Simplifying fractions (architectural)


New Member
Jan 15, 2005
The old MSWorks (circa Windows 98) used to have a little check box in the formatting box, which, when checked, along with the sixteenths or 32nds format, would automatically simplify the fraction to the lowest denominator (8/16=4/8=2/4=1/2, 1/2 would automatically be displayed. All the newer versions don't have this. I finally broke down and bought Excel, and I still can't get it to do this. Calculated results like 34/256ths are of no use to me, and 12/16ths confuses my workers. I know the old Works did it just perfectly.
For those of us in manufacturing and construction who still work with English measurements, this is a huge PITA!! Help, please!!!

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Do you need to perfom calculations with these fractions, or do you just need to enter a fraction, and have it display in simplest form.

Could you perhaps display a snapshot of what you need using colo's HTML maker. (link at the bottom of the page)
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The problem at hand is being able to use the spreadsheet to calculate a size in a cutting list from other various parameters and formulae, and then having the resulting quantity display in an accuracy of 16ths. In the old Wors, I used to be able to pick "16ths" in the fraction subchoice and then click a box that simply said "simplify all fractions". It worked perfectly, and was **** handy, and required no more thought on my part when adjusting the list for a new product.
What has the world come to when people will accept a lazy answer like 6/16ths? Isn't this the kind of drudge work that computers were made to handle? Then Bill Gates wonders why people hate him....
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My suggestion would make it say 3/8 if you typed in 6/16.

Is this not what you wanted it to do?
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I'm not sure what you are experiencing, but I used your exact example of 6/16 and Excel converted it to 3/8ths without blinking.

One little, but valuable, trick some do not know is that if you enter:
0 6/16, that will set the cell to fraction format.
(That is: zero space 6/16 [Enter])
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But if the spreadsheet calculations result in a quantity that would be more accurately expressed as 365/765ths, that's what it will do (with ###/### formatting) as I said before, a wholly and completely useless number in the real world. I have figured out how to input in 16ths, eighths, etc. The problem is how to get the results into a usable english ruler based number.
In passing, I can understand wanting quantities in decimal form, and I really don't need a calculator to go from decimals to fractions in my head, but the feature was handy because the men in the shop like what they are used to, and we have fewer errors if we stick to the old system, which is prevalent in many industries.
I still have no idea what good a number like 345/734ths is to man or beast!!!
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In the Format Cells dialog box, in the left-most pane, is an option for "fraction." Once you choose that, you have the option of formatting. Have you tried that?
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First of all nbrcrunch:
Very cool way to input fractions.

Hmaster: I see your point, after doing calculations your result is not always an even multiple of 32. This does not always display the results as you wish.

I recommend:
1. inputing numbers as nbrcrunch as suggested, the number space the fraction.

2. Display your results, by using vlookup with a chart like that below. (however keep in mind that the results of my formula below produce text and are not readily manipulated in calculations, that is why I recommend using different cells for your calculations results and the results people actually get to see.) Anyway here is my two cents.
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Using the seperate column method and by applying MROUND(??, .0625) to the output from the first column, and then using the 2-digit fraction setting, I have managed to get the result I want. This, of course makes the spreadsheet twice as complex and large, and is really exasperating when the old crappy software did it automatically.
I was really hoping someone was going to come up with a cheat code, like the ones so prevalent in autocad (I guess so you take their courses), or tell me the magic stupid thing I was doing, so I could stop doing it. It looks, however, like this is a tougher nut to crack, so I guess I'll have to resort to this double effort. Maybe I'll try my hand at a custom function!!! Or possibly a macro!!!! Lord, it's been years!!!
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