Changing a Range of Cells' Data Type

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Spreadsheet.com goes beyond text and numbers with support for over 25 rich data types. See our article on Changing Data Types for general information on changing data types, or articles on changing a cell's data types or a column's, as needed.

Setting data types for ranges of cells allows you to customize parts of worksheets. For instance, in the "Error Location" column of your team's bug tracking worksheet, you might enable some users to type where (in the mobile app) an error occurred, rather than require them to submit a URL (as they might for a bug with the web app). 

How to Change the Data Type for a Range of Cells

To change the data type of a range of cells, select the range you'd like to change, right-click on that range, and select Edit data type... An Edit data type dialog box will appear for those cells. In this dialog box, you set the Data Type and will see the corresponding settings for each data type. 

Edit_Range_Data_Type.gif

For instance, in the animation above, we have task end dates and want to specify their end time as well, whereas other activities are okay with just a date. So we select the corresponding range of cells and change their data type from Date to Date & time.

Different data types will have different possible settings, though all data types (except Automatic) allow you to restrict the data in that range to only data of that data type. For instance, restricting an Attachment range prevents users from typing text in addition to adding files.

Once complete, click Update to change the range data type.

Changing a Cell in a Strict Range

Cells that are already part of a range of Strict cells can still be changed. However, a warning like the following will appear:

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To continue, click Ok and the Edit data type dialog box will appear. 

Changing Strict Columns

Cells in Strict columns cannot be changed without first changing the column. If you try to change the data type of cells in a Strict Column, you will get an error message like the following:

mceclip1.png

To edit these cells, you will need to update the corresponding column (in the error message above, this is column D) and turn off the Strict restriction.

Changing Cells in the Primary Column

Cells in the Primary Column are restricted to alphanumeric data types. If you try to change these cells, you will see fewer data type options.

Converting Between Data Types

When changing data types, data already in cells may be converted to the new data type. Please see our article on Converting Between Data Types for more insight into how data of one type converts to another.

Undoing Changes

Like most other changes in Spreadsheet.com, you can undo a change in data type. To undo, either select Undo in the toolbar mceclip0.png or type Ctrl + Z (CMD + Z for Mac users). Undoing edits to a range of cell's data type will restore the range to its previous data type.

Converting from one data type to another often results in changes to the underlying data. Check out our article on converting between data types for more insight, or check out all of the 25+ possible data types you can utilize in our Data Type articles.