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Integrating Calc Into Your Business - page 3

Calc Adds Up

  • February 5, 2004
  • By Rob Reilly

The layout and functions of Calc are very similar to other proprietary spreadsheet programs, like MS Excel. The program is remarkably easy to use and has a main screen that is used for entering and viewing your cells with tool bars across the top and left sides. Selections are generally done through drop-down menus.

Working with Calc is easy. Start up OpenOffice.org like you normally would. Then simply go to File|New|Spreadsheet. A new window will appear with a familiar looking screen will show up with cells everywhere. You're ready to start calculating.

A practical example might be to add up sales numbers for your three salesmen. You could also find each salesman's average per month and get a total revenue number for the year. Here's the list to enter. Start at cell B3 and work your way over and down. Or, just highlight the entries in this table (in your browser), then right click and copy them into the screen buffer. Then go over to Calc and paste them in. Left click B3, then right click Paste.

January 23903.66 40093.01 1982.43
February 40550.22 32883.23 99523.11
March 12311.22 33238.81 67656.43
April 58794.22 12669.38 90999.54
May 14323.33 89863.19 66271.09
June 13495.11 76653.98 6680.53
July 90834.89 87328.73 23147.29
August 13803.23 48539.06 46453.66
September 84419.30 42334.95 15119.95
October 31452.20 20993.45 39763.55
November 8939.30 22044.95 12999.95
December 34052.20 27663.45 37213.55
Moe Larry Curley

Next, go to C16 and click the Sum icon (looks like a big zig zaggy E, or the Greek sigma character). Cells C3 through C15 will have a window around them. Grab the bottom right corner of the window and move it up to C14. The windowed cells should now be C3 through C14. Type a return and your total (sum) should appear in C16. To carry the totals across the other two columns, highlight C16, right click and copy that cell, then left click and drag the cursor across cells D16 and E16. Right click and paste. The totals for those columns will magically appear. Go to B16, type in "Total/Salesman" and press Enter.

Now click on cell B17. Type in "Avg/Salesman" and press Enter. Move over to C17 and click the Autopilot: Functions button (just left of the SUM button that we just used). The autopilot function window will appear. Move down the list of functions and highlight "Average", then click "Next". In the Number 1 data entry box type "C3:C14". Then single click in the data entry box to see which cells were highlighted on the spreadsheet. Type "OK" to finish up the average calculation. And, there's your average for the first salesman. Right click and copy C17 over to D17 and E17, just like we did for the totals.

It would be nice to find out how much total revenue we made last year. Click on cell E19. Type "=C16+D16+E16" and then type a return. The total of the three columns will appear in E19. Go to D19, type in "Total Dough" and then enter. It's easy to make the spreadsheet more readable by highlighting row 15 and inserting a blank row. Not bad for that crew, almost 1.5 million. See, Calc works exactly the same as any other spreadsheet, that you've ever used.

This simple example could be applicable in many small businesses and could be the foundation for a basic sales tracking tool. And, entering numbers in Calc sure beats trying to use a calculator, especially if it doesn't even have a paper printout.

There are many other areas that you can explore in OpenOffice.org. Try adding whole numbers to dates. Or, enter some complex formulas.

Hey, everybody knows that you run a business with your charts. That's how the big boys do it. Our little business example has three sales people, so we really only need one chart, right now. Let's do it.
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