Installing ACNE on Windows 7

There are two parts to the Windows 7 and ACNE tale – installation and running. The crux of the matter is that you need to install and run ACNE as a Windows XP compatible application, primarily because ACNE was originally developed to run in Windows XP. Although Windows 7 is pretty good at eventually figuring this stuff out for itself, you’re always better off doing it properly and telling the operating system what is going on.


Right-click the installer file, click properties and then go to the compatibility tab.Set it to be compatible with Windows XP. I don’t think it really matters if you choose Service Pack 2 or 3 from the list. I chose Service Pack 2 because it was the current one when this version of the program was compiled. As this is an installer it will need to run with Administrator rights. It will trigger a UAC response when it installs – this is ok. Actually it’s great. UAC is great. Never turn it off. No, seriously.




In Windows 7 To set ACNE to run in XP mode. Right-click the actual acne.exe file,click properties, compatibility & set to XP sp 2 or 3 mode. It doesn’t need to run as Administrator, which is good practice anyway. You should only run a program as Administrator if you desperately need to (ie. the installer, as above). It can make the difference between a program crashing-and-burning itself, or your whole computer.


While you’re at it you should probably tweak the shortcut you use in the start menu as well. The procedure is the same … right-click the shortcut and click properties …


That should do it. If you have any questions, comments or tips, please feel free to add them here.


Using ACNE with Excel 2007 or 2010

ACNE was originally developed to run in Windows XP and with versions of Excel that used the .XLS format (97 & 2003). Excel’s file format changed to the .XLSX format with the release of Office 2007 and continues with Office 2010. Both ACNE and Excel need some adjustments to make ACNE work properly. Without these tweaks ACNE will produce worksheets with 1-million-rows, about 127MB in size, and will take a month of Sundays doing so. Fear not – this is easily fixed.

ACNE and Excel …

1. Go to Excel options … in 2007 …


…or Excel options in 2010 …


2. Set Excel to save as Excel 2003 format (XLS, not XLSX) by default…


3. Also make sure it creates 3 worksheets. That is the default setting …


In ACNE, when you specify the name of the spreadsheet to save, make sure you type the “.xlsx” extension. You have to type it –  the dropdown list of file types (all one of them) will save it with the .XLS extension but it will actually save the file as the newer format.


If you leave the extension as .XLS then it will actually save it as the latest version but when opening Excel, it will warn you that the file extension does not match the type the file is saved as. This won’t break anything but it’s not a good look if you’re sending these file to people you are trying to not unimpress.

As an aside, notice how I named the spreadsheet in my example? This format makes it very easy to keep track of all the different cable schedules. In a nutshell …

  • ACNE = whatever you’d like to call the spreadsheet
  • yy = the year
  • mm = month. Always use 2 digits so it sorts properly
  • dd = day. Always use 2 digits so it sorts properly
  • x = today’s version. I use a-z. When you get to z you’ve had enough – go home.



It’s a little tedious but with these workarounds ACNE will happily generate cable schedules in using the latest version of Excel.