Comedy support

I had a call from a user the other day about a report that had stopped working.

I had a look at the VBA, not bad, but damn hard to follow (suck a loads of stuff into a random set of arrays of various dimensions, shuffle it and miraculously drop the right values into a range elsewhere.) well normally the right values – now it wasn’t working right.

I adjusted the caller parameters to fit a minor change in the data, tested it and had no clue if it was working. (It’s that type code that gives you no clue what its doing just presents the answer (Paul Daniels stylee)). I sat with the user to understand what it was meant to do. Lots of buggering around and a few back and forths, until it finally dawned on me:

The last few rows were being cut off by the print area!

Change the print area, user happy, ticket closed. Only about a bazilion hours longer than it should have taken – d’oh!

I truly can’t remember the last time I printed out a spreadsheet, and thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Do you print out much stuff?



3 Responses to “Comedy support”

  1. Rob Says:

    No. But I’ve just worked on a project where the user insisted on keeping every sheet permanently in Page Break Preview mode. Odd, and incredibly distracting, but that’s the way they worked. I’ve a feeling that somewhere a bit further up the food chain was a manager who insisted on seeing everything only on paper, and company culture had subsequently elevated ‘looking good when printed out’ to a fetish.
    And I had to write some extensions to my normal Sheet_BeforeRightClick routines in order for them to work correctly. Which was OK – they feel a lot more robust now.

  2. JP Says:

    Sounds like the “simple” problem Bob was having:

  3. Harlan Grove Says:

    You want comedy? About 14 years ago the company I was working for at the time paid for me to travel from California to New Jersey to diagnose a problem east coast users were having with a model I was maintaining at the time. Turned out that IT had upgraded east coast offices to Lotus 123 Release 5 before the rest of the country. I was still using Release 4.

    So what was the problem? The model read text files into particular ranges in the workbook. Release 4 treated formfeed characters in the text files as just another oddball character, displaying ♀ when it came across one. Release 5 OTOH would create new worksheets whenever it came across formfeed characters, so each printout page would be in a separate worksheet. Since the workbook was protected, the macro died before importing the needed information, which was after the first formfeed character.

    So roughly US$1,500 travel expenses and 2 days of my time just because IT for whatever reason upgraded software on a piecemeal basis and didn’t think of testing the newer 123 version against any existing spreadsheet models.

    Gotta love maintenance!

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