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Subject: RATE function (and FV,NPER,PMT,PV) PayType parameter


In our RATE() function we have a PayType parameter that is said to
designate whether payment is due at end of period or start of period,
but we do not explicitly restrict the value to be either 0 or 1. Also
ECMA/MOOXML documents the parameter to be the "timing of the payment,
truncated to integer" and be either 0 or 1, and I guess that is what
applications implemented. However, Excel does not constrain the
parameter to {0;1} but instead yields different results for different
fractional values of PayType, also values >1.0 and <0.0 are possible.

I tend to explicitly allow this and change the "boolean" {0;1} behavior
to an offset (in periods) to the end date of a payment period towards
the start date. However, this must correspond with functions FV(),
NPER(), PMT() and PV().

Opinions on this? Mathematical constraints? Insights on what Excel
really does?


Automatic string conversions considered dangerous. They are the GOTO statements
of spreadsheets.  --Robert Weir on the OpenDocument formula subcommittee's list.

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