The Huey Louie Dewey Error Message Needs an Update

Every so often, when working in Access, I get the ever delightful Huey Louie Dewey error message.

Never heard of it? Well, when you try to specify query criteria with commas and no operators or quotes, you get this error message:

The expression you entered contains invalid syntax, or you need to enclose your text data in quotes. You may have entered an invalid comma or omitted quotation marks. For example, if the Default Value property of a text field is ”Huey, Louie, and Dewey,” it must be enclosed in quotes if you mean it as a literal text string. This avoids the confusion with the expression ”Huey Louie” And ”Dewey”.

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When I saw this error message today, I got to thinking

. Someone put a lot of love into this error message. Check out how many words it uses to explain, in detail what is going on.

Compare this error message with other Access error messages:

Error 6: “Overflow”

Error 13: “Type Mismatch”

Error 3060: “Wrong data type for parameter”

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The Huey Louie Dewy error message has personality. Name another error message that names Disney characters in it. Huey Dewey and Louie are Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews. Yes – someone went out of their way to make sure they worked in this trio of anthropomorphic ducks into a Microsoft Access error message.

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As charming as that may be, I feel like it’s time to give this error message an update. I mean really, these Disney characters aren’t exactly pop culture spring chickens. Debuting in 1937, they’re pretty old ducks by now.

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So I propose updating this error message to include a more modern trio of pop culture icons; a trio that will prompt smiles from a whole new generation of nerds.

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Maybe something like this:

…You may have entered an invalid comma or omitted quotation marks. For example, if the Default Value property of a text field is ”Lucky, Dusty, and Ned,” it must be enclosed in quotes if you mean it as a literal text string. This avoids the confusion with the expression ”Lucky
Dusty” And ”Ned”.

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Or you could appeal to the kids:

…You may have entered an invalid comma or omitted quotation marks. For example, if the Default Value property of a text field is ”Harry, Hermione, and Ron,” it must be enclosed in quotes if you mean it as a literal text string. This avoids the confusion with the expression ”Harry Hermione” And ”Ron”.

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Or maybe try to get a few pre-teens:

…You may have entered an invalid comma or omitted quotation marks. For example, if the Default Value property of a text field is ”Bella, Edward, and Jacob,” it must be enclosed in quotes if you mean it as a literal text string. This avoids the confusion with the expression ”Bella Edward” And ”Jacob”.

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Oh…I know. Use something real nerds would appreciate:

…You may have entered an invalid comma or omitted quotation marks. For example, if the Default Value property of a text field is ”Tyrion, Jamie, and Cersei,” it must be enclosed in quotes if you mean it as a literal text string. This avoids the confusion with the expression ”Tyrion Jamie” And ”Cersei‘.

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Hold the phone…I got it.

…You may have entered an invalid comma or omitted quotation marks. For example, if the Default Value property of a text field is ”Debra, Mike, and Dick,” it must be enclosed in quotes if you mean it as a literal text string. This avoids the confusion with the expression ”Debra Mike” And ”Dick‘.

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Now that’s an error message with style!

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