Importing data from Google Sheets -- alphanumeric fields being converted to dates

Howdy – I’m playing around with Grist for the first time. My data has some alphanumeric fields that are coded as P#####, so I have P0001 and P0239 for example. Another column has codes like A01, A02, etc.

Grist is importing these as dates in the YYYY-MM-DD format. How can I fix this? I’d prefer not to manipulate the data itself, since these fields show up in many places throughout the data set.

P0007 is reading in as 0007-01-01
A02 is reading in as 2002-01-01

I did look through data types, but I’m confused why these aren’t reading in as Text (which is listed as the default!) instead of dates, which I wouldn’t expect to come up with the alpha characters to begin with.


Edit to add: I imported from both Excel (workbook and csv) and Google Drive.

Hi @Jordan_Stoeger. Welcome to the community.

We’ve been working on improvements to type guessing and conversion of text values, which include doing a better job at discerning between dates and non-dates. Unfortunately, those improvements haven’t yet made their way to imports, but we definitely know how frustrating it can be when data isn’t imported the way you expect (we’ve been bitten by this same bug as well).

If there aren’t too many columns that were incorrectly set as date columns, one thing you could try is setting the columns back to text manually, and doing a bulk copy/paste of the column(s) from Excel. In Grist, if you select the first cell of a column and type the paste shortcut, it should fill the rest of the column down. You can select multiple adjacent cells in the first row by clicking and dragging, and pasting will fill all the selected columns.

Sorry about the inconvenience. I’ll bring this issue up in the next meeting with the team and see if we can bump the priority.


Thanks! I messed around with it. I’d say it’s definitely a barrier to entry but I’ve made progress!

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Hey @Jordan_Stoeger, just wanted to let you know that we’ve recently landed the improvements I mentioned earlier to imports. Non-dates being guessed as dates should hopefully now be a thing of the past, but please feel free to let us know if you continue to run into issues with your data being imported incorrectly.