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Mathmatical errors in Apple Numbers program and Apple Calculator

286 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Feb 12, 2013 12:31 PM by Jeffrey Jones2 RSS
brianfromsooke Calculating status...
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Feb 10, 2013 11:57 AM

I have a Mac Book Pro with Mountain Lion OS. Has anyone had an issue with entering numbers in the cells for Numbers? When you enter a 16 digit number, it takes every value of the 16th digit and replaces it with a zero! Also try this-go to the Apple Calculator in the Applications directory and enter a number with a decimal point. On my entry of 45 plus a decimal point, I would get 45.00. Any digit after this such as 2 would yield 45.002. It automatically inserts two zeros! I may be doing something wrong but after using a calculator and spreadsheet for some years now, it would seem that this is a fairly simply process of entering numbers. Any agreements or solutions to this. I also had this problem with the earlier OS versions too. I contacted Apple but go no response to these questions.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)

    Good find! That definitely appears to be a bug in the program. Entering the following number:




    results in the program converting it to the following each time:




    Grantend significant digits might be arguable, but it should definitely not change the value of the entered number. I'd send Apple feedback about this bug here:

  • Jeffrey Jones2 Level 6 Level 6 (8,425 points)

    It's not a bug, it's a limitation. Integers that big are not supported. They are almost certainly stored as double precision floating point numbers.


    I cannot reproduce the second issue. I can enter 45.2 with no problem.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)

    Ah good point. I'm not a programmer, but in reading that value is at most 2^52 (with sign and exponent bits removed), resulting in a maximum number that has 16 places, so above this will be truncated. Hopefully a switch to 64-bit from its current 32-bit coding will fix the issue.


    Nevertheless, given it handles them as input without any warning suggests it can still be considered a bug. Apple should update this to handle any supplied number, or impose a warning about such limits when large enough numbers are entered.

  • Jeffrey Jones2 Level 6 Level 6 (8,425 points)

    A credit card number isn't really a "number" in the sense that you would not multiply or divide it. It is a string of text whose characters all happen to be digits (or digits and spaces, the way credit card numbers are usually formatted). Format the cell as text, and enter as many digits as you want.


    Numbers is not intended for ultra-high precision computation. It's a pretty esoteric mathematical application that would require more than 15 digits of input data. For what it's worth, Excel behaves exactly the same way.


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