Office provides a host of international capabilities. A complete list of features that have been specifically created or modified for international users is not practical in this space, but some examples include proofing capabilities, support for Asian-language input, sorting support, date and currency formats, support for input/output (I/O) of text files and of Web pages in any encoding, and application-specific features for certain markets.
Office applications provide multiple spelling-checker engines. They also offer considerable assistance to the international user through a grammar checker, thesaurus, hyphenation options, and bilingual translation dictionaries.
Office applications, especially Word, have always had rich support for features associated with Input Method Editors (IMEs), the components that allow the user to enter the thousands of different characters used in East Asian languages with a standard 101-key keyboard. These features include:
These features extend the capabilities of the IMEs to make input of East Asian text easier. (For more general information on IMEs, see Chapter 5, "Text Input, Output, and Display.")
Collation or sort order, which is the way characters or ideographs are sorted, varies among different languages, countries, and regions. Office handles this task automatically.
Whenever sorting is needed-whether you are creating Access databases or lists in Excel-Office uses the correct sort order.
It is important to note that the meaning of "correct sort order" can change between contexts, which is why each Office application handles collation settings differently. Outlook uses the collation settings of the operating system to determine how to handle sorted lists of contacts. Excel uses the default user locale to determine sort order. Access uses the sort order of a particular database to determine how to return ordered data (a setting that can be changed during the database Compact operation). Word, on the other hand, supports marking specific text in a document as being part of a different language, and thus if you choose to sort data in a table, it can rely on this particular setting rather than on the default setting. (For more information on sort order, see Chapter 4, "Locale and Cultural Awareness." )
Just as sort order differs from one language, country, or region to another, so do date and currency formats. Once again, Office uses the correct format based on the application and the particular context at hand. For example, the date format in an Excel spreadsheet will follow the preferences indicated in Regional And Language Options within Control Panel, by default. Likewise, the choice of a currency symbol in Regional and Language Options will affect the way that newly added currency fields are formatted in an Access table that is created. Furthermore, applications like Access do not blindly apply the settings from Regional And Language Options in a way that would change the meaning of existing data; because of this, existing data in a table will keep its original currency format, so that $2.00 does not suddenly appear to be 2.00 or 2.00. (For more information on date and currency formats, see Chapter 4.)
This support includes many types of Unicode, local code pages, standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), national standards, and so on.
Within the Office product suite, individual applications provide their own international features geared toward particular markets. These features are too numerous to list here, but the following sampling gives you a good idea of these individual applications' versatility. Application-specific features include:
You have seen some of the international features that Office provides. By adhering to some basic international guidelines, you can take full advantage of all these capabilities in order to make your application world-ready.