Introduction to LibreOffice Calc

Calc has been around before Sun Microsystems released the first version of in 2000. The founders of the Document Foundation forked it with the rest of the applications that now compose LibreOffice.

Spreadsheets are a typical application in most modern office suites. They are used for a variety of things, from simple records to complex calculations.
The open-source application is one of the most feature-rich spreadsheets, and it has many of the features that Microsoft Excel has, as well as many features that it does not. A comparison of the two spreadsheet applications’ features can be found here. The page shows that Calc has more calculation functions and some unique calculation functions and it has spell check as you type, which Excel 2016 doesn’t have.

These are a few of the things that set it apart. Calc can also open almost any type of spreadsheet document. These include, of course, XLSX and ODS, the latest Microsoft and OpenDocument formats. It also opens Apple Numbers 2008 and 2009 documents and Corel Quattro Pro documents.

The spreadsheet also opens legacy formatted documents dating back to the first spreadsheet applications, such as Lotus 1-2-3.


LibreOffice is a fork of The key developers of OpenOffice wanted to take the office suite in a different direction because they had concerns about how the parent company, Oracle, was managing it. In 2011, the first version of LibreOffice was released as version 3.3 Beta because it was based on Calc underwent a massive re-work, in the LibreOffice version, of external reference handling to fix a large number of defects in formula calculations involving external references, and to boost data caching performance especially when referencing large data ranges.
Calc was first introduced in the second version of StarOffice in 1994. StarOffice was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999, and the corporation released an open-source version of the suite in 2000, calling it OpenOffice.

This section

This section of OS-College has articles and videos that are completely about Calc, not about any of the other applications. All six applications have ten drop-down menus across the top. Eight of those they have in common, though the items in those applications vary from application to application:

  • File
  • Edit
  • View
  • Insert
  • Format


  • Tools
  • Window
  • Help

These are the eight menus that they have in common. The ellipses represents the two that are unique to Calc:

  • Sheet: This menu has items that pertain to cells, rows, columns, and sheets. A spreadsheet document is made up of sheets. Sheets contain rows and columns. Cells make up rows and columns. This menu has items to add, delete, and modify these four elements. It also allows you to make comments in cells and navigate sheets.
  • Data: This menu allows you to sort your data. create and modify a pivot table, define data ranges, and apply statistics as well as other functions.

In addition to these menus, there are various toolbars that work with Calc. A Calc document has several toolbars that open automatically when one is opened or created. Otherwise, the the Toolbars sub-menu is in the View menu. There are two that are unique to it:

  • Data Streams: This allows you to start and stop data streams to a document.
  • Insert Cell: This has six items in it
    • Insert Cells Down: This inserts blank cells above the selected ones. It will insert the same number of cells that are selected.
    • Insert Cells Above: This moves the selected cells to the left and replaces them with blank cells. It will insert the same number of cells that are selected.
    • Insert Rows Above: This places a row above the one where the cell/s are selected. It will insert the same number of rows that are selected.
    • Insert Rows Below: This places a row below the one where the cell/s are selected. It will insert the same number of rows that are selected.