Free Stupid Spreadsheet?
March 24, 2008 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a free and very stupid spreadsheet for Mac.

Microsoft Office? Not free.
google Docs? can't handle this large a spreadsheet without long delays.
OpenOffice? Works poorly on the Mac, no native port.
NeoOffice? You can't turn off autocorrect. Says you can, doesn't work.

I'm looking for a free spreadsheet program that can handle no less than (and likely many more than) 100,000 cells and won't change what I type. When I type in 6-7 (as in, the information in question can be found on pages 6-7) I do not want it to change it to the date 6/7/08.

There must be a free rock-stupid spreadsheet program for Mac out there that I can type data into. A spreadsheet stupider than me. And that's stupid!
posted by eccnineten to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with NeoOffice. But something you might want to try, based on my Excel experience, would be to format the entire column you are typing things like "6-7" into as text, before you enter values.

In Excel, doing this prevents it from converting 6-7 to a date.
posted by Perplexity at 8:14 AM on March 24, 2008

With that amount of data, it sounds like you probably want something along the lines of a database rather than a spreadsheet, especially since you're not doing anything "intelligent" with it.

It might be worth it to spend 5 minutes playing with NeoOffice's Base program (assuming they include that in their port).
posted by spiderskull at 9:02 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by blue_beetle at 10:18 AM on March 24, 2008

What about Google's speadsheet app?
posted by conrad53 at 11:44 AM on March 24, 2008

The spreadsheet is not doing autocorrection, but instead auto-formatting. This can be fixed by changing the format of the entire sheet to "Text". Generally this is accomplished by clicking on the upper-left hand box that selects the entire sheet, then changing the format to "Text".
posted by Xoder at 1:46 PM on March 24, 2008

Response by poster: All: thanks for suggestions! The cost of free software is sometimes a problem like this.

Perplexity: The ugly solution of changing human behavior to match software failure is sometimes the only option, it's true. But even that isn't working in this case. Typing a single-quote will preserve the numbers but add a single-quote each time I open the spreadsheet (as in '''''''6-7). Typing a double-quote doesn't work because the quotes disappear when I re-open the spreadsheet.

Conrad53: "google Docs? can't handle this large a spreadsheet without long delays."

Spiderskull: I was building a NeoOffice Base database to dump the spreadsheet into. Spent far more than 5 minutes working on it. Then I saw that the spreadsheet was changing my data each time I opened the file and decided to get it out of NeoOffice before I proceeded.

Xoder: The documentation says to do what you suggest, or turn off the autocorrect / autoformating by clicking here, here and here. But you can do those things all day long and the unwanted automatic changes still occur. This is a software problem, not a 'didn't click here, here and here' problem. The little boxes to click to turn off autocorrect / autoformat are there, they just don't do what they're supposed to yet.
posted by eccnineten at 10:40 PM on March 24, 2008

Best answer: Eccnineten, Xoder is fundamentally right -- NeoOffice is not autocorrecting, it's applying a format. Here is a discussion elsewhere among Mac users having exactly your problem and figuring it out -- I feel certain it contains your answer.
posted by gum at 3:32 PM on March 25, 2008

Response by poster: gum found the answer I hadn't found yet...

"Select the sheet by pressing Command-A, then go to Format > Cells >Numbers and select Text in the Category list. Click OK."

the link gum found lists the answers I'd found and tried and that had failed (ie type a apostrophy before the numbers, change human behavior to accomodate funky software), but the above did the trick in the Bucky Fuller way (don't change people, change the environment: don't change human behavior to accomodate the machine, change / use the machine to meet human needs).

ALL HAIL GUM! Best answer award!
posted by eccnineten at 6:59 PM on March 25, 2008

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