End-users of a system we are developing are given a plain-old CSV file that end users will be opening in MS Excel. One of the columns will contain entries which consist of strings of numeric digits. These are not numbers but rather identifiers. We have noticed that the default formatting applied to this column causes the entries to be interpreted as large numbers which are subsequently rendered in scientific notation. Already, this is a bad user experience - but wait, it gets disastrous. Upon saving the file, the data is apparently being interpreted as a single-precision floating-point value and all digits after the 6th are being truncated completely. If the user changes the formatting so that the column displays properly before saving, Excel does not exhibit this behavior and the data is not corrupted upon saving.
I have found that either (1) changing the format of the column or (2) disabling formula evaluation keep both problems from happening.
Now, my question: is it possible to take either of the above actions, or some other action that will prevent the problems noted above, by default upon opening a CSV-type file in MS Excel? Note that it would probably be an impossibly hard sell to get the client to agree that end users have to disable formula execution for all files, including Excel-formatted files. Is there some way to set global settings? Some way to configure how CSVs in particular are treated? Some way to distribute a macro to users' Excel installations which run on all opened CSV files?