Excel Media Player, Floating Point and Shadows

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jethro's picture

Joseph Chirilov has written a series of 3 posts showing exactly how to build a fully functioning media player inside Excel.

If you want to try this then follow his step 1, step 2 and step 3. I would be interested in hearing from anybody who does that.


While we are talking about Joseph's site I want to highlight two other posts that are there.

The first is an in depth article explaining some of the mathematical errors that can occur in Excel related to a concept called floating point precision. While this has been know about for many years by the mathematics amongst us (Mark that's you) this article explains in great detail a complex subject as simply as possible. Excellent reading for anybody who struggles to understand why sometimes they get negative zeros or weird very low decimal answers results in cells.

One point he does miss, and its only kind of related so that's fair enough is when the binary calculations of a computer can cause Excel to go wrong.

For example 57.8 - 57.0 does not equal 0.8 as you would expect. This is a binary conversion rounding issue and Dick Kusleika has explained it previously on Daily Dose of Excel.


The second post is written by Helen Hosein, a program manager on the Microsoft Excel Team. Titled "Shadows on charts and cells in Excel 2007" it is well written and explains how to make the best use of the changes to this functionality between Excel 2003 and Excel 2007. Unfortunately it also highlights the lack of compatibility between the two versions. Once again (see my post about conditional formatting compatibility issues) my response has to be that if you operate in a multiple version environment then don't use it. However she does write a good article and I would recommend going though the steps to see just how you can add some cool visual effects in Excel 2007.