Things you didn’t want to know about Excel, part 37 of many

3 Sep 2007

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When you try to open a text file or a comma-separated variable (CSV) file in Excel, you may receive the following error message:

SYLK: File format is not valid

This problems occurs because the first two letters in the file are uppercase “I” and “D”

Yes, that’s right – if you output data to a comma-separated text file and if the first fieldname is “ID” then Bang! Crash! Kaboom! Unhelpful error message! Confused user!

MS knowledge base article about the problem confirms that this is a problem with Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. Two possible fixes: you can change the uppercase “ID” to a lowercase “id” or you can put an apostrophe in front of the “ID”.

A few other things I have done this evening:

  • Uploaded pdf files for a customer. (New to the job, got a website to look after, and it’s all rather daunting.)
  • Set up example html pages to demonstrate how width of the browser window will affect the page design and layout.
    For this site, the designer’s original concept filled the page, and it was liquid, so when you resized the browser the webpage changed to fit. This affects text and image placement in ways which people never understand when they’re looking at a jpg or if you’re trying to explain it to them over the telephone; they’ve got to see a real-life example. So I made one.I used my pictures of a knitted dalek instead of the standard stock images – oddly satisfying.
  • Php Problem with one of my sites
    Hosting company upgraded to latest version of PHP (5.2.4) over the weekend, and there’s a bug ( which means that PHP_SELF isn’t giving the correct name for the executing script.
    Result : none of the forms work properly.
  • Email Problem
    Some emails from site are not arriving. Tracked down to a smtp mail relay problem.
    Note to self: Should have been picked up in testing last week. In future always test with mail to and from addresses which are outside my main domain.
  • Maximum upload size in IIS 6
    Trying to explain settings for AspMaxRequestEntityAllowed and MaxRequestEntityAllowed.
  • Looking at configuration options for a suite of shopping carts, where we may (or may not) want to show prices, quantities, price + quantity (as a dropdown) or none of the above. It all depends. And it’s confusing.
  • Deleted 309 spam comments from the blog moderation queue.
    The usual porn, but there were a suprising number about cars and ringtones. Have downloaded and installed the TanTanNoodles Spam Filter

And my mother is under the impression that I spend my time making websites.