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Microsoft Encoding Issues
If you copy/paste string(s) from MS Word to MS Excel during CRF build, most likely you will get into a trouble. Here are the reasons:
- OpenClinica, like the rest of the world, uses UTF-8 encoding
- Microsoft chose UTF-16LE encoding for its file system
- Microsoft Office products still uses ancient, Microsoft propriety so-called Extended ASCII, including:
- Microsoft Office copies/pasts invisible control characters into/from Windows OS clipboard
Anytime OpenClinica encounters one or more of these characters stored in its database, the common symptoms are:
- Study Metadata fails to open
- Unable to extract data
- Rule crashes with null pointer exception error
Another issue. As I mentioned above, Microsoft file system is UTF-16LE encoding. This may cause a trouble with Data Mart in Downloadable format because OpenClinica/Java produces UTF-8 file format. Windows OS may corrupt UTF-8 characters used in OpenClinica.