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Why are format codes language dependent, and is there a way around this?

asked 2016-02-22 18:32:14 +0200

e5a23ba3e1 gravatar image

Well, the question is basically already in the title. Why do format codes depend on the language that LibreOffice is set to? Is this (just) for Microsoft-compatibility? Is there a way to always use the English format codes, or a way to recognise format codes of all languages?

At my workplace I recently had to use an Excel sheet from the admin department that was formatted in the local language, while at my workplace computer I have set LibreOffice to English (UK). Needless to say, the whole document was messed up, until I realised that it was a language issue (and that took quite some time…). Now I am forced to switch language whenever I need to use that document. Today it was the other way round. I opened an English (US) Excel spreadsheet on my private computer which has LibreOffice set to the local language, and formatting was messed up again.

Is there any good reason for that behaviour? I really can't see any advantages here.

Additionally, is it possible to avoid that behaviour? Can you set LibreOffice to always use English formatting codes, or to recognise formatting codes of all supported languages?

I'm sorry if this question was already answered, but my searches turned up nothing.

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the whole document was messed up, until I realised that it was a language issue

Messed up in what sense? Simply displaying a document in different locales doesn't mess it up, unless formulas rely on a specific locale in which strings are represented that are automatically converted to values (numeric, date, ...) during interpretation. That is bad spreadsheet design and of course can foul things up. Format codes in the TEXT() function can cause problems if they are locale dependent; note that LibreOffice in that context understands the English format codes even if the normal format codes use localized keywords, but due to different separators used in different locales that still may fail if such text is interpreted as value again.

erAck gravatar imageerAck ( 2019-07-10 17:50:54 +0200 )edit

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answered 2016-02-25 02:27:34 +0200

oweng gravatar image

Short answer is likely "No, there is no way around this." LO is built upon quite a number of international standards, including those relating to locale and language. One developer has collected a decent list of links here. A quick look at the wiki articles for:

... indicates that locale/language are used as the basis for determining quite a number of aspects of how LO works. Some of these are based on the historical precedent set by MS Office.

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Thanks for the answer! Is there any way to specify the language of a document, such that, independent of the locale and language of LO, LO uses the standards associated with this document language, or something along those lines?

e5a23ba3e1 gravatar imagee5a23ba3e1 ( 2016-02-29 22:55:30 +0200 )edit

The help pages on Languages and Selecting the document language are key. The 4 methods indicated in the second link are essential reading. Styles are critical in multi-lingual documents or if working on foreign content. There are some related threads on this forum, but few are helpful. I18n/L10n is difficult due to the number of aspects affected.

oweng gravatar imageoweng ( 2016-03-01 01:48:57 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-07-10 15:37:48 +0200

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Was this posted here by a mistake? It seems to be totally irrelevant to the question.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2019-07-10 15:54:39 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2016-02-22 18:32:14 +0200

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Last updated: Jul 10