I used to work in an insurance company on an actuarial pricing team where the preferred tool was Excel (the modelling was pretty simple). Needless to say, I became very accustomed to and adept with using Excel. We definitely pushed the limits... but what was nice was being able to grab 600K records (maybe 20 cols) from a DB, throw it in Excel and get some results in a matter of minutes. You might have to wait a few seconds based on what you were trying to do, but Excel could handle it.
At home I run Linux... where there is no Excel, so I use LibreOffice instead. Just a few days ago I was poking around the Himalayan Database and one of the tables has about 50K records. LibreOffice absolutely chokes when I try to do any filtering or calculations. As well, the pivot tables in Excel are in a totally different league than LibreOffice in terms performance and flexibility. It's unfortunate because I try to support OSS as much as possible... but LibreOffice is just so painful.
You could argue that I'm using the wrong tool for the job. Ultimately, I do throw it in SQLite or Pandas, but Excel is just so nice for ad hocs if it fits in memory.
Without comparing Excel vs LibreOffice vs etc, I've found the category of spreadsheet software to be immensely helpful for analyzing, aggregating, visualizing and reducing small datasets.
You do have to end up falling back to python scripts using pandas or whatever if you need to run jobs that need to take data from one DB and put it into another DB or something like that.
But if my output is basically a reduced set of tables, series or graphs for presentation, spreadsheets are an immensely useful tool.
What I've specifically done is have one sheet of the spreadsheet represent the "raw, unreduced data", and write up formulae for aggregation in other sheets, based on the raw data and intermediate aggregations. Starts becoming less ideal when you have 10 or more sheets, but for simple cases, it's very much underrated by us engineering folks.
Before heading into the store we have a Pivot table sum it all up, group everything by category sorted by the order those categories are encountered when walking though the store.
This way it takes 2-3 people less than an hour to shop for a 4 day trip for 10-20 people.
One holds the list, and then 1 or two runners go fetch stuff.
It’s been perfected over the years:)
This is exactly what I do. When it works, it is just way too fast for ad-hoc reporting to consider doing anything else. Pretty much all of my first draft reporting is built this way, so i can cut through the back-and-forth of management change requests before going through the trouble of setting up a full thing.
It is amazing how much you can accomplish with appending a couple columns to your raw data for categorization and then pivoting.
when im in a rush and need another layer (pivottable of a pivot table), I even set up formulas to reference a produced pivottable and then pivot on the formulas. You can extend the formulas far beyond expected use-cases and filter out the irrelevant rows later
File a bug. https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/
It's easy to complain in an HN comment, but a clear description of the test case would certainly help with getting the issue resolved.
I'd hope it's obvious why these comments are bad, but I guess not so:
* Not everyone has time to fix a bug or even file one.
* The ability to fix or file bugs doesn't mean that the bugs don't exist!
* The ability to fix or file bugs doesn't mean that one shouldn't talk about the bugs.
* The possibility of fixing a bug doesn't help if you don't have the time or ability to fix it and actually want to use the software.
* Not everyone is able to fix all bugs
* It's not nearly as easy for people outside a project to fix bugs as it is for people familiar with the code.
* Everyone already knows it is possible to file and fix bugs in open source software so you're not adding anything to the conversation.
(LibreOffice user here on Windows, donated in the past, but I find LibreOffice Calc really unpolished. It puzzles me because NeoOffice is really quite good on the Mac. I should probably just switch to MS Office.)
IME, systems that don't focus on performance as a primary metric tend to slow down over time as they accumulate features. Someone who is willing to buy Excel ($130) may not be willing to pay a $100 bounty every time some other programmer makes LibreOffice slower again.
I googled for LibreOffice performance regressions and found several, going back many years, and they tend to include a one-line fix. For all its faults, I'm sure there's a team at Microsoft that knows every time Excel performance regresses.
Do we need a list of missing features? I would also add:
* Copy paste from Writer does not work
* Summing a column (not a range) isn't possible
* Type detection is not as good
* Auto-update doesn't work at all
Could you elaborate on your column summation problem please.
=sum(E:E) works as does the summation button.
Don't understand your third point but if it is text vs numbers and dates etc then I've had plenty of fun with this in Excel as well over the decades.
Auto-update - please elaborate where it fails
Try to paste a table from Writer into Calc so that the structure is converted to rows and columns (like Word and Excel does).
Could you elaborate on your column summation problem please. =sum(E:E) works as does the summation button.
~I get Err:522 when I run =SUM(E:E)~
Me too. It's annoying in Excel, but worse in Calc.
The built-in auto-updater doesn't so much fail, as hasn't ever worked at all (Mac, but I think Windows as well). iirc I get a %%PERCENT%% placeholder sometimes, and the rest of the time I have to download the update from the website instead. Same on several machines.
Sorry, I get you now about auto updater - software updater not [Google: Excel auto-updater]. That's not really a thing on Linux because when you update the system, the whole thing updates - apps and all.
The pace of development in LO is absolutely amazing but there are some horrendous bugs with near immortality status. If you can put up with them then use it. No software is perfect but LO is moving at increasing speed towards the light.
This is a fairly beefy machine but over two years old so nothing particularly special nowadays.
For ad hoc filtering, calculations, merging, analyzing tabular datasets a dedicated tool such as our EasyMorph (https://easymorph.com) would do a better job than Excel in the vast majority of cases. It can handle millions of rows, keeps data in memory, has a wide range of available transforms and built-in charting. We target heavy Excel users and it works quite well. Disclaimer: I work for EasyMorph.
Libre Office is for home use: tax prep, budgeting, graphing science projects. That's what I use it for, and it's perfect and free. That might be unfair to all the hard work that's been put into it, but if you don't push its limits, it works great.
So I guess I am arguing it's the wrong tool for data heavy jobs.
Anyone know of something similar, but more up to date?
But... according to the rest of your post, you _did_ hesitate to pay for it and are finding that LibreOffice doesn't fit your needs. So why not buy Excel?
> At home I run Linux... where there is no Excel
You can run it in a VM, but at that point you're already settling for a sub-optimal experience, so why not try a alternative that's free and packaged for your OS?
The whole SoftMaker Office suite is pretty nice. Not sure where it's on feature parity with Microsoft Office, but the price isn't terrible (something like $20 a year for the paid version, or free if you don't care about the paid features) and it does a great job of reading Office files.
I would be very curious about your experience as you certainly tax the software much more than I do.
LibreOffice is just so painful
You are. You could try this reporting tool instead: http://pebblereports.com it has an Office like interface, works really well with databases and has performant crosstabs.
If they were using Windows, they could save a couple hundred bucks and just use Excel.
I scan the comments and see a few anecdotal comments about how life is just fine with LO. But as many other comments point out: it's not the one-offs that make this hard, it's the fact that excel is the de-facto information exchange between people, businesses, and boards. To be a broken record: it's too ingrained.
Coming from engineering, CS people never seemed to understand why someone used Matlab at all, when python existed or even the utility of 'R'/'Stata'.
The effort needed to onboard onto a programming/mathematical/computational tool, when you don't have a strong coding background to go with it, is extremely high. The users will hold on to them till their dying breath, because the is tied to more than 50% of their own value proposition.
Excel is the epitome of this phenomenon.
Also, excel is straight up a good tool. The only advantage of Libre office is the price, which is a non-factor for any major corp. Google's collaboration suite is better, but they lag behind in every other area.
I can see windows being completely replaced by competitor, but Office will stay. It is MSFT's stickiest product.
Another one: Excels stubborn insistence on mangling anything that can be somehow construed into a date into one :-/
Which recent excel versions you can bring that data table directly into power query as well, which is useful if youve got multiple csv you are trying to look at that are related
Another way to say this is: "learn".
People who code for a living are used to regularly teaching themselves new things, but there are lots of folks in other corners of the organization that expect to be taught / onboarded, and it's not an entirely unreasonable expectation. I think the word "onboard" implies a cost will have to be paid (e.g. time, money, man-hours, hiring new talent, etc.), and that's what the parent poster wanted to emphasize.
But the nasty truth is that on the ground in offices worldwide, there are ETL flows that shouldn't exist, but middle managers do not possess the political capital, incentives, or technical skill to remove. And while Power Query, M, DAX and Power Pivot are excellent, in, let's say, 5% of workflows, you need some business logic in some language that is more flexible. And this is the real problem with VBA; it papers over dirty workflows, even if the data structures you are provided are not good.
Using VBA was much worse. I could manage with the VBA language alone, but the number of security controls and macro-related warnings I had to click through, the poor quality of free online documentation, the lack of version control support and the hacks I had to use to get things into Git, and the lack of decent libraries made the experience an overall nightmare. Have you found solutions to these problems? Or do you work in an environment where you control the users' computers?
I like and approve of LibreOffice but it doesn't seamlessly transfer complex styles or tracked changes to and from Word. When an organization is working with people who bill in the hundreds of dollars per hour and a grant in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, cost of MS Office is a non-issue. I approve of and generally support OSS (I'm writing this in Firefox), but the level of integration into the MSO world is ill-understood.
I've also written novels and the whole publishing industry and infrastructure is based around Word.
As someone who started in Windows 97 and .NET at the 1.1 Framework release: VBA is a gateway drug to a career in MS languages.
As someone in the Linux/Debian/Ubuntu area of my organization, the main headache with licensing from what I can see as an 'outsider' is not so much the price as the auditing/compliance overhead.
We can spin up/down as many Deb/Ub/CentOS systems as we want and not care, which as much RAM and (v)CPU as needed.
Trying to do the same with Windows and/or VMware seems to be something else.
The parents point seems to still stand -- a significant proportion of companies use Office internally, and Excel is bundled as a part of O365.
That also never really worked when Apple was much bigger in pre-college education.
Edit: Chromebooks in education are like Enterprise software. The end user never chooses to use it. The vendor is not incentivized to make a product that end user will like, only the corporate buyer.
How many teachers and administrators who do have a choice are using Chromebooks willingly?
They like iPads up to around grade 2-3. After that, the keyboard makes the kids more productive.
Windows requires too much IT overhead and Mac is too difficult to do business with and expensive.
The real magic of Chrome is the management suite. It’s dirt cheap for .edu and works fantastic. Chrome devices on a cart are reconfigured by the time the cart is rolled into a different classroom.
It’s way too expensive for commercial customers though.
Teachers want Chromebook's for their students. When they have choice, they will use their own laptops for themselves.
Just like no one ever said they want to use Version One for their own personal projects. They would choose something like BaseCamp Personal or Trello.
I can make a g form, output to a g sheet, automatically email if an entry contains certain text, etc. All that takes ~20 minutes, 1 add on, and 0 lines of code. Excel simply cannot compete with that.
Edit - I still use excel all the time for heavy lifting though. They fill different use cases for me.
Can’t replace Excel in many finance roles without those.
Even if Excel is just marginally better than LibreOffice, if you use it day after day to do your job, the $150/year cost is basically nothing (especially when enterprise software that does a lot less can routinely charge $1000/user/year). Meanwhile, It Just Works™. Plus, it's a huge pain to learn something new or deal with the aggravation of compatibility issues. Any LibreOffice document will tend to open up nicely in Word or Excel because otherwise, it's worthless if you want to share it with others. But the opposite definitely isn't true.
> if you use it day after day to do your job, the $150/year cost is basically nothing [...] [Excel] Just Works™.
From the post:
> It’s not that I’m cheap either, I just want something that works according to my preferences, not Microsoft’s.
See the post for details about what's wrong with Microsoft's Office offering.
The author even goes on to say:
> I took the $319 I was about to spend on an Office license and I donated it to the LibreOffice project, and will just continue to do so every time I have to go through this process.
I really don't think they're as cheap as you make them out to be.
And I agree with the sentiment. I'd also be fine to pay for it, but I don't want to have to struggle with emulation layers to get Microsoft's crap to work on a non-Microsoft supported operating system (it's not as if I can compile it myself), when there is a perfectly fine alternative that does not rely on being a monopoly. If someone has a layout issue with my document, the solution is very simple. If someone has a layout issue with Microsoft-made documents, they expect the other party to pay over a hundred bucks just to open one document (it doesn't happen more than once a year to me, so they're asking me to pay that for one document). This scheme only works if there is a monopoly because those people wouldn't actually themselves pay for two or three licenses just to open other people's documents.
For me, LibreOffice also works better (ever tried opening a CSV in Excel? It comes out wrong 90% of the time and I don't know how, or if, you can change it; LibreOffice Calc just gives you a dialog with the csv settings and a preview of the result), in part because I'm used to it and no longer used to newer Office versions, it aligns with my ideology more, and on top of all that it's free.
"Even if [one] is just marginally better than [the other], if you use it day after day to do your job" then indeed it's a no-brainer to use LibreOffice instead of pay money for an inferior product.
The cost is a lot higher for Linux developers - you also need a Windows licence and to spend significant time managing a VM (I did that, no more).
I boot Linux for my dev machine (because Windows costs me more time).
I actually like Excel.
(Word and Outlook are toxic waste as far as I am concerned: they frustrate me more than they serve me).
This opinion is largely shared even in the non technical world.
Outlook is a lot better than Lotus but it suffers from the comparaison with Gmail. Powerful search was a game changer for me and I miss it dearly since my company decided to switch to Office 365.
Excel and Powerpoint really are the two gems of Microsoft Office.
3 years later, Work is now thinking about switching the mobile iron (google phone management) piece to microsoft, since we are finished our windows10 upgrades, and switching from wsus to sccm with microsoft security/patching on azure. Fixes our remote laptop patching issue this way, since sales folks dont vpn in.
Dont get me started on the ssl cert authentication installed on every laptop for gmail, with no password for gmail, just the oauth just the ssl cert password.
Microsoft costs do come in play.
I've seen (a little) of both sides. While I use mostly free tools now (like VS Code!) to program Node, etc., when I was programming .NET / MVC applications with C#, Visual Studio was essential and excellent. I still have a few odd projects geared up for those environments, and while can poke around clumsily with VS Code, for deep dives and local builds, I'll fire up Visual Studio.
Of course, all that being said, the Community version, which is free, is sufficient for me. But it doesn't take much to find scenarios where professionals have to pay for tools to gain specific efficiencies.
And I don't regret it at all.
I also did the MS 360 thing once about 3 years ago and will never do that again.
What happened or was the key issue?
To make matters worse MS office applications always default to saving files to cloud based storage despite my always picking a local drive to save files. There is noticeable lag while the file explorer tries to access cloud storage despite it never being intentionally used.
For personal use, I don’t care which tool I’m using - my use cases are simple enough it just doesn’t matter.
When I worked in almostMegaCorp, though, I had the freedom to push through whatever tools I wanted. With the exception of adding R and Python to my machine, the Office provided everything I needed and did so better than the competition. I don’t care, in that context, about pricing, competition, OS ideaology, etc. Setting up an in-house software division to throw bug fixes at OpenOffice to try and transition to a tool that is equal to or inferior for almost all of our actual uses?
PowerPoint rendered the images in the ODP poorly, like it jacked the contrast up to 100. Saving the document as a PPTX within LibreOffice and then playing it on PowerPoint fixed the issue. From my naive perspective MS Office seems to have issues with ODF just like LibreOffice has with docx/pptx/xlsx/etc.
But if you can't absolutely rely on it to be totally compatible, then it's a total non-starter. Not worth the risk.
Counterpoint: Google Docs. Its OOXML compatibility is for shit. Its adoption is HUGE.
Not one person mentions how amazingly shit its OOXML compatibility is, even for quite simple DOCX.
Almost nobody in an office uses the fancy bits of Excel. Spreadsheets are mostly used as flat-file data stores.
And Office is notoriously incompatible between different versions of itself.
In practice, I don't think the file compatibility objection to LibreOffice is real. It's just an excuse.
The actual competition is Google Docs, which is a shitty word processor and a shitty spreadsheet and a shitty presentation app, but absolutely brilliant at quick and convenient collaboration. That's why LibreOffice is working super-hard on the web-based online version.
This has never been my experience. Even if there's a more robust DB based system, someone will do everything in Excel.
Nowadays I usually tell whomever is asking for something in a "Word" format that I don't own a copy of Word, but I can send them a PDF, and they're OK with that, but when I was first getting started as an engineer I used to have to work with recruiters a lot, where they'd ask for my resume in a Word format so that they could insert their ugly logo on the top and break all the formatting. No one ever said anything about my files that were initially made with LibreOffice. In fact, for all the essays I've had to write for school (that I started again semi-recently), I've done them with either Pandoc+Markdown or LibreOffice (depending on how much formatting is required), and no one has said anything about the MS Word export, or me potentially breaking the teachers' templates that they made in word.
I'll definitely give it to you for Excel though. For simple stuff LibreOffice's compatibility is fine, but if you do any kind of elaborate Excel function, you're going to have a bad time, and things are going to break.
I think that's what they mean by external entity? I've also personally had problems with openpyxl in python
It was just politics 101. Their politicians when facing the choice "keep using Linux => bye bye huge Munich MS Offices", didn't think twice and axed the penguin.
Admittedly, it wouldn't have been an easy pick even for FOSS enthusiasts as many of us are, if we were in Munich politicians shoes: letting one of the biggest corporations out there build their huge headquarters in your city doesn't just mean bribes but jobs (almost 2000 in the HQ alone). As long as you're being identified as the one who let all this happen, you have just won a huge PR boost for creating jobs, plus all those people -and their families- votes, not to mention strong ties with MS high profile execs which would be of use one day. Honestly, Linux would have lost no matter its convenience.
If I had to, I'd bet all my horses that we'll see finally one day Munich and other cities adopting Linux, although it will be Microsoft branded and mostly FOSS.
Here's a recent interview with Christian Ude who was mayor when LiMux was introduced (german): https://www.golem.de/news/von-microsoft-zu-linux-und-zurueck...
This is a really interesting interview, unfortunately it is only available in German so I translated (with the help of deepl) the part about the situation right after the switch.
Linux-Magazin: How big was the pressure afterwards?
Christian Ude: The most intense thing I personally experienced was a visit from Steve Ballmer, after all Vice President of Microsoft. He interrupted his skiing holiday in Switzerland to visit me. With his well-known enthusiasm, with which he dynamically jumps around on stage at conferences, he jumped around in my office and first of all praised the beauty of Munich. But then he said that I was making a catastrophic decision that I could never justify to anyone, especially not to a taxpayer.
Funnily enough, he constantly made new financial offers during the conversation, he talked about what Microsoft would add for free, for the school department for example. On and on he reduced the price, one million and a another million and a another million and a dozen million cheaper than before. This is how important Munich - which is internationally perceived as an IT center - was to Microsoft as a symbol.
Would [Munich] walk a new path or repentantly return into Microsoft's lap? We have calculated that Ballmer has improved the financial offer by around 35 per cent. But since we wanted to make a strategic decision and not just make a price comparison, this was not important to us.
Linux-Magazin: Bill Gates also came to visit?
Christian Ude: He was in Munich because of a presentation of the "House of the Future", which inspired him insanely. With it, you could determine from your car how high the room temperature in each room is and whether the refrigerator should defrost a bit. On his way back to the airport I had the opportunity to talk to him. So I sat together with one of the richest men in the world in a camouflaged van, which was luxuriously equipped inside, but looked from the outside as if it belonged to a small craft business. Gates asked me stunned: "Why are you doing this? That's absurd! That's incomprehensible!
Now that I'm not the hard-boiled IT specialist who could stand up to a Bill Gates in every detail, I just said:
"Please note, we're all about independence. We don't want to be dependent."
Then he said, "That's nonsense, who do you depend on?"
"Now that you are here [I can tell you]: From you, of course!"
That really made him collapse, and he said: "It's incomprehensible to me, it's ideology".
It breaks down when you are using something like Excel with complex macros/calculations. This is why most companies continue to use Microsoft products.
As in compatibility with MS Office breaks or as in it can't be done in libreoffice?
Does MS Office "break" when you try to import "complex macros/calculations" done in python?
Out of interest, is there any non-MS office suite with better VBA compatibility than libreoffice? For instance in view to the whole Adobe Venezuela story.
Excel macros are code, and they are very often production-critical code. The people who wrote them don't see themselves as coders, sure, and management often doesn't give the code the respect it deserves (e.g. Excel is often exempt from basic things like version control and code reviews), but it's still code that the business still depends on.
When someone proposes replacing MS Office with LibreOffice, what they're really proposing is to replace the runtime that a significant amount of production code runs on with something that's only compatible with part of your codebase.
"If we switch, we are going to have to rewrite a decent chunk of our production-critical code" is a non-starter, especially when coupled with the fact that the developers have no experience with the new runtime and are going to have to learn it as they port the code. And because they don't see themselves as coders, they don't have the theoretical background that makes it easier for experienced software engineers to pick up new languages.
If they don't work in libre then that's an automatic no-go for most managers/whoever makes that decision.
It breaks down because you need some serious backup in your organization (for example from the owner) to switch to something like LibreOffice. People got enough on their plate and changing their tools for (from their perspective) no apparent reason will get a lot of push back. I think technically LibreOffice is perfectly up to the task. Sure if your a statistician then maybe Spreadsheet won't work as well for you as an Excel replacement. But other then that...
That said, while they do use some complex formulas, they don’t use any VBScript or other such madness.
Complaining that your custom MSFT/VBScript stuff doesn’t work, so you can’t migrate — it sounds to me a bit like “We’re stuck on Oracle and can’t move to PostgreSQL because we decided to use a lot of Oracle magic stuff that doesn’t work anywhere else”.
This is classic vendor lock-in, which I tend to view as a business risk best avoided. There really is no option except to recognize it as technical debt and find time to dig yourself out from it.
When your only option for “Business Function X” limits you to a single vendor, fix that first.
Good business is about managing and understanding risks, and not about eliminating them at all costs.
But when the only thing holding you back and locking you in is your own company's internal vendor-specific tooling/infrastructure, the argument doesn't hold as much weight.
fwiw, I have never received an Excel spreadsheet from a vendor/partner/customer that I could not open and work with in LibreOffice, re-export to Excel and send back to them.
And since Excel is the de facto standard, shouldn't Libre Office offer a 100% compatibility to whatever Excel has if it wants a piece of that market share? Also $150/year for something that does it all and just works it's really not much. The same reason why we don't ask how much Visual Studio Enterprise costs or IntelliJ products even if you have free alternatives.
Oracle and Microsoft Office are global standards. The world uses them. Our civilization relies on them. If alternatives such as PostgreSQL and LibreOffice are not 100% compatible with these standards, they are lacking in functionality.
Oracle's definitely a standard in companies of a certain size and pedigree, but it's not even remotely as ubiquitous as Office, which is both a business and consumer product.
Anyway, it’s a risk like any other, and it may often be worth it. The alternative of switching to libreoffice is not free, and can truly be more costly than some office licenses and the risk that Microsoft will drop or fuck up excel (which most consider low)...
Personally having earnestly tried to do some complex work in libreoffice calc and running into just bugs and poor polish (error handling anyone?), it is not an experience I elect to relive... I still feel locked in to Excel as my life is too short to waste on the inferior product.
IT people really need to stop declaring this about FOSS products when it is regarding workflows they have no experience in.
We had a client send us a questionnaire in an Excel document with macros to compute various things based on our answers. You underestimate just how many things are done in Excel across companies (ie: you can't even force both side to switch to Libreoffice) that you would, probably, write a quick webpage for.
It also becomes tricky when you need to interoperate or integrate with companies that have chosen to use either GSuite or LibreOffice rather than O365.
With that said, I'm glad these alternatives exist even though they're never going to work for me.
Example: create four rows of four cells each, like this:
1 2 3 4
2 4 6 8
3 6 9 12
4 8 12 16
In Excel, that pastes a copy of row 1 at row 5, and a copy of row 2 at row 6.
In Numbers, row 1 is copied to 5, and row 3 is copied to 7.
In LibreOffice, row 1 is copied to 5, and row 3 is not copied.
So we have three ways to handle copy/paste of a non-contiguous selection: make it contiguous on paste (Excel), past non-contiguously (Numbers), and just copy the topmost row (it's topmost, not first row selected--if you select row 3, then non-contiguously add row 1, it is row 1 that copy grabs) (LibreOffice).
I'm not sure which of these is actually the most right from a theoretical perspective, but I bet Excel is the one most likely to be based on data about which method best matches what users actually do with the spreadsheets.
Joel Spolsky has an article  where he talks about what they found when he was on the Excel team at Microsoft and they actually started visiting customers to see how they used Excel. A couple quotes:
> Over the next two weeks we visited dozens of Excel customers, and did not see anyone using Excel to actually perform what you would call “calculations.” Almost all of them were using Excel because it was a convenient way to create a table.
> What was I talking about? Oh yeah… most people just used Excel to make lists. Suddenly we understood why Lotus Improv, which was this fancy futuristic spreadsheet that was going to make Excel obsolete, had failed completely: because it was great at calculations, but terrible at creating tables, and everyone was using Excel for tables, not calculations.
Looking at my own spreadsheets...I find that most of them are indeed really just lists or tables with maybe a little calculation. The few that I would say are actually heavily calculation oriented would probably do just as well in LibreOffice or Numbers.
I selected the rows by clicking the row numbers (while holding Ctrl for the second one), and the version is 188.8.131.52.0, FWIW (I'm on Arch Linux so I suppose this is right up to date).
I was selecting by just selecting the four columns in row 1 by clicking and holding on 1 while dragging to 4 and releasing, then doing the same thing with row 3 while holding the command key down which is how you do non-contiguous selection on Mac, then clicking on column 1 of row 5, and doing paste.
I just tried it with clicking the row number, to do whole row selection. So click the number for row 1, then command-click the number for row 3. Then I clicked the first cell in row 5 and hit paste. Same result as I got before...just row 1 copies.
I also tried it where I clicked the row number for 5, to select the whole row, before pasting, and no difference.
Good to see that it is working better on Linux. That probably suggests this is just a bug in their Mac port rather than intentional behavior.
Tangentially, and perhaps weirdly, if the ranges I select don't span the same columns - eg. if I select A1:B1 and C3:D3, a dialog box pops up upon Copy which says "This function cannot be used with multiple selections". Even though the ranges are still the same size. That seems undesirable, to me.
No calls yet...
side note: as soon as I showed him he didn't have to go into the menu at all any more and could just use the plus and minus keys on his keyboard he was thrilled with the change.
Stuff we care about, like better load times and a cleaner interface, doesn't matter to him.
Both my mom and my sister use LibreOffice for "everyday" office tasks like resume building and simple budget tracking, and it's what I recommend to all of my tech-indifferent friends who need to do light office work but don't want to pay for MS Office.
That combined with lack of innovative/unique features and a UI that is essentially unchanged since Office 95, and it is hard to argue why someone should use LO/OO instead of MSO. For example, what is the USP? Free is one, but is that the only one?
How is that a drawback? That's a massive plus. The interface changes that we have seen in Office have been pointless time-consuming travesties with no real purpose but to make it look like the software is completely new. No productivity increases whatsoever. The LO interface hasn't changed since Office 95 because that's when it's peaked. The tasks are the same and the human that do them are the same, and so the interface (if it is already at its best version) should also stay the same. This a great advantage of the open source office suites, not a drawback.
This is a problem with MSFT products as well, but to a lesser extent.
In addition, decades-old bugs have not been fixed. It's a showstopper.
IMO, the concerted attack against the ODF format was also a large contributing factor towards OpenOffice/LibreOffice loss in the format wars
I posted about this in another thread and was down-voted for some reason, but I think it is important enough to not forget.
If not for corp legacy apps that mostly interface with outlook through old, partly deprecated and arcane APIs, a switch to anything could occur.
At home I use LO exclusively, even though I have the licences for MSO.
And the interface doesn't even hold anything against LibreOffice. The categories are completely random. Excel has some nice pivot visualization functions, but that is the only positive thing I can come up with when thinking of MS office.
I don't need office software to be that innovative, because the problem space hasn't evolved since 20 years. And if autosave is one of those innovative features...
Workflows evolve all the time. For example how many word processor competitors that target specific demographics are there (technical writing e.g. Markdown, authors e.g. Scrivener/Storyist, academics e.g. LaTeX, etc)? The problem space is evolving every day, LO/OO and even MSO haven't kept pace, but that doesn't mean things have remained static around them.
I’m in one or more Office 365 apps for most of my work-day. They work well and are stable, at least on macOS (which I assume gets less love than the Windows version).
In contrast, LO on macOS is a train wreck when it comes to stability and usability. It’s not competitive.
Office 97 was peak Office, UI-wise, for me and a whole lot of other users. If a UI works great, and newer UIs do not offer a clear, significant value add, why should it change? Why should not changing the UI count as a negative against the product?
Back when I read slashdot, I swear every thread about office had a top comment complaining about how office’s ribbon UI ruined their work flow. One of the biggest weaknesses in open source is that the people who contribute to these projects seem to love 90s style UI.
MSO has somewhat pivoted towards mobile (Office Online, mobile apps). It is unclear if LO or OO have an "answer" for mobile devices, or if that's even in the realm of things they'd want to tacke?
Even in enterprises, BYOD, VDI, and mobile devices are becoming a lot more popular. All it takes is one exec who says "this doesn't work on my preferred machine" and that whole product is axed from the entire company.
Getting OO/LO working online/mobile would be a big challenge for an open source team to undertake but I'd hate to see them fade away and lose an open source option.
I just took a second to look it up, and it doesn't seem to be competing with Google Docs or Office Online, since it's self-hosted and there are warnings all over that page to not use this software for production and it should only be used for development or personal use.
So it's good to know they're working on it. By their own admission it's not ready to be used, but it's good to know it's in-progress.
So it makes no sense to develop a software for people who will never use it anyway, instead make it nice make it perfect for the home users' use cases. All the advanced feature like DB integration, scripting, etc. probably have so many underreported bugs because nobody uses them.
I would love to use an office suite that is FOSS and does what I need perfectly. Yet, I don't need most of LibreOffice's functionality at home, and the functionality I do need it does poorly compared to MS Office at work.
I needed to do process some CSVs and it crashed several times on simple operations such as delete column, reorder, filter. Assuming that LibreOffice can compete with MS Office is just wishful thinking of someone who doesn't try to do anything remotely complex.
Also would be interested in more details on why you like Microsoft Office better than the other two.
* Office Apps -- install wherever you want, including on web, iOS, Android and Android-capable Chromebooks to get native apps on Chromebook. You can install on as many devices as you want, around 5 per-person can be in use at the same time
* 1TB OneDrive storage (clients on Mac/Win/Web only sadly, no Linux client yet)
* 50GB Outlook ad-free email storage
* Bring your own custom domain to get @my-family.tld email for your family
* Priority phone support
All in all, for families it's a good offering that competes really well with Google One (one.google.com) -- quite irritating that Google One still doesn't offer that custom domain thing. The 50GB ad-free email per family member is a great offer for instance. All of this for about $100/yr, less with the revamped Home Use Program.
From my perspective its a huge cognitive burden for an organization to change Office apps that they use everyday. For a technical group like easydns its probably easier and most of the staff might even support it. In my organization we have some manufacturing folks that don't like computers and don't want to learn anything about them. Its hard to make this kind of change, there is a cost to retraining and effects on productivity and happiness.
Last time I bought the on prem off pack (few years ago) it auto installed spyware (one drive) - I did enjoy the multiple layers of phone support though, within an hour it was determined I needed to uninstall and return for refund, no way to run it without the spydrive addition.
open office and libre office have been installed on all systems since.
I understand some orgs can't new software, I think most just need to very basic formatting tools to be highlighted, open and save - which it does great now.
I have to search 3-4 times a year on how to do something with calc.. I see many devs search 4 or more times a day on how to do basic stuff with their daily tools.
Sounds like a couple UX templates would benefit the average company workers out there - one that is super basic, very few icons, and one that mimics word.
I was going to take classes on excel but can't run it.
That makes it easily the best deal in cloud storage for personal use, if you have multiple members in your family and want to use Office.
And you can still buy a one time license if that suites your needs better.
$99 / year seems like a good deal, until you realize that it might as well be $0 / year if you don't use Office 365 and you're not missing much.
Office 365 sucks for collaborative editing, where Google Docs shines, or for note taking. It also sucks if you want to write highly technical documentation, for which I prefer Markdown, Org or Latex — I know it's not for everybody, but nothing beats pushing text files in Git.
Microsoft Excel is king for big spreadsheets filled with fancy formulas, but for my own purposes Google Sheets has been much more user friendly and I'm the kind of guy that creates sheets for monthly expenses, tracking my weight, etc. And I've seen this going on in our team too, where Google Sheets is much more convenient.
So you're paying $99 / year which is only useful when other people share MS Office formats with you. And I know this depends on the field you're in, but I can literally count the number of times that happened this year on the fingers of one hand.
And sure they give you OneDrive storage too. But you only use OneDrive when you don't care about your data, because their client is a piece of shit. I tried to use it repeatedly and I witnessed serious data conflicts and sync issues within hours of installing their client and this happened several times. Dropbox is more expensive, but Dropbox actually works for the intended purpose.
I did pay for Office 365 for about 2 years, until I realized that I'm not actually using it, wasted money.
I agree, for collaborative editing, I also use Google docs.
Anyway, we have several good choices.
Most folks I know that run linux on the desktop run a Windows VM to use Office.
In order of importance (to me) :
● Document format
● Keyboard shortcuts
● The ribbon
● Screen layout
● Power Point. Just... all of it.
Libre Office feels like Notepad.exe with a VB6 UI.
Never liked LibreOffice/OpenOffice/StarOffice. I respect the work behind it, but as a product I don't like it.
And using MS Office just contributes to the de-facto monopoly problem. Corel used to have a nice Office suite for Linux but after MS bought them Linux support was dropped.
Some huuuge surprises:
1. libreoffice unfortunately is really slow on macos with retina display.
2. The web version of excel does not hold a candle to Google sheets.
3. Excel for windows is not interoperable with macos. Eg: have data in one sheet in excel, create a separate sheet with pivotable from first sheet. Open the file on macos's excel and it will complain that this usage of data sources is not availabale on macos. I thought it was a funky excel file but no. Easily repeatable with very simple cases.
Also, styles management in libreoffice writer is many times easier and understandable than in microsoft word.
I used to blame LibreOffice for how mangled Word docs looked, but then I used Office365 and realized that there's no such things as the "right" way to display a word doc, since all of the machines I opened it on using Word365 showed it differently...
Unlike another commentator, Calc was way better than Excel for a long time, and much better about not trashing your work. Before like 2010 Excel would make it very easy to accidentally lose your work forever.
Probably due to missing fonts being replaced by whatever's available on the machine. Different fonts can have wildly different sizes / metrics.
I have migrated the vast majority of my computational work to use R with RStudio. In a Rmarkdown document I can embed R and Pyhon code and generate plots. These documents play well with version control.
For me it was also the transition from paid version to subscription that made me switch full time to LO. It seemed like a negative value proposition to me. Plus Open Source advocates need to practice what we preach. If you want others to use it, you better damn well be using it too, and be ready to recommend it from experience and not ideology. Because we are biased with our ideology toward open source, while users just want convenience and features. Completely different requirements.
Update: Office Mac Standard is more, though it's not entirely clear to me why you'd be buying it - does it contain features not in H&B? H&B is licensed for business use.
The other thing that you're paying for with a lot of the Office 365 subscription plans is online storage and added services. On the Windows side for personal use Office 365 gets you a terabyte (or up to five terabytes) for about the same cost as Dropbox and you got a free office suite with it.
This is because I interacted a lot with open source projects and I really think that they should quit the concept: "Use us because we are open source" when addressing general public.
Seems to me that in open source there is an aversion against product marketing, but if we want more people to use open source then we should try to convince them to use it because of the value they offer and not because of the group who is building the tools. It is a good starting point to ask people to use one's software because of your group value. But then, when wanting to get after a wider market adoption, one should try to talk about the value it brings to users lives.
So here are some points:
- There are no screenshots of how the apps look like when opening the website. After a couple of tries, I finally saw Screenshots in the Discovery menu. But really coming from Office and Apple's iWork I was really trying to see how LibreOffice looks like.
- There are no texts trying to explain to me, the user, why I should use LibreOffice in my own life, to solve my own problems. There is a small paragraph saying "Do more - easier, quicker, smarter" but that is hardly believable as almost every product wants me to do more, easier, quicker and smarter. Also it is not clear _how_ LibreOffice is doing that.
- The only point in the whole homepage which could bring value to an end user is about "Free" but for the wide market "free" is not enough. It is just the starting point.
- The look and feel of the website suggests old tools. This is not a bad or good thing per se. But I think to attract new users the website should be redesigned so that the product transmit the idea of polished or ready to be used.
Please do not take this a a critique. It is because I care that I feel to say what I think and hope that someone will pick it up.
Generally, I get much more value from OSS than commercial. I donate - not mostly because it's the "right thing", but because I want it to continue.
If you write OSS, and would like something in return, consider this:
They work on my Mac, Windows PC, iPad, and phone.
Sure, my mom will have a great time writing recipes on it and will save $10/mo., but can anyone do any real work that you'd do in Excel? Let's be realistic.
Also, does no one care about design? LibreOffice's interface looks awful on all platforms, and stuck in the 90s. Same with GIMP.
At my company, they do. They're not particularly tech-savvy users either.
> does no one care about design? LibreOffice's interface looks awful
Design isn't about looking pretty; it's about being usable. What's wrong with LibreOffice's and Gimp's design?
GIMP's UI is spread across a huge pile of small windows with overlapping jurisdiction such that you're never sure where anything needs to go.
I've copied an image and would like to work on it. Let's go create a new image. Oh, it hasn't changed the size to match the clipboard - that's fine, let's pick something small and let it expand.
Oh, when I paste, it doesn't offer to expand the canvas. That's unfortunate. Let's expand it manually and paste......but it still tries to paste into the tiny rectangle I originally had rather than the whole larger viewport. I give up, I'll manually guess a few sizes until I get close.
OK, let's edit my picture. I click on the paintbrush tool in one window......then select a brush in the "Layers - Brushes" window, but it's too big. How do I fix that? I look for the "Brush Editor" window (different from "Layers - Brushes") and see a "Radius" selector. But it's read-only and I have no idea why. I have to go back to "Layers - Brushes" and find a tiny "Edit this Brush" button.....then go back to the "Brush Editor" window to make changes.
Let's add some text to my window....oh, the text properties window appears over my image, translucent (even less contrast!) and the font select window is.......a free-form text box? No dropdown to see the names of my fonts, much less a preview of them? I'm done. Time to go to Paint.NET or Photoshop or literally any other image editor.
I agree that's bad. It used to have colored icons. You can change the themes in preferences so it uses colored icons, again. The background color is also changeable. So, yeah, default theme got bad, but it can be fixed in less than a minute.
> GIMP's UI is spread across a huge pile of small windows with overlapping jurisdiction such that you're never sure where anything needs to go.
Configuration over convention, I guess. It does remember where you put said windows for the next time you launch it, so just put them whereever is best for you.
> Oh, when I paste, it doesn't offer to expand the canvas. That's unfortunate. Let's expand it manually and paste......but it still tries to paste into the tiny rectangle I originally had rather than the whole larger viewport. I give up, I'll manually guess a few sizes until I get close.
I think your expected behaviour is too ambiguous. Where should it expand to, the right, the left, up, down, all sides equally? You can "Paste as > New Image" (Ctrl+Shift+v) and you'll get an image the exact size of the image you're pasting. Does that help?
> OK, let's edit my picture. I click on the paintbrush tool in one window......then select a brush in the "Layers - Brushes" window, but it's too big. How do I fix that? I look for the "Brush Editor" window (different from "Layers - Brushes") and see a "Radius" selector. But it's read-only and I have no idea why. I have to go back to "Layers - Brushes" and find a tiny "Edit this Brush" button.....then go back to the "Brush Editor" window to make changes.
Where are you seeing "Radius"? I see "Size" and I can't get it to be read-only.
> Let's add some text to my window....oh, the text properties window appears over my image, translucent (even less contrast!) and the font select window is.......a free-form text box? No dropdown to see the names of my fonts, much less a preview of them?
If you start typing the name of fonts, you do get a dropdown with names and previews. I do agree it would be better to be able to make it drop down without requiring any text input, though.
Fonts are so broken on Linux—which is the platform that would need this the most—that you can barely select dropdown options if you're on a hidpi monitor.