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Incident Report: Excel

Category:softwareDate of Incident:2002.09.25
Product:ExcelVersion:Office 2000


Excel is the leading spreadsheet package from the leading software company in the world.


I have a spreadsheet where the cells in one column contain XML text that varies in length from a few hundred to a few thousand bytes. Excel has no problem with the fact that it is XML or that it may be lengthy... until I tried to copy the worksheet.

Excel error dialog

Scenario problems:

The above error message is quite informative; it precisely identifies the problem in clear, concise language. So what's the difficulty? If the designer knew exactly what the situation was, why doesn't the program take care of it rather than telling me to do it? I don't recall whether the program was willing to copy a range of cells at one time. If so, then it wasn't much extra work, but it was still extra work. If not, having to do it one cell at a time would be quite inconvenient.

In a Nutshell:

Software is a tool. Just like a hammer, it exists to provide some leverage in completing a task more efficiently or effectively. Sometimes software designers forget that.

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