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I am using Excel 2008 for Mac (I am also trying to work using the newest version of Excel on my computer, but it keeps crashing).

When I open the spreadsheet that I need to work from, some of the cells seem to contain too many characters, and are converted to "#" symbols:

enter image description here

The data in the cell is supposed to be text with snippets of code (the % symbol appears as well as @ symbols).

I tried expanding the size of the cells, but it didn't change anything. I cannot find much help online about this version of Excel, but following this answer, I decided to ask it here.

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What kind of data displays in the problem cell(s) formula bar? Is it a number? Also is the cell formatted for the correct data type (e.g. number, text)? – BrianC Mar 8 at 21:32
@BrianC see edits. I don't know how to check the cell format – fabrice d Mar 8 at 21:47
Highlight the cell(s) > "Format" menu > "Cells..." > On the "Number" tab, select "Text". If "Text" is already selected, try "General" and see if it makes any difference. – BrianC Mar 8 at 21:53
@BrianC can you make this an answer? Selecting "General" worked. – fabrice d Mar 8 at 22:13
I actually like SuperSam's answer, it's essentially the same but he actually explains why that would work. – BrianC Mar 8 at 23:12

Excel can store about 32,000 text characters in a cell, but it can only display up to 255 characters if the cell is formatted as text. If the cell contains more than 255 characters and the cell is formatted as text, then the hash marks are displayed. The solution is to change the format of the cell to general; then the text will display as you expect. You should also note that you might see hash marks appear if you change the size of the font used in a cell. Change the font to a larger size, and Excel may not be able to display the value horizontally. If you can't widen the column then consider making the font smaller so that Excel can make the full value visible.

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