Introduction to Cells


As you are aware, when StarCalc starts, it opens a workbook made of three worksheets. A worksheet is simply made of cells that are patiently waiting for you. You should first practice typing different kinds of stuff and see what happens.

At all times, at least one of the cells on the worksheet you are working on has focus. That cell is referred to as the default cell. That cell is surrounded with a thicker border. If you type something, it goes into the default cell. If you click a cell and start typing, the new entry will replace the content of that cell, whether that cell had data or not, this could be advantageous or disastrous.

The thing you type in a cell is called a datum and the plural is data; sometimes the word data refers to both singular and plural. Data you type in a cell can consist of any kinds of characters, letters, numbers, etc. Sometimes, a long text will look like covering more than one cell; unless you merge cells, the text you type goes into one cell regardless of the length of the text.

  1. Start StarCalc or the Spreadsheet application of StarOffice or
  2. Press Ctrl + Home. Observe the cell's name in the Sheet Area.
  3. Press the down arrow key. Observe the cell's name in the Sheet Area.
  4. Press the right arrow key twice.
  5. Press the down arrow key.
  6. Press the left arrow key.
  7. Click cell A2.
  8. Click cell B4.
  9. Click cell D12.
  10. Click cell B4, type Honda. Press Enter. Notice that the text is left aligned.
  11. Type Buick and press Enter.
  12. Type Mazda and press the down arrow key.
  13. Type Folks and on the main menu, click Edit -> Undo:Insert. That deletes the content of cell B7.
  14. Type VW and press the down arrow key.
  15. Type h and notice that the cell is auto-completed with Honda.
  16. Click cell B2, type Make and press Tab.
  17. Type Model and press Tab.
  18. Type Month and press the right arrow key.
  19. Type Miles and press the right arrow key.
  20. Type rice and press Esc
  21. Type Price and press Tab.
  22. Type Contact and press the right arrow key.
  23. Type Published
  24. Click cell C4, type Corolla and observe the signs on the left of the Input Line on the Formula Bar.
  25. Click the Cancel button on the Object Bar.
  26. Type Accord
  27. Press Tab and type 1988
    Notice that the number is right aligned. Press Tab.
  28. Type 172460 and press right arrow key.
  29. Type 2350 and press Tab.
  30. Type Brenda
  31. Press the right arrow key.
  32. Type 08/05/00 and press Enter.
  33. Click the cell that has 08/05/00. Notice that, in the Input Line, the date is converted to a valid date: 8/5/2000
  34. Click cell D2 and type Year
  35. Notice that when you click a cell and start typing, the new word replaces the old cell content. That's how you can replace the content of a cell.
  36. Press Enter.
  37. Click cell B8. Double-click Honda in the Input Line to select it. Type Ford
  38. Double-click cell E2. Notice that the cursor is positioned in the cell.
  39. Press End, press Backspace to delete s, type age
  40. Now the cell displays Mileage
    Click cell G5 and type David
  41. Press the down arrow key.
  42. Type b and press Enter. Notice that StarCalc completed the word Brenda for you.
  43. In cell G7, type Alex and press Enter.
  44. To undo your last action, press Ctrl + Z. Now cell G7 is empty.
  45. To redo the last action, on the main menu, click Edit -> Redo: Input. That puts Alex back in cell G7.

The Zoom Settings

The zoom helps to increase or decrease the view of the interface. Although it doesn't affect the actual display of the characters sizes or cells contents, using the zoom setting can make the worksheet a little easier to read. 

To change the zoom setting, you use the Zoom dialog box.

  1. On the main menu, click View -> Zoom...
  2. Notice that the default view is et to 100%. Click the 200% radio button:
  3. Click OK.
  4. On the main menu, click View -> Zoom...
  5. Click the Variable radio button, select 100% which is the content of its text box, type 82 and press Enter.
  6. Press F10 to give focus to the menu. Press v and press z. That will call the Zoom dialog box.
  7. Click the 100% radio button and click OK.


Workbook Properties

Every workbook has some characteristics, attributes, and features that make it unique as a file, these are its properties. 

You can access a workbook's properties from three main areas on the computers. 

Suppose the file is saved on the desktop and/or it has a shortcut on the desktop. In MS Windows, if you open My Computer, Windows Explorer, or the folder (as a window) where the file is stored, right-click the workbook and click Properties. If the file was saved on the desktop, you will see only some of its properties, the most you can do there is to assign a Read-Only attribute. In My Computer and Windows Explorer, you will be able to change the file's properties.

In Linux, locate the file or its shortcut and right-click it. Click Properties

Before opening a file or while in the Open dialog box, you can view some of the workbook's properties although you won't be able to change them. 

When the workbook is opened in StarCalc, click File -> Properties to access its properties. 

A workbook's properties are used for various reasons. You can always find out the size of the file, its location (the hosting folder), who created the filed, or who was the last person to access or modify it. The Properties dialog box is also a good place to leave messages to other users of the same workbook, about anything, whether you work as a team or you simply want to make people aware of a particular issue regarding the file.

  1. While the new workbook is still opened, on the main menu, click File -> Properties.
  2. Click the General tab. Notice the icon associated/registered with the file. Review the Created and Modified values.
  3. Click Description.
  4. Click the Title text box and type Allentown Car Sales
  5. Click the Subject text box and type Weekly car sales summary
  6. Click the Keywords text box and type accounting, sales, review, employees, cars
  7. Click the Comment text box and type This is an attempted summary sales review, if you have any concern, please contact Georgia Delaine, the Sales Accounts Manager. If you make any changes, send her an e-mail immediately.
  8. Click the User Defined property sheet.
  9. Click the Info 0 text box and type Manager: Georgia Delaine
  10. Click the Info 1 text box and type Category: Employees Sales Results
  11. Click OK to register the changes and close the dialog box.


Saving a Workbook

A StarCalc workbook gets saved like any traditional application's file. You need to pay attention to two primary things. Whenever you decide to save a file for the first time, you need to provide a file name and a location. The file name helps the computer identify that particular file and registers it in its database.

A file name can consist of up to 255 characters, you can include spaces and dashes in a name. Although there are many characters you can use in a name (such as exclamation points, etc), avoid fancy names. Give your workbook a name that is easily recognizable, a little explicit. For example such names as Time Sheets, employee's Time Sheets, GlobalEX First Invoice are explicit enough.

Like any file on your operating system (MS Windows or Linux), a StarCalc workbook has an extension, which is .sdc but you don't have to type it in the name. Personally, I would recommend you don't worry about that, let the computer take care of such details.

The second important piece of information you should pay attention to when saving your workbook is the location. The location is the folder or directory where the file is or will be saved. The folder or directory depends on the operating system. In MS Windows, by default, StarCalc saves its workbooks in the C:\My Documents folder. In Linux, the default directory, also referred to as My Documents, is /home/UserName/office52/user/work. In both operating systems, you can change this default folder or directory in the Options dialog box (Tools -> Options). When saving your workbook, you can also select any folder or directory of your choice in the Save As dialog box. Just click the arrow of the Save In combo box and select the folder you want.

StarCalc allows you to save its files in a type of your choice. To save a workbook in another format than the default StarCalc workbook, from the Save As dialog box, click the arrow of the File Type combo box and select a format of your choice.

There are other things you can do in the Save As dialog box, we will address them as we move along.

To save a file for the first time, you can click File on the main menu, then click Save (if the file has not been saved before, the File -> Save menu will call the Save As dialog box). You can also click the Save button on the function bar. In MS Windows, you can as well press Ctrl + S. Other alternatives include pressing F12, Alt + F2, or Shift + F12.



If using Linux (or MS Winnt for that matter) on a network, verify with your administrator that you have all the basic rights you need to save, copy, or open the necessary files for your job.



The Save As Dialog Box
  1. To save the current workbook, from the main menu, click File -> Save As...
  2. Type Allentown Car Sales
  3. If you are using Microsoft Windows 9X or Me, make sure the directory label displays C:\My Documents
    If you are using Microsoft Windows NT or 2000, make sure the directory label displays C:\Winnt\Profiles\UserName
    If you are using Microsoft Windows XP (Home Edition), make sure the directory label displays C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\MyDocuments
    If the directory label does not display one of the directories above, click the Up One Level button to navigate up the tree. When you get too far up in the tree, double-click the C: drive or the name of the folder in the Folders and Files List box until the right folder displays in the directory label.
    If you are using Linux, Click the Up One Level button to get to the /home/UserName directory. If you find yourself too far up (such /home), double-click your UserName directory to display it in the Directory label
  4. After making sure that you are in the right folder or directory, click the Create New Directory button.
  5. Type Exercises and press Enter
  6. From the Folders and Files list in the dialog box, double-click Exercises to display it in the Directory label.
  7. Once again, click the Create New Directory button.
  8. Type Spreadsheets and press Enter
  9. Double-click the Spreadsheets name in the list to display it in the Directory Label
  10. Make sure that the File Name text box displays Allentown Car Sales (if it doesn't, type it)
  11. Click the Save button. 

Opening a Workbook

The workbooks you use could be created by you or someone else. They could be residing on your computer, on a network, or you could receive one by email. Once one of them is accessible, you can open it in your application.

You can open a workbook either by double-clicking its icon or by locating it in the Open dialog box. To access the Open dialog box, on the main menu, click File -> Open... You can also click the Open button on the Function bar. A shortcut to call the Open dialog box is Ctrl + O.

  1. On the main menu, click File -> Open...
  2. In the Open dialog box, click the Up One Level button.
    If you are using MS Windows, locate the folder where Office52 was installed. By default, it is C:\Office52.
    If you are using Linux, locate where Office52 is located. By default, it should be /home/UserName/Office52.
  3. In the Folders and Files list, double-click the share directory.
  4. Inside of the share directory, double-click the samples directory.
  5. Double-click english
  6. Double-click spreadsheets
  7. Click OfficeSharingAssoc.sdc:
  8. Click the Open button.


The StarCalc Defaults Options

StarCalc has default folders or directories for its (internal) use. These folders can be checked in the Options dialog box, in the Paths link that is under General. That is just one of the default settings that your application uses. And like many other software products, you can change these values to ease your experience with the software.

StarCalc allows you to save your document automatically every set number of minutes. This allows you to make sure that the document can be rescued in case the computer crashes or some unpredictable thing happens while you are working on a spreadsheet.

  1. From the main menu, click Tools -> Options...
  2. If there is a + on the left of General, click it to make it -
    Under General, click Save
  3. On the right side, in the Save section, click the AutoSave Every check box and change the Minute spin button to 8
  4. Click the Prompt to Save check box to remove the check box.
  5. On the left side, click the Paths link.
  6. On the right side, scroll down in the list and click arrow My Documents
  7. Click the Edit... button
  8. In the Select Path dialog box, click the Up One Level button.
    In MS Windows 9X, Me, or XP, locate the My Documents folder.
    In MS Windows NT or 2000, locate the C:\Winnt\Profiles\UserName folder.
    In Linux, locate the /home/UserName directory
  9. Click the Create New Directory button.
  10. Type StarCalc Exercises and press Enter.
    This was just to show you how to create a directory here.
  11. In the list of directories, double-click StarExos
    The StarExos directory was create previously
  12. Notice the location in the Path edit box. Click Select
  13. Notice that a new path has been set for the My Documents path.
  14. On the left side, click Spreadsheet
  15. Click everyone of the link under Spreadsheet
  16. Click OK

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