Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Calc Usability Improvements in 2.4

We founded a team to improve the usability of Calc last year. First usability improvements made by this team are visible in OOo 2.3. The new OOo 2.4 release now contains even more usability improvements for Calc. This article list those improvements and links to specifications, further articles and videos:

1. Convert text to columns

With this feature CSV data inside cells can be transformed into columns directly. It uses the already existing Text import dialog and transforms CSV data inside cells into multiple columns. Example: A1 holds '1,2,3,4". After using this feature, 1, 2, 3 and 4 are split over cells.

Start this feature with the menu Data>Text to Columns.

Article Issue: 4040 Spec

2. Insertion Mode for Cells

Cells in spreadsheet can be moved, copied, or linked Select one or more columns or rows, or a range of cells, and hold down Alt while moving the selection with the mouse. When the mouse button is released, other cells/columns/rows are moved left or down, to insert the selection. Before this feature, target cells always were overwritten.

Article Issue: 7180 Spec

3. Enhanced Data Input

Enter key returns to the column where the input started, one row below Entering data row wise is made easier. The Enter key works like a carriage return-line feed on a type writer and allows to return to the column where the input started, but just a row below the current row.

Video Issue: 15546 Spec

4. Enhanced Formula Input

Formula input: "+" and "-" can also be used to start Most professional spreadsheet users do use the number pad for inputting data to save time. So it makes sense to allow to enter a formula not just by entering a "=" or hitting the Function button in the Formula tool bar. Therefore "+" and "-" can also be used to start entering a formula. This improves the usability and the speed when creating formulas in a spreadsheet. Furthermore this can be used as a little calculator.

Issue: 20496 Spec

5. Individual zoom level per sheet

Each sheet in a spreadsheet document can now have its own zoom level.

Issue: 24372 Spec

6. Improved AutoFilter Behavior

Choices are clearer grouped and based on result of filtering in other columns The AutoFilter function allows to filter data in a spreadsheet by one criteria per column. This feature allows to run a quick analysis of data. Two things are new: there is a clearer grouping of static filter choices. And if in one column a filter is set, the filters in the other columns only show the options that are available in the visible rows.

Issue: 27745 Spec

7. Improved DataPilot

Manual Sorting It's now possible to rearrange items in a DataPilot field via Drag&Drop or Copy&Paste. The default sorting for new tables is "Ascending", it is changed to "Manual" when items are moved.

Issue: 32307 Spec

Double-click in Datapilot cell provides calculation data of that cell When a cell within the data field is double-clicked, it inserts a new sheet containing a subset of rows from the original data source that constitutes the result data displayed in that cell. For instance, when the data field function is selected to be SUM, then the number that is shown in the data field cell must be identical to the sum of all the data field values in the constituent rows displayed in the inserted sheet.

Issue: 57030 Spec

8. Improved Print Dialog

The Print dialog in Calc makes it easier to choose what part of the spreadsheet has to be printed. The option 'print only selected sheets' is now on that dialog.

Furthermore the 'Sort' option is defaulted to on. This makes it easier to print multiple copies of a document.

Issue: 82071 Spec

9. Improved Print Preview

PageUp and PageDown keys scroll continuously through the print preview. Ctrl + PgUp/PgDn scroll to top of next/previous page.

Issue: 7269

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