Because we are sending emails in multiple languages, I need to set a look up function that finds the country code (en-US, it-IT, etc) inside my content data extension first to then determine how to display the number which is coming from a different data extensions using looping. Is this possible?

I have tried the following but no luck:

%%=FormatNumber(Field(@row, "clickouts"),"N0","(Lookup(@de_content,"number_format", @contact_language_column, @contact_language))")=%%

FYI here is ampscript setting in beginning so you can see where the lookup columns are set:

%%[var @contact_language_column, @contact_language, @de_content, 
set @de_content = "monthlyperformance_content" 
set @contact_language_column = "contact_language"
set @contact_language = [contact_language]

And then looping:

var @rs, @row, @cntr

SET @rs = LookupRows("ITEMS_monthlyperf_august", "account_id", account_id)

for @cntr = 1 to RowCount(@rs) do

SET @row = Row(@rs, @cntr)

The error message I am receiving when using the above is:

Unable to generate preview There is an error in your email. Please contact your customer service representative. Error 1: Invalid Function Call
Invalid characters appear at the end of the parameter value Function Call: FormatNumber(Field(@row, "clickouts"),"N0","(Lookup(@de_content,"number_format", @contact_language_column, @contact_language))") Parameter Value: (Lookup(@de_content, Invalid Character: n
Invalid Content:
FormatNumber(Field(@row, "clickouts"),"N0","(Lookup(@de_content,"number_format", @contact_language_column, @contact_language))")

Update: When attempting the answer below I received this message:

An error occurred when attempting to evaluate a FormatNumber function call. See inner exception for details. Function Call: FormatNumber(Field(@row, "clickouts"),"N0","@CultureCode")

StackID: 6 EnterpriseID: 6172748 ClientID: 6184299 Client Database ID: 664 Account Type: BUSINESS_UNIT JobID: 0 SubscriberID: 105690014 Content Type: HTML MachineName: IND1S06WWW06

An error occurred when attempting to retrieve the culture's numeric format for a FormatNumber function call. The passed culture value may not be valid. The third parameter value for a FormatNumber call must be a recognized culture name such as en-US, en-GB, es-ES, fr-FR, de-DE, or ja-JP. See inner exception for detail. Culture: @CultureCode

Culture is not supported. Parameter name: name @CultureCode is an invalid culture identifier.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Adrian Larson
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:05

2 Answers 2


Thank you everyone for your help! We got an answer!!!

I ended up using this idea:

var @CultureCode

SET @CultureCode = Lookup(@de_content,"number_format", @contact_language_column, @contact_language)

%%=FormatNumber(Field(@row, "clickouts"),"N0", @CultureCode)=%%

BUT for it to work, I just had to take the quotes off from around @CultureCode in the FormatNumber call (in original answer). I also needed to import the local code itself as Data Type 'Locale' in the data extension. Very exciting now!!!


From your comments,

  • The reason why the intial error was thrown is that the system could not resolve the lookup function as it did not exist within the data extension.

Try this

var @CultureCode

SET @CultureCode = Lookup(@de_content,"number_format", @contact_language_column, @contact_language)

%%=FormatNumber(Field(@row, "clickouts"),"N0","@CultureCode")=%%
  • Hi! It is not NO , it is N - Zero :) and the number_format column does exist in the data extension - but it is a different data extension than the other part of the call requires (number_format exists in 'de_content' and clickouts exists in 'ITEMS_monthlyperf_august'
    – A.Malone
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 11:17
  • Ahh I like this idea! But I am still getting an error. I believe it is not reading the content correctly - i tried importing it as it-IT & "it-IT" & (it-IT) and still nothing ;(
    – A.Malone
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 15:07

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