Microsoft Word: extra space before colon

Another weird thing happened this morning. No, I’m not talking about the switch to SummerTime, although I am not a big fan of changing the time twice a year, but that’s another story.

I was typing a text in Microsoft Word 2007 and noticed that whenever I typed a colon (:), magically a space was added before the colon. I was actually entering times in the document, like 9:45, but it always ended up as 9 :45, with a space before the colon.

It drove me crazy. Why did Word do that? I could not find anything about this in the AutoCorrect settings (which I had trouble to find in Word 2007 by the way, it’s in Word Options > Proofing).

Finally, after quite some Googleling, I learned from this blog that in French, punctuation rules state that you always need a non-breaking space before a colon. And yes, somehow Word was thinking that I was entering French text, when I checked the Language settings:
When switching to English, the space was not added automatically before the colon.

I was interested in finding out whether you can turn that off, even when writing French. The same blog explained it: the option is linked to AutoCorrect > AutoFormat As You Type > Replace “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes”. As the blog states: “It doesn’t just replace straight quotes with smart quotes. It actually uses the appropriate quotation marks for each language, and adds the required non-breaking spaces before and after the punctuation marks based on that language’s typographic rules.”

Interesting. And undocumented, as far as I know :-S


Issue with Global Address Book when using Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode

I have 2 email accounts on 2 different Exchange servers. I created 2 profiles in Outlook and selected to be prompted when Outlook starts, so I can select which account to use. All worked fine for a while, but then I started to get undeliverable reports, because some recipients could not be recognized. It always happened when I was using Exchange server A, and addressing people on Exchange server B.

These recipients were correctly defined in my local Contacts, (as but somehow got “translated” to an Exchange address of a local user (as if person was an employee of company A). Obviously this did not work, as person was not known on Exchange Server A.

As always with these kind of issues, it took several hours to finally figure out what was happening. In both profiles, the email account is defined with the option “Use Cached Exchange Mode”. This is an option that’s available since Outlook 2003, where a copy of the user’s mailbox is stored on the local computer. Check the Office website for more details on Cached Exchange Mode. finally shed some light: Question 25 of that article asks “Can I download more than one offline address book? Can I use two cached profiles with their own offline address books?”. The answer: “No. Outlook supports only one offline address book per user account on a computer. If you have multiple profiles, only one profile can download the offline address book. If you have to use two cached mode profiles, make sure that one of the profiles does not download the offline address book.”.

So what was happening was that both Global Address Books were being downloaded to the offline address book on my computer. Depending on the status of that download, the offline address book was still filled with people of company B, while I was working on Exchange server A. When sending the message, Outlook incorrectly assumed the person working for company B was a local recipient on the Exchange server A. When the message arrived at the server, it generated an undeliverable error.

I finally decided to disable the automatic download of the offline address book and manually download one address book. That solved the issue.


UFT-8 on a website based on mySQL and PHP

I spent quite some time today trying to get the text on a website with Bulgarian characters to show properly. The text is coming out of a MYSQL 5.0 database, configured to use utf8_general_ci and the website is generated by PHP 5.2.5.
I knew I had to use
meta equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″
to display the Bulgarian characters properly (like Велико Търново) and that worked fine for static text, but I got ???????? when using the text from the database.
I tried all sorts of things, and visited various websites with proposed solution, but finally I got it working by one simple setting, explained by this website. I needed to include
mysql_query(‘SET NAMES utf8’);
when connecting to the database. That solved the issue.