Error message in Datastream – caused by hidden formatting

Recently some students got error messages when they tried to download data from Datastream in a Time Series Request ($$”ER”, E100, INVALID CODE OR EXPRESSION ENTERED), while the identifiers used were correct according to Datastream Navigator.

We found out that Datastream doesn’t recognize the identifiers, because there is some hidden formatting in the cells in Excel. Unfortunately the human eye can’t see this; to us the identifiers look correct. You can make this visible by copying the identifiers, pasting them in a Word file and activate this button: show hide

You will see for example:

hidden formatting

 

How to solve this?

  • You can delete the formatting in Word (in this example the formatting ​), and copy the list back into Excel.
  • When you have a list of identifiers with always the same number of digits, you can use the left function. In this example, you can use =left(cell, 8), because all identifiers should have 8 digits. Counting from the left side of the identifier, only the first 8 digits are returned. It might be a good idea to copy this new identifiers and paste them back into Excel with Paste Special > Values.
  • When you do a Static Request in Datastream, and request for example the datatype ‘name’, Datastream will show you all identifiers, for example like this:

Excel

When you delete the question marks, you have identifiers that can be recognized by Datastream.

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