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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 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 find out on Wikipedia that “Microsoft Office Online” is now called “Microsoft Office website
    (the site seems to have been renamed again, now to Office – Office.com, which seriously sounds like a Pleonasm, just like the Microsoft slogan “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 Office.com site, you get zero results.
  5. If you search 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:
    – http://www.veit.nl/376111-invoegtoepassing-excel-2007-a
    – http://www.archivum.info/microsoft.public.nl.office.excel/2007-11/01060/Re-Invoegtoepassing-Excel-2007.html
    )
  6. Both the above links are to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&DisplayLang=nl
    which in turn redirects to Download: Compatibiliteitspakket voor Word-, Excel- en PowerPoint-bestandsindelingen van Microsoft Office – Microsoft Download Center – Download Details.
  7. The English versions is of the last two links are these:
    – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466
    – Download: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats – Microsoft Download Center – Download Details.
    The actual download is FileFormatConverters.exe (note: no “Pack”, nor Compatibility or Conversion in that name).
  8. Nor the built-in Windows Update on Vista nor the Microsoft 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 XLS 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 cannot open VBA XLS in “Excel 2007” conversion programs.
    One of the links indicated that I needed KB 926430You 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.

–jeroen

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

  1. Petr Vones said

    http://www.unlocalize.com project might help.

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