What is the difference between Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc?

Key differences between Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc:

Microsoft Office suite provides a spreadsheet tool named Excel whereas OpenOffice’s spreadsheet program is called Calc. OpenOffice suite is freely available without any cost. Microsoft Excel has to be purchased. Both Calc and Excel are strong competitors and they both have a similar interface with only minor differences. If you are wondering which one of these spreadsheet applications is better then go through this article to find out the differences between them.

Here are some key differences between Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc:

1- Drag and Drop Option

The open source spreadsheet application Calc has a better drag and drops feature than Excel. In order to move cells to either another column or to a new area of the spreadsheet, you need to click and then drag the cursor over the cells that you wish to move. After completing this step, Excel requires you to click on the border of the selected cells if you wish to move them. A click within the selected cells will deselect the entire group. In Calc, you are allowed to move the cursor within the selected cells without the fear of deselecting them. This feature of Calc is very time saving and convenient.

2- Parameters in a function are separated by semicolon in OpenOffice Calc

While keying formula in Calc, the parameters are separated by using semicolons. Excel allows the user to use both comma and semicolon to separate parameters in a function. Even though it is not a major issue, it may require a bit getting used to if you switch to Calc from Excel. A #NAME? the error will get generated on Calc if the user uses a comma to separate a function in place of a semicolon. The parameters in a function are called arguments in MS Excel. They refer to the values supplied to a function.

3- Macro Programming Languages Used

The language used by Excel is Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications or VBA programming language. Calc has its own macro OpenOffice BASIC language. Both of these languages constitute the BASIC family so there is not much difference in them. Calc supports four varied macro languages. These languages are OpenOffice, org BASIC, BeanShell, Python, and JavaScript. Although the most common language is Visual Basics for Applications and most of the spreadsheet programmers are familiar with VBA.

4- Charting Options in Calc versus Excel

Microsoft Excel offers more charting options to display your data than Calc. If you wish to wow your boss displaying the data in a beautiful manner, you should consider using Excel. Excel offers more options and ways to represent data. Charting in Calc is more restricted than in Excel. Moreover, the charts update slowly in Calc. There are also lesser axis options and the option for inverted y-axis is completely absent in Calc. You can also fill gradients in Excel charts.

5- Calc has a handier dialog box

Users of Excel must be aware that hitting the Delete key directly deletes the cell contents. However, which using Calc if you press the Delete key, a dialog box pops up where you can choose what you wish to delete:

  • Numbers
  • Formulas
  • Notes
  • Objects
  • Formats
  • Strings
  • Date
  • Time

If you wish to skip the dialog box and delete the items at once then you should hit the backspace key instead of the delete key.

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