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Old 10-20-2009, 07:48 PM   #1
newbiesforever
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do you like OO Calc?


What do you think of OpenOffice Calc (the spreadsheet)? I had an awful experience with it recently, needing hours just to make a fairly simple chart based on a few rows and columns of information. I'm tentative about comparing Calc to MS Excel, because I haven't used Excel in at least a year and because I generally don't often use Calc (or any spreadsheet); but it seems to me that the last time I used Excel, making a chart or graph wasn't that difficult. This is the opposite of my experience with OpenOffice Writer, which I find to be an excellent substitute for Microsoft Word in every way.
 
Old 10-20-2009, 09:21 PM   #2
jlinkels
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You are right, Calc is weak.

Especially for graphs there are a zillion of non-logical actions to take to accomplish what you want. Although I don't work with Excel anymore for at least 5 years, I cannot get familiar with Calc. More than once I have reverted to Gnumeric or Gnuplot in utter frustration when I was not able to get the graph right.

I agree with you, ooWriter is much better quality and a pleasure to work with, and preferable over Word.

jlinkels
 
Old 10-20-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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Back in high school, I was not even able to use it for my homework. The chart interface is terrible and does not support basic options such as displaying the growth rate on x:y graph and many other options lacked. 4 years later, any of those options have been added. Calc is the worst OOo app. I find every each of them lacking in many aspect. Having to install a plugin in impress to be able to switch individual page from portrait to landscape is also ridiculous. On top of that, it is incredibly slow to load and save documents.

Currently, I am restarting to use KOffice. The transition from 1.6 to 2 was hard, but feature start to come back. It's just faster and the interface is great. It lack stability and perfect support for ODF and MS formats, 1.6 had better luck for these, but it outperform OOo and apply the 80:20 rule well. The 20 percent feature normal user use are easily accessible while the 80% are hidden or not present at all, but we don't need them most of the time anyway, so who care as long as it does not corrupt the document when such features are present.

Last edited by Elv13; 10-20-2009 at 10:23 PM.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 12:26 AM   #4
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I guess Sun has a lot of work to do. But since OpenOffice is not a commercial product, I don't suppose improving it can be their top priority.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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It is a commercial product, they just rebrand it staroffice from time to time, add fonts, cliparts, templates and support. The problem is not Sun commitment, it is Oracle will to keep a weakly designed C++ application in their products line.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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Use gnumeric, it's way better, IMO.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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I tried Gnumeric when I was doing this assignment, and thought it was no easier. Presently, I went to the local community college so I could do my latest chart assignment in Excel, wondering how much easier it would be. I have found that in its own way, Excel is awful too. I discovered that its help menu contains at least one set of wrong instructions for a task.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 03:50 PM   #8
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Contrary to everyone else, I quite like Calc. OK, it's got some quirks with regards getting the graphs right (most irritatingly is the number of steps you need to perform to add a title or axis label after you've run through the wizard). However, I don't think that these steps are necessarily more complicated or long-winded than they are in Excel. I have no idea about gnumeric as I've never used it for more than a quick look-see.

I like that calc asks me how I want to import a given text file rather than just open it with all the text in the first column (like Excel did - I realise there's the text to columns functionality, but this is retrospective, which is a bit late, quite frankly). I like the default colours that are applied to plots. I like the help - the descriptions of the functions are pretty top notch, I think. I like that having writer and impress open mean that a new instance of calc opens in an instant because of the existing instances of some parts of OOo. Its trend lines are directly comparable to those in Excel, although its calculations of R^2 are a little off, but not by much.

I always use calc over Excel (I have both OOo and Microsoft Office installed on my Windows machine at work), though that was originally because Office 2007 was such a shock.

I agree that Writer and Impress are more polished products, but then a spreadsheet application is probably a more complicated thing to get right.

Perhaps I'll take a look at Gnumeric in case I've been wrong all this time!
 
Old 10-21-2009, 07:33 PM   #9
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Yea, file import work better out of the box, but Excel support this too, it is just in the menu (but copy and paste is more intuitive, it is just simpler in calc)
 
Old 10-21-2009, 09:49 PM   #10
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Well, I've noticed one extremely helpful thing Excel can do that Calc can't. In Excel, when defining data series/data ranges that will be in your chart, you can select the data range by highlighting columns or rows in the spreadsheet--while the data series/data ranges window is still open. I just tried to do that in Calc; it was not possible.
 
Old 10-22-2009, 04:46 AM   #11
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You know sometimes I just use awk or perl to do calculations then gnuplot to plot things ... it's more manually intensive, but many times it works a lot better. Many of my teachers were impressed by 3D graphs and I got extra points just for that
 
Old 10-22-2009, 05:14 AM   #12
pwc101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Well, I've noticed one extremely helpful thing Excel can do that Calc can't. In Excel, when defining data series/data ranges that will be in your chart, you can select the data range by highlighting columns or rows in the spreadsheet--while the data series/data ranges window is still open. I just tried to do that in Calc; it was not possible.
Unless I'm missing what you're saying, I can do this in calc (OOo v3.1.1).

I created some dummy data (y=x^2). Then I select Insert > Chart. The wizard pops up, asking me to choose a chart type. I leave it as default (Column), then I click Next. It asks me to define a Data Range, so I click the little button at the end of the input box, just like I used to do in Excel; the wizard collapses into a thin box. I highlight my data in the spreadsheet. Calc populates the input box with the data I've just highlighted. Then I click Next until I hit Finish, and then I have a bar chart of my values of x^2.

Unless I've totally missed what you meant...
 
Old 10-22-2009, 09:16 AM   #13
newbiesforever
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Sorry, I mean doing it after the wizard is gone and the table is made.
 
Old 10-22-2009, 09:27 AM   #14
pwc101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Sorry, I mean doing it after the wizard is gone and the table is made.
Table?

If you meant chart, then:

Once you've made your chart, enter into the "edit mode" (I don't know what the technical term for it is, but when the outline of the chart is grey, and you can move the various parts around). Then right click in the chart, select "Data Ranges", and then go to the "Data Series" tab. In there, you have your existing series. If you want to add a new one, click "Add", then select the data for the X and/or Y values by highlighting values in the "Data ranges" box on the right. As before, you can select data from the spreadsheet by using the "Select data range" button at the end of the input box.

Again, unless I've misunderstood you?

Last edited by pwc101; 10-22-2009 at 09:28 AM.
 
Old 10-22-2009, 11:48 AM   #15
newbiesforever
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the "select data range" button is a kludge

Chart, yes--that's what I meant. Sorry.

Oh...yes, I didn't realize that when selecting the data range, you must click on that "select data range" button. It's an unnecessary step; if I recall the things I did in Excel yesterday, when you are in that data ranges/data series window and in the "range for y-values" box, Excel does not require you to click that extra button in order to highlight data in the spreadsheet. Calc shouldn't either. Clicking into the "range for y-values" box seems sufficient.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 10-22-2009 at 11:50 AM.
 
  


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