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OpenOffice Calc 3.x Guide
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Introduction

A Calc document is a very capable database, providing sufficient functionality to satisfy the needs of many users. This chapter presents the capabilities of a Calc document that make it suitable as a database tool. Where applicable, the functionality is explained using both the GUI (Graphical User Interface) and macros.

Image:documentation_note.png Although this chapter was initially created for macro programmers, the content should be accessible to all users. If you do not use macros, then skip those portions that deal with macros. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about macros, be certain to check out my book OpenOffice.org Macros Explained.

In a database, a record is a group of related data items treated as a single unit of information. Each item in the record is called a field. A table consists of records. Each record in a table has the same structure. A table can be visualized as a series of rows and columns. Each row in the table corresponds to a single record and each column corresponds to the fields. A spreadsheet in a Calc document is similar in structure to a database table. Each cell corresponds to a single field in a database record. For many people, Calc implements sufficient database functionality that no other database program or functionality is required.

While teaching, I used a spreadsheet as a grading program. Each row represented a single student. The columns represented the grades received on homework, labs, and tests (see Table 1). The strong calculation capability provided in a spreadsheet makes this an excellent choice.

Table 1. Simple grading spreadsheet

A B C D E F G
1 Name Test 1 Test 2 Quiz 1 Quiz 2 Average Grade
2 Andy 95 93 93 92 93.25
3 Betty 87 92 65 73 79.25
4 Bob 95 93 93 92 93.25
5 Brandy 45 65 92 85 71.75
6 Frank 95 93 85 92 91.25
7 Fred 87 92 65 73 79.25
8 Ilsub 70 85 97 79 82.75
9 James 45 65 97 85 73
10 Lisa 100 97 100 93 97.5
11 Michelle 100 97 100 65 90.5
12 Ravi 87 92 86 93 89.5
13 Sal 45 65 100 92 75.5
14 Ted 100 97 100 85 95.5
15 Tom 70 85 93 65 78.25
16 Whil 70 85 93 97 86.25
Image:Tip.png Although the choice to associate a row to a record rather than a column is arbitrary, it is almost universal. In other words, you are not likely to hear someone refer to a column of data as a single database record.



OpenOffice Calc 3.x Guide
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