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Don't Allow non-breaking spaces in Column Names

We encountered a situation where cell reference formals and conditional formatting would not work on a sheet. It only impaces columns with a space in the Column Name. There were 3 indications of the problem:

  1. When the column was selected for a formula, the share brackets were not included with the reference. This caused the formula to fail. If the brackets were added manually, the formusl would work until saved. At that point, the brackets were removed by the system.
  2. Conditional formatting would not work if those columns were used for the conditions.
  3. If the column was made narrow to force the name to wrap, the column name would not break at the space but instead the middle of a word.

Upon analysis, Char(160) was in the column name when it should be Char(32). Replacing the bad, non-breaking spaces with good spaces solved the issue.

It was likely that the sheet was created using import from Excel. The imported product from Excel was an export from another system that used the non-breaking space. There was no way for the user to know until we saw the problems.

The recommendation is that Char(160) should not be allowed in a column name. If encountered, it should be replaced by Char(32). This should be a simple fix.

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