MSP-Tool: trouble shooting

This page lists a number of possible problems you may encounter when using MSP-Tool and how to fix them. If these solutions don’t work or if your problem is not on this list, please leave a comment on this page or send me an e-mail (Utrecht University or VU University).

N.B.: MSP-Tool has been optimised for Microsoft Excel 2010 and may not function correctly in other versions of Excel, especially Excel for Mac.

The program won’t run

In this case, the two most likely options are: 1) macros have not been enabled or 2) after an error, the macro is not in ‘design mode’ anymore. For both options it is useful to have the Developer tab in your ribbon in Excel. If this is not the case, please go to File -> Options -> Customise ribbon and check ‘Developer’ in the Main Tabs list.

Adding the Developer tab to the ribbon. Click to view a larger version.

To enable macros, either go to ‘macro security’ in the Developer tab and change your security options, or go to File -> Options -> Trust Centre Settings -> Macro Settings. Also see this manual on the MS Office website.

Enabling macros via the Developers tab.
Enabling macros via the Developer tab. Click to view a larger version.
Enabling macros via File -> Options -> Trust Centre Settings.
Enabling macros via File -> Options -> Trust Centre Settings. Click to view a larger version.

If the program stopped working after an error, go to the Developer tab, click ‘Visual Basic’ and go to ‘Execute’. If the lowermost option says ‘Design mode’, click it to enter design mode. If it says ‘Exit design mode’, there is a different problem.

Opening the Visual Basic editor.
Opening the Visual Basic editor. Click to view a larger version.
Returning to design mode after the program has crashed.

Data are imported incorrectly

MSP-Tool checks for several types of errors (too many consecutive lines, possible missing headers, etc.) but may not catch all input errors. If you experience any trouble, one of the following options may be the case:

  • Data are not comma-separated (CSV).
  • In some cases, data edited in Mac OS X (TextEdit) may not open correctly in MSP-Tool. Please check your file in Notepad (Windows) for strange or missing line breaks and try again.

The plots don’t make any sense

If your MSP plots are all over the place, a few things may have gone wrong:

  • Data in Cartesian format were imported as int/dec/inc or vice versa.
  • The laboratory field Hlab was entered incorrectly.
  • Something (alignment, field, temperature, …) went wrong during the experiment.
  • Your specimens show a lot of alteration (should be visible in the εalt parameter). In this case the DB plot usually looks better than the DSC plot.
  • For specimens measured on a spinner magnetometer, especially the m2 step regularly has a different exponent than the other steps because its intensity is usually a lot lower in this anti-parallel step. Leaving out the exponent may lead to very odd FC and DSC plots, bizarre alignment-corrected plots and very high or negative fractions NRM lost.

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