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Question

My date formats are broken in Excel when I open a file in a computer with a different culture setting. Instead of a date, I just get numbers. I exported this file in an environment set to one culture setting, and opened it in an environment with a different culture setting. Why is this happening?

Answer

This is a known issue, caused by a difference between how different cultures signify numbers with decimals. The American standard for large numbers is 123,456.789. Some European countries have a different standard, as in 123.456,789. That is, there is a difference of opinion on when to use periods and when to use commas. A file exported with the numerical date value of 44444.44 will be interpreted either as a proper date or as a number, depending on which culture setting is being used to interpret this value.

Workarounds

This issue cannot be fixed in Izenda as it is not a bug. Some alternate method of handling the issue is necessary in your environment.

Use Uniform Culture

Make sure to set the proper culture setting for the Izenda user so that the export file is exported with the correct placement of periods and commas:

AdHocSettings.Language = AdHocLanguage.German;

Excel Settings

In Excel's Advanced system settings, it is possible to change the characters used as system separators.

Expression

Instead of exporting a file with a numeric date value and an attached date format which is open to interpretation, it is possible to write an Expression which converts the numeric date value to a fixed string. One example would be something like:

convert(varchar, [DateField], 101)

Custom Format

It is possible to use a custom format to handle date conversion as well.