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OpenOffice.org Calc: Data Forms

If you’ve used MS Excel’s data form feature then you know how handy it is to have.

For those of you who haven’t used it, here’s the basic run-down of the feature…

What data form does is to give you a dialog window for entering rows of data in a table, avoiding actual navigation of the worksheet cells and the aggravating  occurrences of data accidentally placed in the wrong location.

The form would look something like this:


As you can see, each column heading from the table is represented as a field on the form. Fill in the fields (tab to get to the next one) and use the enter key to add that row of data and a blank form will appear for the entry of the next set of information.

Quick data entry with no cell navigation issues!

However, if you’ve changed to using OpenOffice.org Calc you may be missing the feature…


As you can see the Data menu does not contain a form choice.

To get this feature in OpenOffice.org Calc you’ll need to download and install the Data Form [1] extension.

(Once installed, don’t forget to close and re-start OpenOffice.org to be able to use it for the first time.)

Now try the Data menu.


See it?

Yep, with this extension you have the Form choice and you’re good to go!

Simply create the column headings for your table and one row of data. (All the documentation says to have a row of data. It worked for me with only the column headings but if it doesn’t for you then be sure to add that first row of information.)

Now, with a cell selected in the already created table use Data menu / Form choice to activate a form where you can add new rows of information, delete a row and use the Criteria button to search for specific records.

If the data form is a feature you’ve been missing from your days working in Excel then it’s time for you to do an OpenOffice.org “I found it” happy dance!

~ April