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    Re: Using Calc.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2009 Jan 18, 19:58 -0000

    I'm aware that this is a list devoted to navigation rather than programming,
    and I hope not too many members will object, if I continue the discussion of
    relative merits of different spreadsheet software, namely Excel and Calc. I
    am finding it interesting, and it may be instructive to others.
    
    Both Frank Reed and d walden emphasise the closeness between these two
    versions, how Calc emulates Excel, and how a manual, intended for one, can
    suffice for the other. All of which is true, but only to a limited extent,
    and the user can find himself in a situation, in a less-common application,
    where they diverge, and where neither printed manual nor any "help" software
    offers a way out of the jam. It can result in hours of wasted time, as I
    have found.
    
    Let me give a simple example. It relates to a problem that faced me a year
    or so back. I won't go into the details of that problem, but instead will
    boil it down to a simple test, of what Excel can do and which I can't get
    Calc to copy.
    
    Start with an Excel empty spreadsheet, straight "out of the box". My version
    is Excel 2000, but my guess is that later versions will behave the same,
    compatibly. In the "tools" meno, take this path-
    tools>options>calculation , and then tick the "iterations" box and change
    "maximum iterations" to 1. Click "OK". Make no other changes.
    
    In cell A1, put a zero. In cell B1, put =IF(A1<0.5,0,B1+1) That's it.
    
    Because of the choices made about iterations, the program will now
    recalculate only once, when F9 is pressed. When you do so, B1 becomes zero,
    just as you would expect from that IF statement, A1 being less than 0.5. You
    can press F9 as often you wish, and nothing changes.
    
    But now, change A1 to contain 1 (and press enter). Now, you're asking the IF
    statement to take the other path, and set B1 to equal B1+1 (a "circular
    reference", if ever I saw one). If you hadn't limited the iterations, Excel
    would object to the circular reference. But instead, it does nothing until
    you press F9, when B1 becomes 1. And each time you press F9, B1 increments
    by 1. That's exactly what was wanted.
    
    However, anyone who can get Calc to do the same thing is a better man than I
    am. If you manage it, do tell me how.
    
    George.
    
    contact George Huxtable, at  george{at}hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    
    
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