How to use Open Office Calc?

Written by on January 27, 2012 in Spreadsheets - Comments Off

Spreadsheets, sheets and cells

Open Office Calc basically works with spreadsheets. This type of document consists of several individual sheets, with each sheet having numerous cells arranged in columns and rows. A specific cell is described by its column letter and row number. Cells hold the specific data elements to be displayed and managed such as numbers, text, formulas, and objects. Each spreadsheet can have numerous sheets, and each sheet can have plenty of individual cells. In Open Office Calc 3.3, each sheet can accommodate a maximum of 1024 columns and 1,048,576 rows.

Title bar

The Title bar, at the top of the page, displays the name of the spreadsheet in use. When a new spreadsheet is created, its name will be Untitled X, where X represents a number. When saving a spreadsheet, you will be asked to enter your own title.

Menu bar

Below the Title bar is the Menu bar. When choosing from the menu, a submenu is displayed with other options. You can alter the Menu bar if you wish to customize it.


By default, there are three toolbars below the Menu bar: the Formula Bar the Standard toolbar, and the Formatting toolbar. The buttons or icons on these toolbars deliver common functions and commands. You can also customize these toolbars if need be.

In the Formatting toolbar, you will find the “Apply Style and Font” boxes and so with the Font Size and Name lists. They display the current setting for the chosen area or cell. To open the list, click the arrow beside each box.

Formula bar

You will find a small text box on the Formula bar’s left side which is called the Name Box. In here would be a number and letter combination like D7. This pair is called the cell reference which indicates the column letter and row number of any selected cell.


In Open Office Calc, Function covers much more than just calculations. The Sum button, when clicked inserts a formula into the current cell that sums up the numbers in selected cells preceding the current cell. If no numbers appear above the current cell, the Sum formula gets the cells to the left. By clicking the Function button an equals (=) sign is inserted into the chosen cell and the Input line prompting the cell to accept a formula.

The Function Wizard, Function and Sum buttons, and can be found beside the Name box. The Function Wizard button, when clicked, reveals a dialog frame from which to find available functions and how functions are formatted.

Upon a new data entry, the Equals and Sum buttons transforms into Accept and cancel buttons. The contents of the current cell are displayed in the Input line, which completes the remainder of the Formula Bar. The contents of the current cell can be edited through in the cell itself or Input line. To edit the Input line, just click the line, and then type your alterations. Just double-click the cell to edit within the current cell.

Individual cells

The main part of the screen shows the cells in the grid form, with each cell positioned at the intersection of a row and a column. At the left end of the rows and at the top of the columns, gray boxes consisting of letters and numbers represent the row and column headers. The columns begin at A going on to the right while the rows begin at 1 going down. These series of headers form the cell references appearing in the Name Box contained in the Formula Bar. You can hide or show these headers by choosing “View > Column & Row Headers.”

Sheet tabs

The sheet tabs are below the grid of cells. These tabs allow access to individual sheets, with the white tab containing active sheets. With Calc 3.3, colors can be chosen for the various sheet tabs. When clicking on another sheet tab, the tab becomes white. You can also pick out multiple sheet tabs simultaneously by holding on to the Control key while clicking the names.

Status bar

At the lowest part of the Calc window, the status bar sits, which delivers information about the whole spreadsheet and displays convenient ways on how to quickly change some features.

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