Who needs DATEDIF() ??

I recently came across a blog in Indonesian – which had useful pointers related to OpenOffice alternatives to the Excel DATEDIF() function. Here is the link: http://maseko.com/

The DATEDIF() function is a strange beast in Excel – so much so that it isn’t even implemented in OpenOffice Calc.

The syntax for DATEDIF is as follows:



Date1 is the first date, in standard Excel serial-date format.
Date2 is the second date, in standard Excel serial-date format.
Interval indicates the unit of time that =DATEDIF is to return is result.

There are sixdifferent interval codes in Excel DATEDIF() and we will cover them all with alternatives in OpenOffice Calc.

For example, to calculate someones age (in years) in Excel, you would use =DATEDIF(A1,NOW(),”Y”)

In OpenOffice CALC, we can use =YEARS(A1;NOW();0)

For calculating number of months in Excel, we use =DATEDIF( A1,NOW(),”M”)

In OpenOffice CALC, we use = MONTHS(A1;NOW();0)

For calculating number of days using DATEDIF, we use  =DATEDIF( A1,NOW(),”Y”)

In Openoffice CALC, we can use.. =INT(DAYS(now();A1))

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Create Links Between Cell Ranges (Quickly)

The Paste Special feature can be used to quickly link to range of cells from another sheet.

In the example below, we have a table on the sheet labelled First. We want to link to the bottom row from the sheet labelled Second

Select the desired range for linking b9:D9, then select Edit – Copy

Now go to the sheet from where we will be linking. Select the start cell of the new range (corresponding to B9 )

Now select Edit – Paste Special.

The Paste Special dialog is shown below. Select the Links option on bottom left.

The end result. The equations are for illustration. This may seem like overkill for a few cells – but can be very useful if yu have a very large range of cells that you need mapped to another spreadsheet.

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Auto Filling Cells

Use this procedure to automatically increment data as you fill down a column or across a row.

1.Select the cell range whose existing contents you want to extend to more cells. Then release the mouse button.

2.Move the mouse pointer on top of the automatic fill handle in the lower right of the selected cell. The mouse cursor turns into a target cross.
3.Click and hold down the left mouse button on the automatic fill handle, and drag in the desired direction of the fill, selecting all the cells you want to contain data.

Here are a few examples of how the automatic fill sequence works:
The sequence 1, 2 becomes 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on
The sequence 1, 3 becomes 1, 3, 5, 7, and so on
The cell content “Quarter 1” becomes Quarter 1, Quarter 2, Quarter 3, and so on
Automatic fill only increments data that OpenOffice.org Calc recognizes, such as numbers, dates and cell references. If Calc does not recognize data, automatic fill duplicates the data exactly. However, you can create sort lists that contain lists that Calc will recognize and automatically increment. To create a sort list, choose Tools – Options – Spreadsheet – Sort Lists

If you just want to copy the range without changing the values, hold down the Ctrl key while dragging.

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Character Codes

OOc calc uses the ANSI character set. By using the CHAR function, any member of the ANSI set can be generated. Conversely, the ANSI character code can be determined with the CODE function. The sheet below displays all the ANSI characters.

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