Paste Special I

In a series of short tips, we introduce the Paste Special feature.

A quick and easy way to multiply an array of numbers by a constant without using a formula…

In the example below, we wish to multiply B5:B20 by 10. Temporarily enter 10 into an empty cell. Select it and then Cut or Copy

Select the target range, then click on Edit – Paste Special . In the Paste Special dialog, unselect Paste All and Formats. Also select Multiply. Now click OK …

We are done! The modified cell range.

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Creating A Series Of Workdays4

To create a series of dates in a range, with just weekdays (Monday through Fridays), you first enter your starting date in a cell (B2, in the example below), and then enter the following formula in the cell below that cell.


Then use the Fill Down utility to fill out your entire series of dates.

The formula to display the day of the week we have already met…


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Text Formulas: Extracting First & Last Names

By combining the different text functions available in OOo Calc, some common name transformations can be performed.

Here are a few examples…

Using “Harry Potter in F1…

=LEFT(F1;FIND(” “;F1)-1) returns “Harry”

Note that without the -1 in the above formula, we would get a trailing space – making life difficult for us later on.

=RIGHT(F1;LEN(F1)-FIND(“*”;SUBSTITUTE(F1;” “;”*”; LEN(F1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(F1;” “;””))))) returns “Potter”

I think we need to explain the above formula a little bit. First off, when trying to develop formulas of this complexity – do not attempt to write it all at once.

This is what is known as a megaformula – a miniature program – squeezed into a single formula.

When extracting the last name like this – we use the RIGHT function – but it is not much use unless we know where the last name starts. It starts immediately after the last space character. We can find that with the FIND function. Howver FIND works from the left. If we could figure out how many space characters there are – we would be set. We do that by removing the space characters and seeing how much shorter the name is.

The whole procedure is illustrated below..

As an alternative to developing these megaformulas, you could also code this in Open Basic – but for that, we will wait another day.

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Paste Special II – Removing formulae

The paste special feature is useful for preserving the values in a spreadsheet – but removing the formulae that generated those values. This may be required to preserve proprietary equations.

To remove the formulae for a range of cells, select and copy the desired range. Do not unselect the range. Now click on Edit – Paste Special – see below.

Make sure the Formulas box is unchecked. After you click OK, the formula is removed but the value is preserved.

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