Quick Tip: Approximation in a Numeric Custom Field (hack!)

Do you ever need to put an approximation in a Numeric field?

I like to use the most specific custom field type that applies, so for numbers of course I choose the Numeric custom field type.

But sometimes I want to enter an approximate number. Because only numbers are allowed, at first I thought about instead using a text field to give me that flexibility, but that could lead to input errors because there’s no longer any numeric editing for the preponderance of my inputs. Also, the column sum/average/etc. feature would be lost.

My hack solution: Keep the Numeric custom field type and indicate approximations as negative numbers. This works nearly every time for me: I can recognize which values are approximations but still keep the benefits of Numeric fields otherwise.

For example, when tracking the number of licenses held, if I know the exact number I enter it (automatically a positive value). If I’m not sure, I enter the approximation as a negative number.

This would throw off the column summation, but often I don’t need that summation, or it’s rare enough that it doesn’t actually end up affecting most calculations. Also, multi-selecting and excluding (Cmd/Ctrl+Click) those approximation rows allows me to show the sum correctly.

Hope this Asana hack might help in some uses,



Interesting idea! I have another one that wouldn’t throw of the sum that much → enter 0.XXX with XXX the approximate value.

Thanks, but I usually don’t want to see all that extra noise for the precision (four characters extra for every number) when they’re usually just whole numbers; every value must appear that way, not just the approximations.

I feel confident I’m a much stronger hack than you, and that you’re a much stronger developer than me :slight_smile:

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