Using Data Sources with Calc

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Apr 15, 2009 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Say you use a simple OpenOffice.org Base database to keep track of your invoices and you want to analyze the invoicing data. One way to do this is to create reports and SQL queries, but this requires skill and a lot of time. Another approach is to pull database records into a Calc spreadsheet and then use Calc's tools to analyze the data. To do this, you have to register the invoice database as a data source in OpenOffice.org. Choose Tools -> Options, select OpenOffice.org Base -> Databases and press the New button. Select then the database and give the new connection a name. Press OK -> OK to save the settings and close the window.

Create a new Calc spreadsheet and press F4 to show the Data Sources pane. Select the table or query you want from the registered data source, and drag it onto the spreadsheet. This imports records from the table or query as rows into the spreadsheet, and you can then use Calc's tools to analyze and manipulate the imported data range. When using this technique, OpenOffice.org creates a live link between the database table or query and the data in the spreadsheet. This means that if you make changes in the database (i.e., add a new record or modify an existing one), you can update data in the spreadsheet by refreshing it. To do this, click on any cell in the imported data range and choose -> Data Refresh Range. Keep in mind, though, that the created link works only one way -- from database to spreadsheet -- so any changes you made to the data in the spreadsheet will not be saved back in the database.

Instead of linking to a table or query, you might want to import data into the spreadsheet. To do this, click on the table or query you want in the Data Sources pane, select then all records by clicking on the top-left empty gray box in the Record Browser pane. Drag then the selected records set onto the spreadsheet.

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