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Text in Excel-based forms appears as pound/number/hash signs (#####)

In some Excel-based documents (e.g., financial forms, some "Account" forms in Probate Law, or the HUD-1 form), if you enter text into a cell, when you leave the cell the text will change and be displayed only as a row of  pound signs (a.k.a. number signs or hash signs),  e.g., ########################.

In most cases, this means that the text or numbers entered are too small to fit in the cell. However, if you are entering text into a large multi-line cell, and you are using Excel 2007, this may be the result of a known bug in Microsoft Excel itself.

To work around this issue, you can change the formatting on the cell to "General" instead of "Text." To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Edit Document button to unlock the document so you can make changes to it.
  2. Right-click the cell with the pound signs in it, and choose Format Cell.
  3. On the left-hand side, choose "General" instead of "Text," then click OK.

Once you have done this, the text you entered should appear normally.

Note: this problem was fixed by Microsoft in Excel 2010 and later.

 

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