Oklahoma’s Budget is ########

January 22, 2009

Users of Microsoft Excel sometimes encounter a cell filled with pound signs (“###########”). As Thinkquest helpfully explains:

If numerous pound (###) signs appear within a cell, it is only a protective measure taken by Excel. It simply means that the column width isn’t wide enough for the number trying to be placed in it, or a cell reference by an equation no longer exists. To correct, expand the column width until numbers emerge from the pound signs or change your equation.

A lesson apparently lost on Oklahoma’s Office of State Finance. While perusing their PDFs of summary tables for the total state budget, numerous columns, including that for total executive branch spending and total appropriations, the columns unhelpfully had pound signs galore. And because they provide only the PDF version and not the Excel spreadsheet, the numbers can’t easily be recreated.

How’s that for transparency? Widen your columns, Oklahoma.

(Click on the image for a larger version.)


Related Articles