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Farewell To OpenOffice Spreadsheets Here


Last Edited: July 22, 2009, 10:40 am

While updating the old spreadsheets to cover the new error traps in my current project, I happened to open the OpenOffice spreadsheet I had built for the next part of this project. Trash. Garbage. Landfill. Somehow, during the update I made from OO 3.0 to 3.1, the 3.0 spreadsheets became unusable. Cell addresses in other cells became #NAME rather than the cell address originally entered. And as soon as I typed in the correction, those cell addresses reverted back to #NAME. The spreadsheet has been deleted - totally unusable and uncorrectable. I'll now have to rebuild the entire file in Excel - and, while I find the new ribbon taskbar hard to use and navigate, I have to bite the bullet - and there are about 4 million cells to be formatted. I am not a happy camper.

The OpenOffice word processor is good enough for the ordinary user, inasmuch as neat, ordinary documents can be generated much like that of the processors one used to have to pay for. But specialized functions, such as typesetting (which is a necessity in some of my applications) is missing.

I had a lot of time invested in the creation of the deleted spreadsheet, though. So goes it - back to work. Into each life some rain must fall.

Entry #231


konaneComment by konane - July 21, 2009, 11:56 pm
Ewwww, sorry to hear that, sounds like a real pain. Good luck with all you're doing!!!
ToddComment by Todd - July 22, 2009, 12:18 pm
Sorry to hear about your spreadsheet woes. I know what you mean about the ribbons be difficult to adapt to. I have had a tough time myself, and after a couple years I still have a difficult time finding certain functions. It is too much clicking just to do a simple thing, like inserting a symbol or picture, or working with data parsing.

One thing that might be helpful is not keeping the raw data in Excel. If you keep the raw data in delimited files, or even in a database, that will protect the data in case your spreadsheet fails or you accidentally change something.

Also, are you using Windows Vista? If so, be sure you do not have backups of the original spreadsheet available. One of the great features in Vista is that it automatically maintains old versions of all files -- even without your instruction to do so.

Try right-clicking on the file and select Properties. There should be a tab on the right side of the properties windows for Previous Versions. It just might save the day!

Also, if you have a network (even a simple network, such as a router or switch), I strongly recommend to anyone that they get Windows Home Server. HP sells a very good home server for a few hundred dollars.

Windows Home Server is what we in the industry call "headless", meaning that it does not require a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. -- just the box itself. You plug it into your network and you configure it from another PC on the network.

IMHO, WHS is one of the best products Microsoft has ever built. I can't really do it justice here, so I'd recommend checking it out on Microsoft's web site. Plus, there are many reviews about it on the web -- just do a Google search.

WHS automatically takes care of backups of all PCs in your house automatically. You just install the software, and it runs silently. You don't need to configure a thing, and it can do a complete restore of a PC, or you can restore old versions of individual files.
johnph77Comment by johnph77 - July 26, 2009, 1:09 am
Todd -

With the ribbons, I've found that functions used most often can be added to the top ribbon next to the Office button. I've added icons for several of those, including Close File, Add and Delete Columns and Rows, there - saves me time.

I have Vista. Unfortunately, everything that could have gone wrong with the old template, did. There WAS no data in the spreadsheet, only formulas. And the backup was just as corrupt as the original. So be it.

I have an external hard drive that is used ONLY for backups when I feel the need. Works well here.

Re-creation of the spreadsheets are underway, and won't take up as much time as I had originally envisioned. Unfortunately, I vastly underestimated the number of cells needing formatting; it's something over 7.6 million cells per spreadsheet. The one good thing about it is that I can now incorporate all of the additional error traps in the new spreadsheet, which will save vast amounts of time once the data entry process starts. I don't have to go back and edit the old spreadsheets.

Thanks for the tips - much appreciated.

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