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Gnumeric 1.9.0 aka "TBD" is now available.

The Gnumeric spreadsheet is part of the GNOME desktop environment: a project to create a free, user friendly desktop environment.

The goal of Gnumeric is to be the best possible spreadsheet. We are not attempting to clone existing applications.

However, Gnumeric can read files saved with other spreadsheets and we offer a customizable feel that attempts to minimize the costs of transition.

Using a spreadsheet generally involves several steps. First the application is started to obtain an empty workbook, which generally has several empty worksheets.

Next, data and formulas are entered into one or several sheets.Gnumeric       Example

The data may be entered by hand or imported from external files. The formulas are generally entered by hand, possibly with the help of various tools.

The data may be formatted to appear in particular ways and to clarify the structure of the data in the worksheet. A user may also create several graphical plots.

If you run a UNIX-like operating system (called *NIX in this manual) such as GNU/Linux, GNU on some other kernel, or a commercial UNIX (TM) system, or if you use a commercially distributed version of GNOME, of the KDE (K Desktop Environment), or of a similar desktop system, you will have to find a way to launch Gnumeric yourself. Hunt around the menus until you find something named "Gnumeric", possibly with the icon and then click on that menu entry.

Certain parts of the spreadsheets may be printed out as tables. The work is then usually saved into a file which can be re-opened later to add or modify the contents of the workbook.

The goal of Gnumeric is to be the best possible spreadsheet. We are not attempting to clone existing applications. However, Gnumeric can read files saved with other spreadsheets and we offer a customizable feel that attempts to minimize the costs of transition.

Gnumeric is a free spreadsheet program that is part of the GNOME desktop and has Windows installers available. It is intended to be a free replacement for proprietary spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, which it broadly and openly emulates. Gnumeric was created and developed by Miguel de Icaza, but he has since moved on to other projects. The current maintainer is Jody Goldberg.

If you are a GNOME user, you should have a `panel' somewhere on your desktop. This panel contains icons, and at least two menus. One of these menus is called Applications and has an icon which looks like the outline of a foot. If you click on this menu name, a menu will appear. Drag the cursor down to the Office sub-menu name, and a sub-menu will appear. Drag the cursor into the sub-menu and then release the mouse button when the cursor is on the entry which reads "Gnumeric Spreadsheet."

Image:Gnumeric icon.png

Gnumeric has the ability to import and export data in several file formats, including CSV, Microsoft Excel, HTML, LaTeX, Lotus 1-2-3, OpenDocumentQuattro Pro; its native format is the Gnumeric file format (.gnm or .gnumeric), an XML file compressed with gzip.It includes all of the spreadsheet functions of the North American edition of Microsoft Excel and many functions unique to Gnumeric. Pivot tables and conditional formating are not yet supported but are planned for future versions.

The parts of Gnumeric

The part names are listed below along with a reference to the section that discusses that element. If you are reading this document on a computers, you may be able to click on the references to jump to that section of the manual.



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1 The menubar

The menubar provides access to the core functions of GNOME. Almost everything that you can do in Gnumeric you can do through the menus. We discuss the menus and menubar in Section 4.2 ― Menus.

2 The standard toolbar

The standard toolbar provides shortcuts for the most used items in the menus. We discuss the toolbars in Section 4.4 ― Toolbars and this toolbar in particular in Section 4.4.2 ― The Standard Toolbar.

3 The format toolbar

The format toolbar changes the display properties of data in the workbook. We present it in Section 4.4.3 ― The Format Toolbar, part of the general discussion of toolbars of Section 4.4 ― Toolbars.

4 The object toolbar

This toolbar enables you to draw graphic elements on the sheet, such as text labels, big red circles or thin green arrows. You can use these to bring attention to a particular part of a worksheet. We explain the object toolbar in Section 4.4.4 ― The Object Toolbar in the Section 4.4 ― Toolbars portion of this manual.

5 The data entry area

The data entry area is useful for the modification of complex formulas. We discuss it in Section 4.5 ― Data Entry Area.

6 The cell grid area

The cell area lies in the middle of all the rest. The cell area includes the row and column labels, the scrollbars and the tabs below. We explain the use of these elements in Section 4.6 ― The Cell Grid.

7 The information area

This area is used by Gnumeric to give you feedback on the status of certain operations. We explain this information in Section 4.7 ― The Information Area.

For a detailed explanation of each of these elements, see Section 4.1 ― Overview.

By default, Gnumeric opens a workbook with three worksheets and a file name of Book1.gnumeric.



Sheets

The worksheets in a workbook can be altered in several ways. The name of a particular worksheet can be altered. New sheets can be added. A current sheet can be duplicated or removed. The sheets can be reordered. Other sheets operations can alter the colour of the tabs or change the "protection" status of a worksheet to allow cells to be locked or hidden.

The names of sheets can be changed. You can do this by editing the tab directly. Clicking twice on a tab will highlight the text and then standard editing operations will alter the text contents.

You can insert a new empty sheet after the current sheet through the Sheet menu entry in the Insert menu or through the context menu which appears when you click the right mouse button on a tab.

Instead of an empty sheet, you can add a copy of the current worksheet to the workbook after the current sheet by selecting the Duplicate this Sheet menu entry from the context menu.

You can remove the current sheet using the Remove this Sheet menu entry from the context menu.

Deleted sheets cannot be retrieved through the "Undo" mechanism and sheet deletion is therefore an irreversible operation. Be careful!

You can re-order worksheets by clicking and holding the left mouse button on a tab, then dragging that tab to the left or to the right. Little arrows will appear showing the location where the sheet will be placed. Releasing the mouse button will then move the sheet to this new position.

Many of these operations can be performed at once from the Manage Sheets dialog which can be opened through the Manage Sheets... menu entry in either the Sheet submenu in the Edit menu or in the sheet tab's context menu.

Gnumeric's accuracy has helped it to establish a niche among people using it for statistical analysis and other scientific tasks. For improving the accuracy of Gnumeric, the developers are cooperating with the R Project.

Graphing

A major function of moderns spreadsheets is to provide a quick and easy way to plot numerical data in graphical charts of various kinds. The use of graphs provides users a way to explore data to discover relationships and trends in the data values. Graphs also provide an effective way to present data so as to demonstrate relationships in the data and summarize large amounts of data in an effective image. In Gnumeric, both of these can be done easily and efficiently.

Graphing is a work in progress

The approach to the creation of graphical displays of data was completely redesigned in Gnumeric version 1.2 and is still being improved. The ultimate goal is a system which will produce an elegant graph automatically but can be customized in detail according the user's preferences. This is a active area of programming development and therefore will be changing repeatedly in future versions.

Information on the creation of graphical displays of data is presented in greater detail in Chapter 7 ― Graphics: Plots, Images, Widgets, and Drawings. That chapter will be updated regularly during development to explain in detail how to produce and modify graphical displays of data.

When graphs are used to explore data, the aim is usually to produce a plot quickly with a minimum of effort. These plots are not designed to look polished but must present the required information as quickly as possible. To produce these graphs, users must learn a simple series of operations which will produce the desired plots. For speed, the most critical operation involves selecting the cells on the spreadsheet which will be used as data before starting the graphing process.

Graphs which are used to present data must be carefully crafted to communicate effectively. Clarity of communication is the critical factor and the plot may include a large amount of work to ensure that the visual result of the plot helps to communicate the desired result.

The use of a graph may not be the best way to communicate information. A verbal explanation or a simple table are often sufficient and, because they are more compact, may be more effective ways to communicate.

Gnumeric includes a large number of features which allow users to craft the look of a particular graph to maximize the effectiveness of the presentation. In Gnumeric, it is possible to change the fonts, modify the borders of each element, add patterns and images to backgrounds, add patterns to plot elements and configure the graph in multiple ways. These features will be explained in detail below.

Graphs which use a large number of the graphical features available in Gnumeric often appear cluttered. The visual richness of such images can often obscure the message contained in the presentation of the data. Spare, elegant and direct graphs will communicate results most effectively.

Images

Images can be added, as floating graphical elements, to Gnumeric worksheets. These images will be saved as part of the file and therefore can be sent to others embedded within the spreadsheet file.

Images in several file formats can be added, but the specific list depends on the particular installation of the underlying software library, gdk-pixbuf. By default, the ANI, BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PCX, PNG, PNM/PBM/PGM/PPM family, Sun raster (RAS), Targa (TGA), TIFF, WBMP, XBM, XPM image formats are supported, but extensions to the library can also support other formats such as the WMF Windows Metafile and SVG Scalable Vector Graphics formats.

A complete listing of the file formats supported by the local version of gdk-pixbuf can be generated with the

gdk-pixbuf-query-loaders
  
command-line application, if this is installed on the system.

Inserting an image is performed like inserting any other graphical element using the menu entry to start the process, then selecting the file, and finally using the mouse to place the image above the worksheet.

Procedure to insert an image into a worksheet.
  1. Select the "Image" menu item in the "Insert" menu

    Inserting an image starts by selecting, in the Insert menu, the Image menu item using the mouse cursor and the primary mouse button. This will open a dialog in which the user can select the file which contains the desired image.

  2. Select the file containing the image

    In the dialog which appears the user must select the file which contains the desired image. The dialog will be specific to the particular operating system platform but should provide a way to navigate the filesystem to pick the folder that contains the file and have a way to select the file or type its name. When these choices have been made, the dialog can be dismissed by double clicking on the file or by clicking on the Open button. This will dismiss the dialog and expose the worksheet, with the mouse pointer now converted to a thin cross-hair.

  3. Place the image on the worksheet with the mouse pointer

    The image, which will float like other graphical elements above the worksheet, must be placed on the worksheet. The image can be placed with its default size by moving the thin cross-hair pointer above the worksheet and clicking with the primary mouse button. Alternatively, the image can be placed and sized by selecting two of the resulting corners. This is done by moving the thin cross-hair pointer over the worksheet, determining one corner by clicking and holding the primary mouse button, dragging the pointer to the opposite corner, and releasing the mouse button. The image will then appear between the place where the primary mouse button was pressed and the place the button was released.

Images in a Gnumeric worksheet can be saved to a new, separate file. The image can be saved either in its original format or in PNG or JPEG formats. The ability to save images to a new file is especially useful when a spreadsheet file has been transferred to a computer that does not have a copy of the original image.

Images above a worksheet can be saved by accessing the context menu, selecting the many entry and navigating the file saving dialog which appears.

Procedure to save a worksheet image.
  1. Open the context menu

    The context menu is opened by placing the mouse cursor over the image and clicking one of the secondary mouse buttons.

  2. Select the "Save As" menu item

    Once the context menu appears, the mouse cursor can be moved over the menu. As the cursor passes over each menu item, that item will be highlighted. When the Save As menu item is highlighted, clicking with the primary mouse button will select that entry, causing the context menu to disappear and the Save As dialog to appear.

  3. Select the file name and location

    The Save As dialog which opens will depend on the platform that the user is using but should be standard for that platform. The dialog should allow a user to define a name for the file, to select the folder (directory) in which a file will be saved, and to select the format for the saved file. When all these selections have been made, the Save can be pressed which will dismiss the dialog and save the file.

Notes

Gnumeric version 1.0 was released December 31, 2001. The current unstable release is version 1.7.x, the first to have basic Microsoft Office Open XML support.

Gnumeric is...



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Free!
Gnumeric and its source code are available free of charge, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. This makes it easy to audit, and make custom extensions.
Fast!
Gnumeric handles large spreadsheets while remaining responsive.
Accurate!
A spreadsheet should calculate the right answer. Gnumeric's built-in functions and tools are accurate. A recent report praised Gnumeric as more accurate than leading proprietary spreadsheets.

For a comprehensive list of features, go here.

News

May 2008: Gnumeric 1.9.0 is out. This is a development release for those who want the bleeding edge. Get it from here! We also have a Win32 build that mostly corresponds to 1.9.0 which in turn is not too far removed from 1.8.2.

March 2008: Gnumeric 1.8.2 is out. This is a stable release meant for general usage. Get it from here!

January 2008: The Gnumeric Team is happy to announce our new 1.8 stable series. You can get Gnumeric 1.8.1 from here!

December 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.91 is out. This is the second release candidate leading up to 1.8. Get it from here!

November 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.90 is out. This is the first release candidate leading up to 1.8. Get it from here!

November 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.14 is out. Get it from here!

October 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.13 is out. Get it from here!

September 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.12 is out. Get it from here! We have a new Win32 build of that.

July 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.11 is out. Get it from here!

May 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.10 is out. Get it from here! We have a new Win32 build of that.

April 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.9 is out. Get it from here!

March 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.8 is out. Get it from here!

February 2007: Gnumeric 1.7.7 is out. Get it from here!

Older news...

Migration

Gnumeric will import your existing Microsoft Excel files. Import filters also exist for Lotus 1-2-3, Applix, Sylk, XBase, Open Office, Quattro Pro, Dif, Plan Perfect, and Oleo files, but these import filters are less complete. If you have knowledge of these file formats or have access to the underlying program, maybe you can help.


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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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