Thursday, June 07, 2007

Excel & VBA on a Mac: Look out for Missing Acrobat Distiller

So I just recently completely my first Excel + VBA project for a Mac user. Wow.

It was a Private Project, so I'm not at liberty to share the file with my Insiders subscribers or talk in too much detail about what exactly I was doing, but I did want to relay to my loyal readers the nature of one of the quirks I encountered on this project.

First and foremost is that the script would not run on the Mac. At all. It popped up some obscure message about "Compile error: Can’t find project or library". I struggled long and hard with this. It seemed that some reference was not selected on the Mac user's computer in the Visual Basic Editor --> Tools --> References... menu. Only after having lunch with a good buddy of mine so I could play on his Mac Book Pro, did I see something that my client told me about, but that didn't register immediately with me: She told me that the references checked were...

  • Visual Basic for Applications

  • OLE Automation

  • Microsoft Office 11.0 Object Library

  • MISSING: Acrobat Distiller

Now the project initially had involved the possibility of automatically creating some .PDFs from the worksheets (though, in the end we scrapped that aspect), so I misunderstood that she was telling me that "Acrobat Distiller" (which we would have needed to create the .PDFs) was missing from the list. But NOOOOO. She was telling me that it was actually in the list as "MISSING: Acrobat Distiller" and checked.

When I unchecked this reference on my friend's Mac, all was well. The script ran just fine.

When I worked with my client and had her do the same, it worked on her Mac, too.

How about that? Now, there are also some other odd differences between running Excel in PC vs. Mac, such as inconsistency in the amount of print space rows and columns take up, which we had to work out separately, but I thought most interesting was this odd "MISSING: Acrobat Distiller" issue. I'm sure others have faced the same issue, but I never found any references to it on the web when I searched, so here it is.

Have a good day,


BTW, (and this is a completely unpaid and unsolicited endorsement), for those of you PC users who who regularly do collaborate with Mac users, and vice versa, I recommend GatherPlace for sharing desktops, etc. When GoToMeeting failed, GatherPlace shined.