Opening Excel in Europe

(I am located in the US) I have a web application that allows the user to export data into a Microsoft Excel file.  When one of the clients (located in Europe) opens the file, they say that all/most special characters ($, accents, etc) get jumbled, so they say.  I'm assuming it's not being translated correctly.  Any suggestions?

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Are you using some sort of sendkeys? It usually messes up things majorly when I run it on French regional settings. Can you post parts of your app so we can have a little more insight into the issue?

Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger)PresidentCommented:
Many things can happen. Here are the 2 most current.


Your application maybe exporting in ASCII instead of Unicode.

Excel usually use Unicode characters. There are over 60,000 characters in Unicode, enough to cover all the earth languages except Chinese. So if you type something directly in Excel, it usually ends up showing the same characters to your user, no matter what language they are using.

Many Web application however still work with the old ASCII characters.

ASCII are limited to 256 values. They cannot hold all the characters used in different languages, so there are different sets of characters for different languages. As an example, 233 represents "é" in the ASCII set that is commonly used in the US and Canada, but can end up as "ó" in another set.

Since you have a Web application, if it tries to send "é", it might end up as "ó" or something else on the other side of the Atlantic. Your Web application should send é instead. That would be recognized properly as "é" on almost any system.

If your users use you Web application to generate Excel files in Europe, it might well be your problem. If however you create the Excel file here and then sent the file to Europe, you should normally not have the problem, because Excel uses Unicode instead of ASCII. Unless you use an old version of Excel from before Unicode became a standard.

For the $, the problem could come from somewhere else. If you send the data as a monetary (currency) value, it will adapt to the currency symbol defined in the Control Panel on the receiving side. In Europe, this is usually € instead of $. And unfortunately, the system won't automatically make the translation from US dollars to the Euro, so $45.67 will display €45.67 in most european countries.

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If you can read the accented characters of the resulting output properly in Excel, with your setup, then it means that it is not the server, but rather incompatibility betwenn your and the recipient's system.
Usually, it is possible to select the character set with spreadsheet applications like Excel and OpenOffice. You should check if your application is defaulting to something different than your user's setup.
Better use Unicode for the output, but ISO-8859-2 also covers several European accented character sets. Your output may be using a character set that does not support accented characters, and when you read it on your own system, the default settings on your side may return the garbling to the proper characters, while others see garbling because they use a different character set as default.
If you can read the resulting characters, tell the other side which character set they should use (and at the same time ask what they are using).
geoffswebAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the suggestions... I am looking into them and will report back :)
Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)Microsoft MVP ExcelCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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