Microsoft has been forced to admit that a security update for its popular Excel application caused non-English text to appear on some users' screens.

In a posting on the Office Sustained Engineering blog, Microsoft engineers branded the error a "cosmetic issue" caused by the firmís patch update which shipped on Tuesday.

"We have received reports from some of our Excel 2003 and Excel 2002 customers that after installing update KB978471 or KB978474, they are seeing non-English text in the Add or Remove Programs tool (WinXP) or the Programs and Features --> Installed Updates view (Vista, Win7)," the posting noted.

"The title text being displayed for this update is Chinese Simplified. It's very important to note that this cosmetic issue does not affect the functionality of the update. All of the security fixes in this bulletin (MS10-017) are included in the update."

Microsoft told affected users that there is a two part workaround for the problem: first they must uninstall the update and then follow a link to install a corrected version from the Download Centre.

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