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Why I really dislike localized error messages…

Posted by jpluimers on 2012/09/06

The problem with localized error messages often is that it is virtually impossible to find information about them.

For instance the below error got reported by a client for me to fix (click on the picture to get a larger version) has a few big problems:

  1. It is impossible to [Wayback] copy the error message using Ctrl-C
    (Ctrl-C on messageboxes has been a Windows feature since 2000, gosh why can’t the Office team just implement this?)
  2. There is no “Microsoft Office Online”.
    I had to [Wayback] find out on Wikipedia that Wayback: “Microsoft Office Online” is now called “Microsoft Office website
    (the site seems to have been renamed again, now to [Wayback] Office –, which seriously sounds like a [WaybackPleonasm, just like the Microsoft slogan [Wayback] “Built on NT technology“)
  3. The link in the message box doesn’t bring you to the website.
  4. If you search for “VBA-conversieprogramma’s” on the site, you get zero results.
  5. If you [Waybacksearch for “VBA-conversieprogramma’s” using Google you get very a few results: this major drawback for localized error messages. If it had an error code or something, it would be much easier.
    (note: most of the search results are not helpful at all, only these two were somewhat helpful:
    – [Wayback]
  6. Both the above links are to [Wayback
    which in turn redirects to [WaybackDownload: Compatibiliteitspakket voor Word-, Excel- en PowerPoint-bestandsindelingen van Microsoft Office – Microsoft Download Center – Download Details.
  7. The English versions of the last two links are these:
    – [Wayback]
    – [Wayback] Download: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats – Microsoft Download Center – Download Details.
    The actual download is [WaybackFileFormatConverters.exe (note: no “Pack”, nor Compatibility or Conversion in that name).
  8. Nor the built-in Windows Update on Vista nor the [WaybackMicrosoft Update suggested these converters to be installed.
  9. Anyway: this was still wrong: After asking the client for more details, it appeared they wanted to open an [WaybackXLS file (Excel 97-2003) into Excel 2007. Apparently, Excel 2007 doesn’t have very good backward compatibility, but not in the way the FileFormatConverters can help with.
    In the end, I searched for [Waybackcannot open VBA XLS in “Excel 2007” conversion programs.
    One of the links indicated that I needed [WaybackKB 926430: [Wayback] You are requested to “search Microsoft Office Online for “VBA Converters” when you try to open or save a workbook in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010.

From “VBA conversion programs” via “compatibility pack”, to “VBA Converters” a small step for Microsoft, a huge barrier for end users.


2 Responses to “Why I really dislike localized error messages…”

  1. Petr Vones said project might help.

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