# Is there a way to test in a formula if a text field contains a valid number?

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• Updated 3 weeks ago
I have a complex text formula field that extracts out text from another text field. If it contains a number, I want to use it in another formula field's calculations. If not, I want to skip over it and use a different text field's number. In MS Access there's a nice IsNumeric() function that will return true/false after testing a text string, but I see nothing of the sort in the function list for QuickBase. is there an easy, tricky way around this limitation?
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Posted 2 years ago

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QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

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There may be other ways but this might be quick and dirty as a formula checkbox field.  But this will fail if the number has a leading zero like 0123.  If that is possible, then the formula will need to be a bit fancier.

ToText(ToNumber([maybe a number]))=[maybe a number]
• 2,216 Points
Thanks Mark. That's clever, but I couldn't get it to work. For my current purposes, this seems to have done the trick.

Length([Subject Form ID]) > 0 and Left([Subject Form ID],1) >= "1" and Left([Subject Form ID],1) <= "9"

It really bugs me, though, that there isn't a native function to do something so straightforward and necessary.

QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

• 67,278 Points
I did test that formula and it did seem to work for me ... did you have a string that failed that I could test it on.  The useful idea is that the ToNumber( ) function will return blank it what you give it contains non numeric characters.

In my test, the field for [maybe a number] was a text string.
• 218 Points
That could be a problem. What if it was a blank? And the tonumeric also returns a blank. Then they both will be equal, thus misleading us to believe that a blank is numeric.

I guess, we need to first filter out blanks and call them non-numeric right away before checking for non-blanks.

if (Contains([may be a number]," ",false,ToText(ToNumber([maybe a number]))=[maybe a number])

QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

• 67,278 Points
to test for a blank you would use

IF(Trim([my text field])="", true)

ie you test against empty quotes
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True. I agree.
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Yeah, I would have though it would work for me,but it didn't. The particular piece of text that was a problem was 'Oneil  (starting with an apostrophe). For my purposes, I am extracting FormID's which are all positive integers from 2 to 5 digits long, so I took the simple way to just test the first character, but I would like to get your more universal approach to work too, for what I'm sure will be later needs for this functionality.

QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

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I tried 'Oneil on my formula and it correctly said it was not a number
(Edited)
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Hmm. Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to go back and do some more testing when I have time. Too much else going on with this project right now - I need to keep moving. Thanks again for your help!

Ⲇanom the ultimate (Dan Diebolt), Champion

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I would avoid getting into a situation where you have either text or a numeric value in a text field in the first place. Rethink your fields and calculations. Ambiguous data (text/numbers) should be cleaned up at the point of key entry or importing.

You probably could do a simple formula knowing that a number in a business setting consists of a {set of digits} possibly proceeded by a plus or minus sign and at most one decimal point  amid the digits but it is just an exercise if difficulty.

QuickBase does not use scientific notation for numbers but technically you could have this in your string and ToNumber () will convert it correctly.

ToNumber("34e5") => 3400000

Or you could use JavaScript where any manner of parsing and data conversion is possible. Anyone here that could write a formula to accomplish the task you ask about could do it easier in JavaScript. Replace the formula language with JavaScript is my advice.

It strikes me as extremely odd that for a no code platform the first thing you have to do is master the formula language and all its quirks.   ̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄
• 124 Points
Sorry to resurrect an old post but this is the closest post I've found that's similar to the problem I'm struggling with.
I have a text field that's supposed to have all numbers except for dashes. I need to do IsNumeric type of validation. While Mark's formula is working great, my field can start with 0 so I can't use it. And changing the field to numeric is not an option at this point due to other dependencies. I've tried many different approaches with no luck. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
• 798 Points
if it starts with a 0, why not create a formula to remove the initial 0?
• 828 Points
When I needed to verify something was a number(mine had 2 dashes between the numbers) I made a formula checkbox that would trigger if it was not a good number. I removed the dashes with a Part formula and then put all 3 parts back together in a variable. Then I tested to see if the number was above or below a certain number. My number was similar to a phone number so I checked if it was more than 0000000000 and less than 9999999999. If it returned true then it was a number. If it returned false it was not and I could abort the save.

The main issue with this approach is that for form rules to take effect the person needs to enter the data in the field and then click outside of the field to another one. If they do not do this then the form rule fails and the save happens.

I came to the conclusion that the best way to do this is with JavaScript. You can actually validate data with that and prevent people from entering the wrong thing. It's a nightmare doing it native in QuickBase imo.

QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

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Can you tell me what the format is, especially how many digits there are, excluding the dashes?  Maybe post a typical example?
• 124 Points
It's SSN field that allows either null, all 9 digits or just last 4 digits. So the format is either empty, 123-456-789 or 0123.

QuickBaseCoach App Dev./Training, Champion

• 67,228 Points
Here is a good strat to validating the SSN

var text RemoveDashes = SearchAndReplace([SSN],"-","");

var text DigitOne =   Mid(\$RemoveDashes,1,1);
var text DigitTwo =   Mid(\$RemoveDashes,2,1);
var text DigitThree = Mid(\$RemoveDashes,3,1);
var text DigitFour =  Mid(\$RemoveDashes,4,1);
var text DigitFive =  Mid(\$RemoveDashes,5,1);
var text DigitSix =   Mid(\$RemoveDashes,6,1);
var text DigitSeven = Mid(\$RemoveDashes,7,1);
var text DigitEight = Mid(\$RemoveDashes,8,1);
var text DigitNine =  Mid(\$RemoveDashes,9,1);

(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitOne) or \$DigitOne = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitTwo) or \$DigitTwo = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitThree) or \$DigitThree = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitFour) or \$DigitFour = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitFive) or \$DigitFive = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitSix) or \$DigitSix = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitSeven) or \$DigitSeven = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitEight) or \$DigitEight = "")
and
(Contains("0123456789", \$DigitNine) or \$DigitNine = "")
and
(Length(\$RemoveDashes)=0 or Length(\$RemoveDashes)=4 or Length(\$RemoveDashes)=9)
• 124 Points
This great, thank you!!! Funny enough, I just had an idea to use contains last night but hadn't actually implemented it.