There are instances where a field is expected to hold a numerical value, but if it’s empty, or it doesn’t apply, it may be desirable to enter a text value; something like “N/A”, for example.

In that case, instead of using a numerical field, you can use a short text field (or text, but short text may be better in these cases).

For display purposes within your table it makes no difference; the field will show a number of text.

However, if the value in the short text field needs to be used in a calculation, and you try simply add or apply some other mathematical operation involving the short text field, you will get a nonsensical value. The solution is use the “**to_number**” function in the calculation, to extract the numerical value, and ignore the text.

For example: **Num01** is a numerical field. **Stext01** is a short text field. **Calc01** is a calculation field with the formula “**SUM($Num01,to_number($Stext01))**”

If we enter the values:Num01: **150** , Stext01: **25** –––> Calc01:**175** (150+25=175)

But we can also enter a text value in Stext01:

Num01: **150**, Stext01:**N/A** –––> Calc01:**150** (150+N/A=150)