Finding and Fixing “Unwanted Dates” with Fractional Data in Sheets

So, I’ve been tasked with sorting a bunch of data that all has to do with measurements… the only problem is, some of it is fractional, some of it is decimal, and some of it is metric. Which creates a couple of separate issues but right now I’m just going to talk about checking for a specific character in a cell.

Decimal Conversion Chart

So, I’ve got this fancy chart for doing my conversions, and my plan is to use the FILTER function so that I can convert them all to decimal… because Sheets does some weird stuff with fractions. For this example I’m going to add the inch symbol to my fractional using this formula:

=A2&”””

This returns the contents of cell A2, and adds the inch marker to the right, like so.

Perfect. Right? What about the fractions of less that 31 that could be easily read as dates?

Highlighted Cells that give undesired result.

Now we’re just going to take the visually simplest route to figure out which cells need fixed, because they all sort of blend together. I’m going to use this formula:

=IF(SEARCH(“/”,CELL),””,””)

You don’t need the IF function, I just wanted any cells that contained the forward slash to return no result. Anything that doesn’t will error out, like so…

Use #VALUE! error to see cells that don’t fraction

So, now that we have those blocks sorted out we can use a different formula on them, to clear the year from their date formatting, and replace it with the inch mark.

=SUBSTITUTE(CELL,”/2020″,””)&””””

Giving us the desired result… and fixing the #VALUE! error…

The story goes on from here, as I begin sorting my blend of Fractional, Decimal and Metric numbers, but I won’t bore you with that for now.

Split & Trim with Google Sheets using ArrayFormula

The issue is white space.

=split(CELL,”DELIMITER”)

Using the standard SPLIT formula, to get an unwanted white space at the beginning of each cell. Now, I don’t know about you, but that drives me absolutely nuts, and I’m always forgetting the fix. Ultimately, running through this sequence… over and over and over…

In the following example, I’m attempting to use a formula to split the Category column (K), into its subcategories.

Using the standard SPLIT formula you can see, I’m getting an extra white space at the beginning of each cell in columns D, E & F.

=split(K8,”||”)

It seems that adding an extra space to the end of the delimiter would fix this, only that splits it at every space. I still try to do this sometimes, even though it always fails.

=split(K8,”|| “)

Using TRIM with the formula only returns the data up to the first SPLIT, though I frequently repeat this mistake.

=trim(split(K8,”||”))

We’re so close here, we’re just missing the ARRAYFORMULA function. (ArrayFormula) “Enables the display of values returned from an array formula into multiple rows and/or columns and the use of non-array functions with arrays.” So, in this case, it basically allows you to apply the TRIM function to each cell populated by your SPLIT.

=ArrayFormula(trim(split(K8,”||”)))