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Incompatible Formulas in OpenOffice Calc and Excel

OpenOffice.org Calc: Why Are My Formulas Behaving So Badly?

If you’ve used Excel in the past with any regularity, you may find yourself experiencing some difficulty with formulas – whether creating them in Calc or trying to open an Excel file in Calc.

While I can’t guarantee that I’ve got the answer to your problems, I can definitely make a pretty good suggestion as to what to check.

The two programs differ in the way they string together the arguments of a formula… let’s take a look.

Here’s the way Excel demonstrates how you should put together things in the average formula:


Not let’s examine the suggestion Calc gives you for the same formula:


See the difference?

It’s slight, but you’ll find that it’s definitely there… Calc uses semi-colons between the arguments of a formula and Excel uses commas.

Not a real big difference when you or I look at it, but it’s a huge difference to Calc.

Next time you’re experiencing formula syntax issues, just take a second and double check yourself… which separator did you use?

~ April