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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 –, 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 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:
  6. Both the above links are to
    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:
    – 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.


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

  1. Petr Vones said project might help.

Leave a Reply to Petr Vones Cancel reply

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