Minor Y2K Fix for Excel 98 — Microsoft Corporation has released a minor update to Excel 98 for Macintosh to address a problem exporting date information to text files using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Dates with four-digit years will be exported using two-digit years, meaning century information about the dates is lost. Depending on how the data is subsequently used, this may cause date problems: for instance, Excel 98 assumes two-digit years 00 to 29 are in the 21st century, so any dates pointing to the years 1900 through 1929 would be misinterpreted by Excel if they were exported to a text file using VBA, and re-imported into Excel 98. Other applications may interpret two digit years as being in the 20th century, while some use varying "date windows" for interpreting two-digit years. (See "Parsing Like It’s 1999" in TidBITS-475 for more details.) This issue applies only to dates with four-digit years exported to text files using VBA: no other instance of saving or exporting Excel data is affected. Microsoft’s Excel 98 Y2K Update is available for English language versions of Office 98, either as a new part of its Mac OS 9 Updater for Office 98 released earlier this month, or separately as an 818K download for those who have already installed the Mac OS 9 update. Microsoft says versions for non-English versions of Office 98 should be forthcoming. [GD]
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