Some Things I Learned Lately

Some Things I Learned Lately

Seems like every day I pick up something new. So I thought I’d make a quick list of stuff I’ve learned lately.

1) XMLAGG in Teradata
Teradata’s handy XMLAGG function lets lets you flatten a column of data into a delimited list, thereby avoiding recursion. Oracle, to which I’m migrating, also has an XMLAGG function but the closer, and better-named, equivalent seems to be LISTAGG. The Teradata documentation is consistently terrible, so instead I’ll link to this Stack Overflow answer from the worthy dnoeth.

2) 64-bit Office Text File Connection Strings
While updating a fancy data-sucking addin I got an error message that my data connection was broke. Turns out MS changed the ODBC connection string for 64-bit ever so slightly from:

Driver={Microsoft Text Driver (*.txt; *.csv)};Dbq=c:\txtFilesFolder\;Extensions=asc,csv,tab,txt;


Driver=Microsoft Access Text Driver (*.txt, *.csv);Dbq=c:\txtFilesFolder\;Extensions=asc,csv,tab,txt;

There’s two differences. The addition of the word “Access” was quickly apparent when looking at this site. The second one took me some time to spot. Can you see it? Yup, they changed the semicolon after “*.txt” to a comma. I think it looks a lot better.

3) Format vs WorksheetFunction.Text in VBA to Mimic Cell Formats
I’ve done a couple of posts that attempt to give you a sneak preview of how different formats will look when applied to cells. I was using my ActiveCell Viewer to preview different date formats for a cell. The Viewer used the VBA Format function. I noticed that in some cases it returned text that isn’t what you get in a cell with that formatting.

For instance, below I’ve applied a formatting of an increasing number of “d”s to a date. With formatting of two to four “d”s the two outputs match:

format differences 1

However with 5 or 6 “d”s the VBA function begins to return a weird result that doesn’t match what you’d see in a cell with that formatting:

format differences 2

You can see below that a cell formatting of “dddddd” still returns “Friday,” just like WorksheetFunction.Text. In fact if you close the Format Cells dialog and re-open it, you’ll see that the formatting has been reset to “dddd”.

format differences 3

I’ve since fixed my Activecell Viewer and added some features. I’ll try to remember to post the improved version sometime.

4) You Can Undo a Pivot Table Refresh
Who knew? All these years I assumed you couldn’t. And then I tried it.

pivot table unrefresh

5) Pivot Table Grouped Number Ranges, Once Sorted, Can’t Be Forced Back to Numeric Order
At least I can’t figure out how.

pivot number ranges grouped and sorted

Can you?

4 thoughts on “Some Things I Learned Lately

  1. 5) Pivot Table Grouped Number Ranges, Once Sorted, Can’t Be Forced Back to Numeric Order

    How about
    1) “ungrouping it” and then “grouping” again?
    2) Custom list? Though it’s not an efficient way.

    Just to flow ideas on top of my mind.

    • Hi MF, thanks for the ideas.

      1) Doesn’t work

      2) If it’s a big span of numbers that would be a long custom list. So I think it’s probably worse than inefficient. You’d want it to be dynamic.

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