Calc is an Excel-like application within LibreOffice suite, completely free and providing the same features and functionality. I find its design slightly better than Microsoft Excel’s, allowing the user to easily navigate between menus and basic functions. I particularly like the intuitive icon sets and the navigation panel on the right side.
When you run the program, the main window will show up equipped with three predefined toolbars: Standard, Formatting and Formula Bar.
The Standard toolbar
It’s well structured, letting the user to quickly access the most basic functions.
1. The New/Open/Save group
Clicking the icons lets you create a new document, open an existing one and save your current work. This can be also done using the shortcut keys: Ctrl+N – new document, Ctrl + O – open an existing one, Ctrl + S – saves the current document (acts like “save as” if it’s a new document that wasn’t previously saved). An interesting feature is the one that allows you to create any kind of new document by clicking the small black arrow next to the “New document” icon.
From the drop-down menu the user can pick the desired document to create.
2. The PDF/Print/Print preview group
Exports the current document in .pdf format, prints your work or lets you preview the document before printing and make any necessary settings.
3. The Cut/Paste/Clone formatting group
Here you may cut/paste any selected text, shape or image within your document or from other files. The Clone formatting tool copies any properties of a selected item and applies them to another at your choice.
4. The Spelling/Find group
Allows you to check your text for spelling mistakes and to quickly find and replace words and/or phrases.
5. The Insert/Remove/Merge and center group
Lets you insert rows and columns or remove them. Also, you can merge any selected cells.
6. The Sort/Filter group
Sorts ascending/descending the selected data within your document or applies a filter to column heads, so that the records can be refined according to the given instructions.
7. The Insert image/Chart/Pivot table group
Here can be quickly inserted images and charts, pivot tables for brief reports of recorded data, hyperlinks to other documents, worksheets or url. Also, the Show Draw Functions button reveals the Draw toolbar at the bottom of the page. Shapes, arrows, text boxes, flowcharts etc. can be inserted with just one click.
The Formatting toolbar
As in Writer documents, this toolbar provides full functionality for settings like: font type, size, color and formatting (bold, italic, underlined), highlight text, text alignment and wrapping, cell formatting (as currency, percentage, number or date), decrease/increase decimals and indentation, create borders and apply a conditional formatting over any selected cells.
The Formula toolbar
The left side of the Formula toolbar displays the currently selected cell. If multiple cells are selected (e.g. from A1 to B10), than the entire range of cells is displayed (e.g. A1:B10).
The fx button calls a formula wizard which will help you to choose the appropriate one from a grouped, complete list.
Select the desired formula and its description will appear on the right side of the window, both with the result.
The Σ symbol will automatically calculate the sum of an adjacent range of cells containing numbers.
The function bar is where you are able to insert formulas and/or functions. It will also display information about the selected cell. If the cell contains a simple number, date or text, it will be displayed as it is. Instead, if the cell returns a formula or function result, the function bar will display the formula or function.
In a future article we’ll go deeper inside this great application and we’ll learn how to manage the data within a worksheet.