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Number and Fraction Format

Joe Crowel
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2017 Posts

We currently use a considerable number of sheets that need numbers to read as fractions.  (Construction/Exhibit Industry for dimensions) Unfortunately, if you type out a number as a fraction it cannot be used in formula.  Excel can translate easily between decimal and fractional display with cell formatting.


Will there be a function to allow this in the near future?  Possibly a column property that forces entries to be numbers, but in different different formats?


  • Richard Rymill SBP
    Richard Rymill SBP ✭✭✭✭✭✭


    that is an interesting requirement, I have not come across that one before and we do a lot with the construction industry. Maybe we have not been listening to the right people or one off our people has had this question? 

    I am fairly sure we can come up with a workaround for you on this, I will share it with our team at SBP. 

    If you can give more detail and describe the scenario, that would help? 


  • Of course.


    In our case we work in the Exhibit Construction industry.  As such, we need to communicate build and frame sizing to multiple locations and to multiple stakeholders. This includes fabrication managers, account executives, designers, architects, etc..

    All of these individuals need the dimensions for their builds/pieces to be in fractions. For example if we have a build manager on a remote site needing to put up a framed graphic on the fly, it's unlikely they will have a tape measure that reads in decimals.  All of our constructs are build and billed in a fractional format.


    I can give you more specifics if it would help, but ultimately we generate our work orders off of a list of frame sizes that are built in a shop or at remote locations using fractional measurements.

  • Richard Rymill SBP
    Richard Rymill SBP ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Ok Joe, thanks for that extra info. My Colleague Graig Williams is travelling just now but is probably the best person to see what we can come up with. 

    Ill ask him to get back to you. 


  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Craig is here.


    To convert between text (like 10' 1/4") to a number for calculations, you'll need to parse the text into something looking like a number (10' 1/4" is 10.02073 feet or 120.25 inches). Once you have the number as text, in the formulas it is converted to a number using the VALUE() function.

    The trick is to be consistent. Likely this will be easier with one or more additional (hidden) columns to handle the behind the scenes calculations and translations.


    I'd need to have some questions answered to provide a more detailed solution.

    How is the data entered?

    How consistent is it? If "not very", then how easy to make it so?




    Hope this gets you started.

    Contact Richard if you'd like us to help set something up for you.



  • Richard Rymill SBP
    Richard Rymill SBP ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you Craig!


  • As much as I would like to build a full data structure to augment this process, we have a tendency to cycle through too many sheets in different formats for it to be an efficient method for our purposes.  Even though we use a couple of templates for initializing sheets, our requirements and sheet designs vary too much to use without a built in solution.


    I guess I'm just surprised that there is decimal place and number format (with commas) functionality, but not one to display in fractional format.

  • Our situation is very similar: Our company specializes in Fabricated, Kinetic Architectural components for both High-end Residential, Industrial, and Commercial applications, and within the construction industry. 

    As such, we need to communicate construction/fabrication values for locations all of our projects and interested parites. This effort includes our own Fabrication/Production managers, Fabrication Staff, Installers, Field Technicians, Project managers, Estimators (being me) plus Architects, Engineers, and Site personnel from a range of trades on each of our job sites.

    Similarly, these folks listed above rely on standardized Imperial call-outs. Rarely do we work in decimal specifications since it isn't general practice in the construction trades so much as in the Engineering trades.

    I've been playing with smartsheets today and while it performs well using decmial equivalents, it also means that we are creating redundant efforts to conver fractions to decimals for the sole purpose of getting smartsheets to function at a level commensurate with our goals. It's a terribly inefficient process.

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