Microsoft KB Archive/168852

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Article ID: 168852

Article Last Modified on 1/19/2007


  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q168852


If you have a nested U.S. field that is dependent on regional system settings for parsing the field, the field may generate a syntax error when the field is updated on a computer with non-U.S. regional system settings.


Some fields rely on certain regional settings. For example, the most common cause of this problem is if there exists a difference between the decimal symbol and the digit-grouping symbol.


To work around this problem, either change the regional settings to make the field work correctly, or edit the field so that it contains the correct symbols.

To find or change the regional settings, follow these steps:

  1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start, point to Settings, and click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Regional Settings.
  3. Click the Number tab.

The decimal symbol setting and the digit grouping symbol setting are located in this dialog box.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in the Microsoft products listed at the beginning of this article.


Certain regional settings are used when Microsoft Word 97 attempts to parse the field during the field update. Examples of these settings are Decimal Symbol and Digit Grouping Symbol.

Decimal Symbol identifies the character that is used to indicate decimal values. In the U.S., this symbol is a decimal point, as in the following example:

12.5 (to indicate twelve and one-half)

Digit Grouping Symbol identifies the character that is used to group the digits in large numbers. In the U.S., this symbol is a comma, as in the following example:

100,000 (one-hundred thousand)

In certain types of nested fields, you receive a syntax error if you move a document from a computer using U.S. settings to a computer using non- U.S. settings.

The following field will generate a syntax error if it is created on a computer using U.S. regional settings and then opened on a computer using non-U.S. regional settings:

{=sum{1,2,3} }

On a computer with U.S. regional settings, the comma is used to separate the 1, 2, and 3, indicating that they should be added together. On a computer with non-U.S. regional settings, such as Brazilian settings, the comma is used as a decimal symbol, making the field invalid.


For more information about regional settings and Microsoft Word 97, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

135285 WD: Value Entered Does Not Match with the Specified Type

113185 WD: Cannot Use Some US-International Key Combinations in Word

81059 Err Msg: "! Invalid Character Setting" in Expression Field

151913 Decimal Character Appears as a Comma

150620 Error Message Changing the Default Language

116252 3/2 Currency Grouping Not Available in Windows 95

Keywords: kbbug kbfield kbusage KB168852