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Calc provides all the capabilities and features that you would expect from a spreadsheet program. It provides you with the ability to create both simple and complex spreadsheets. And because it shares a common interface with the other OpenOffice.org applications, such as Writer, the working environment where you create your spreadsheets will be immediately familiar no matter which of the other OpenOffice.org applications you use most often.
The Calc application window provides the same toolbars as the other OpenOffice.org applications. There is the Function bar, Object bar, and Main toolbar. These toolbars provide many of the same button and functions as you will find in the other applications. However, the Calc Object bar and Main toolbar provide access to tools that are specific to working in a spreadsheet, such as tools for sorting data and formatting tools that make it easy to format numerical data as currency or percentages.
The Calc application window is also different from the other OpenOffice.org applications in that it is designed to create spreadsheets. The Calc window contains an additional toolbar called the Formula bar, which provides access to Calc built-in formulas (called functions) and provides a box that shows you the contents of the currently selected cell.
So, if Calc is designed to create a spreadsheet, what do spreadsheets look like? Spreadsheet is really a generic term that refers to the file type that is created. When you work in Calc you are actually working on a particular sheet. Each sheet consists of columns and rows. The intersection of a column and a row is referred to as a cell. You can place data in each cell. Each spreadsheet file, which is the file that you save when you save your work in Calc, can consist of multiple sheets.
Each sheet contains 256 columns, and each column is designated by a letter such as A, B, C, and so on. After Z the letters repeat AA, AB, and so on until you get to IV the last column in the sheet.
Each sheet has 32,000 rows available. Each row is designated by a number (1, 2, 3, to 32000).
So, with 256 columns and 32,000 rows, you have 8,192,000 cells in a sheet. Each cell has an address based on the column and row that intersect to create the cell; for example, a cell in column A and row 1 would be Cell A1.
Don't be intimidated by the fact that there are so many columns, rows, and cells in each sheet. Even large spreadsheets use only a fraction of the cells provided. The fact that each spreadsheet can contain multiple sheets means that you can break your spreadsheets down into smaller endeavors by using multiple sheets. For example, each quarter of the year could be placed on a separate sheet instead of placing the entire year on one sheet. Sure, there is certainly room for a lot of data on one sheet, but in terms of viewing and printing data, using multiple sheets is easier on the eyes and makes it easier to print your work.
When you build a spreadsheet (meaning a sheet, really), you enter text and numbers into the various cells. The true power of Calc is its capability to perform a wide variety of mathematical calculations on the numerical data that you enter on the sheets. It also provides you with the ability to create a chart based on the data, which provides a pictorial view of the data and the results of formulas in the sheet.
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