
Comment 6 hvbakel 2006-08-16 09:33:04 UTC
Ok, I can understand the reason why this option was added, but I think it is
problematic to have it enabled by default. To me, the fact that OO decides to
display only two decimals (by default) has more to do with visual formatting
than with the actual underlying data. If you look at how the data is saved in
opendocument format there is also a clear distinction between formatting and the
actual underlying data. If an ods file would loose all decimals by default upon
saving there would be a riot...

If I consider the case where I open a csv file with a data matrix of 10x40,000
and I edit two cells and then save the data, I expect only the two cells that I
edited to have changed, not to have lost all the precision in the rest of the
data as well. This just doesn't make sense, especially since there is no warning
whatsoever that this is going to happen. Two cells changed should mean only two
changes in the file, not the added 'bonus' of having all other data modified.

To be honest, I just don't see much advantage of saving the data 'as shown',
because even if I save high-precision data and re-open it again in openoffice,
it will again show the data formatted the same as before (there is consistency
for the user when re-opening the same file, regardless of precision). So this
feature only affects how the data looks when you open it in another application.
In that respect, stripping all precision data by default just seems like a very
bad idea.

Based on the above, I'd really like to see this issue reopened
Comment 7 hvbakel 2006-08-17 13:58:33 UTC
see comment above
Comment 8 frank 2006-08-22 14:45:36 UTC
one for the requirements team
Comment 9 Regina Henschel 2006-08-22 20:39:52 UTC
*** Issue 68871 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 10 lesha 2007-01-21 22:18:02 UTC
I think this bug should be re-opened. Here's why.

A common use for OO (and CSV) has got to be accounting-type calculations, where
everything is rounded to 2 decimal places. In this case, the default of "Save
cell contents as shown" makes sense. 

Another (possibly less common, but nonetheless important) use is scientific, or
otherwise high-precision calculations. In this case CSV export is also far more
important, because that's often the easiest way to transfer data to/from custom
applications. The current setup fails miserably in this regard:
 a) Excel, last I checked, preserves all decimal places by default. So, 
    people who are coming from Excel are unaware of the problem.
 b) Data loss occurs, but it mightn't be immediately apparent. People waste a 
    lot of time as a result. 
 c) The checkbox is not easy to notice. An inattentive or unsophisticated user 
    will conclude that OpenOffice CSV export is broken, and will likely go right 
    back to Excel. 
 d) If need full precision, the odds are that you need it all the time. 
    Remembering to uncheck the box, and making those extra clicks, is a 
So, to summarize, this checkbox is terrible for people who care about decimal

In contrast, somebody doing accounting type math:
 a) (I surmise) does not need CSV export as often.
 b) Does not suffer a major setback when a CSV is saved with full decimal 
 c) Can achieve the desired effect even without finding the checkbox: by 
    using ROUND, by doing search-and-replace in a text editor, by hand.

So, the current state of affairs royally screws a (smaller?) group of people,
and gives a small benefit to (larger?) group of people. 

I propose a variation on hvbakel's suggestions. The save dialog should look like
this when CSV file type is selected:

File list [...]

File name:

File type:

[x] Automatic file name extension
[ ] Save with password /grayed out/
[ ] Save cell contents as shown (may lose decimal places)
    /after the initial install, this is *off*; 
     the checkbox remembers its state between save dialogs/

|> More options

This is an expanding pane, instead of the silly dialog. It is hidden in the
initial install, but it remembers its state (hidden/shown) from one save dialog
to the next. It contains:

Character set [...]
Field delimiter:
Text delimiter:
[ ] Fixed column width

This modification addresses:
 a) Dataloss by default
 b) Discoverability of the option
 c) Annoyance at having to set the option to your preferred value every time

I also snuck in "change dialog to a pane", but this is optional. 
It's certainly better for people with a reasonably large screen (1024x768).
It should be usable at smaller resolutions too, provided the layout is done 
Comment 11 muthusuba 2007-07-06 15:50:17 UTC
Is this duplicate of 3687?
Comment 12 muthusuba 2007-07-06 15:51:27 UTC
duplicate of issue 3687 i.e.?
Comment 13 lesha 2007-07-07 01:43:38 UTC
Fixing 3687 would make this bug less of an annoyance. However, I think that
there's an independent aspect of this bug that needs to be tackled -- data loss
by default. I see two options (the first one is better in my opinion):

1) Change the default to preserve all digits (see my previous comment: Excel
compatibility, harmless, easy to work around even without the box).

2) Make it READILY APPARENT that leaving this option checked will discard data. 
E.g.: Save cell contents as shown ([bold]precision will be lost[/bold])

I think it's necessary to warn the user that the default (currently) settings
lead to data loss. 

Comment 14 muthusuba 2007-07-09 07:14:08 UTC
  see issue 4925 - people wanted something contradictory to point (1).

saving of options should be the best choice (as mentioned in issue 3687) - this
would also solve point (1).

'save as shown' => precision will be lost :) but adding a warning should be easy
- we need to probably ask the UI team.

Comment 15 lesha 2007-07-12 19:46:55 UTC
Okay, I see that there has been an explicit request to discard digits (abeelias
in issue 4925). So, I don't think it's worth fighting over the default at this
point, although once issue 3687 is resolved. However, once it's fixed, I think
it might be better to switch to the "safer" default of not discarding digits.

How is the following?

This bug can be closed when issue 3687 is resolved, and when a UI warning is added. 
Comment 16 discoleo 2008-10-30 00:37:29 UTC
It seems that issue 4925 was more about formatting as money and as date, which
are separate data types by the way. It was a tragic decision that ordinary
numbers got chopped as well. Calc basically lost with one move all the
scientific community.
Comment 17 katzlbt 2009-06-03 11:17:35 UTC
This issue has caused me many hours of work, especially since precision data
loss is hardly discoverable. I frequently use CSV as exchange format for
latitude longitude coordinates, so a truncation to 2 digits shifts all locations
by a few 100 meters each. If one infrequently works with OO this always leads to
data loss and requires lots of diagnostic and data recovery time.

I do not see any use-case or application that would benefit from rounded CSV
output data.

OO Spreadsheet is a not-recommended tool for our customers until this is fixed,
even though it excels in UTF-8 handling and CSV reading capabilities.

Data loss without *HUGE* warning or alaert panel is not acceptable.

1. Import the CSV with all digits shown by default. If rounding is desired the
CSV should already be rounded. Make no assumptions about the imported data.
2. Export with a HUGE warning that precision loss may occur.
Comment 18 langerz 2009-12-28 08:36:27 UTC
This also causes me much more additional work as what a normal save operation
should be done in one Ctrl+S shortcut, has now become a 4 click operation with
unacceptable delays in between.

I'm considering rolling back to an old version that did not have issue.