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Excel Encryption

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  • Excel Encryption

    Don't know why Excel will automatically encript files saved as dbf?


    Saved many a file before, for years, without encryption. Now for reasons unknown, Excel decided to encrypt them and denies me access to edit!


    Working with this bizzare animal trying to figure it out.......

    Problem solved. Disregard.

  • #2
    Re: Excel Encryption

    Gabe, are you going to post the solution in case someone else comes up against this same problem?

    Bob Arbuthnot


    • #3
      Re: Excel Encryption

      Yes Bob.. It's a bit convoluted and I am short on time and was hoping no one will care to ask, but since you did:

      Here is what happened:
      I was trying to get data from a website (financial transactions, normally most of these sites will have an export feature, this one does not). Instead of writing a page-long crazy script that may or may not work to populate alpha with these values, I decided to take the easy path: copy and paste. Done many times before. And since it's a one time thing, no need to write a crazy script.

      Copied, pasted, saved as dbf opened in alpha, now I am on a speed train and everything is working just fine. I parsed one of the fields in the website into 3 fields in Excel and everything is fine. I noticed some of those crazy characters at the end of some but not all fields when I opened the table in alpha. No big deal, I could take them out. So I thought. Well, it turned out to be a big deal. Tried to remove them first with a quick update operation, no luck. OK, how a bout a script? no luck. Well now, let's try to remove just one manually: here I got a message from alpha: you are not allowed to edit this table, consult you administrator? and it has the encryption icon!
      Now I had to slow that speed train and think what the heck is the matter?
      Did I encrypt Excel? no.
      Did I encrypt alpha? no.

      OK, let's start with Excel. No encryption there. I don't see these goofy characters either but when I attempt to change these fields from characters say to dates or others to numeric, no dice. Normally that should be a snap in Excel. Hmmm? even if I try to create a calc field using these fields (columns) in Excel, I get nothing!
      Now a light bulb went off and figured out what was wrong.
      What happened when I copied/pasted those fields from the website, I copied those goofy characters as well. The website uses them as fields' delimiters. But how come some fields have them while others don't? The fields that retained those characters in Excel were the ones at the end of the parsed fields (So far Colombo is on fire). Excel has them but you don't see them and hence I couldn't reformat the fields from character to numeric etc, because Excel couldn't make sense out of these characters. When opened in alpha, now you see them, and alpha, bless her heart, seeing these goofy characters interpreted the table as being encrypted as these characters are typically used for encryption and thus gave me the error message and blocked me from editing the table.
      Now what?
      How do you remove those characters from Excel? I don't know nor could find a quick function in Excel to do that, so once again, I took the easy way out:
      why not try to duplicate the table in alpha, there is a pretty good chance it won't migrate the goofy charcters.
      Did just that, it worked.

      This happens usually on a small scale, you might have run into it before when you copy say a number from a website and paste in a numeric field in alpha and it won't work. The reason being, those goofy characters that are used as delimiters are there but you don't see them, you see them as spaces. Once you get rid of these spaces, it works. Of course I couldn't do this manually in a large spreadsheet, I would have had to enter one record at a time which defeats the purpose.

      So, in a nutshell, if you run into a problem like this in the future, just duplicate the table.
      Is it a bug that alpha issued this error message? No, it's being super vigilant.
      One of the things that tipped me off is the fact that all these goofy characters at the end of these field were the same, which alerted me that these are delimiters. Of course, I had to stop that speed train to be able to see that, but now the train is back on track and full steam ahead.
      Last edited by G Gabriel; 09-21-2008, 10:25 PM.


      • #4
        Re: Excel Encryption

        In Internet Explorer you can usually right-click and "save to Excel" or similar for most table-like data :)