Re: Excel reads numeric cells in column E as exponents rather than cell value

Quentin Christensen


Well spotted, and interesting pickup.  This is exactly why NVDA itself doesn't try to interpret information, but simply present it as it is displayed.  Many synthesizers do try to interpret data, which is where you end up with St being read as "street" when it is actually used in the context of "saint" or dr for Doctor instead of drive.

In this case, it is processing the whole string (value and cell coordinates) as one piece of information: 1.24E4 is read as the scientific formatted number "1.24 times 10 to the power of 4".  If the value was in the cell above it is read as "1.24 times 10 cubed" or in E2 as "1.24 times 10 squared".  It is interesting to note that this affects the OneCore voices, and even then only some of them.  On my system, I have ten OneCore voices.  Of those:
- David, Zira and Mark interpret the coordinates as you encountered
- George, Catherine, Hazel, Susan, Linda, Richard or James, simply read it as it should be read: 1.24 E4

I just checked and of the David, Hazel and Zira Microsoft Speech API version 5 voices I have, David reads it as a scientific number, but Hazel and Zira both read 1.24 E4.

I will raise this with Microsoft and look to see if we can do anything with how we format the string, maybe we can put a comma in-between the pieces of information.

On Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 9:47 PM Rick <softwarethatworks@...> wrote:

Hello NVDA List:


The other day I was reading an Excel  spreadsheet sent to me by a colleague. It had numeric values in column E. When reading these cells with Microsoft One Core voices (I am using Microsoft David) the cell name was read as an exponent to the power of 10. For instance, if the value 1.24 was present in cell E4, the speech produced, “1.24 time 10 to the power of 4” rather than 1.24 E4. This does not happen when using Espeak voices or SAPI 5 voices. Note, if the number in the cell is the result of a formula and not a direct value, the phrase, “has formula” is inserted between the number and the cell name, so it works as expected (i.e. 1.24 has formula E4).


Note: This does not happen using Narrator, since Narrator reads the cell name first.


I am running the latest released copy of NVDA, Office 365 desktop apps and Windows 10 Professional.




Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager

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