In order to enter data into the spreadsheet, you must first select a cell in which to place the information and then actually type the information on the keyboard. Once you have entered the information, Gnumeric attempts to figure out both the appropriate data value type to assign to the cell and the appropriate data format in which to display this data value. Because this process is quite complex, you may occasionally need to actively select these parameters of the cells, which we explain in Section 3.6 ― Cell Formats below. The next two sections explain how to get data into a cell, first by moving the selection box to a desired cell and then by typing the data.
In order to enter data into Gnumeric you must place the selection box over the appropriate cell. The selection box appears on the cell grid as a double lined rectangle with a small grey square in the lower right corner of the box. By default the selection box surrounds the top, leftmost cell in the cell grid area.
The simplest way to move the selection box is to use the mouse. If the mouse cursor is placed over the cell "C3" (the cursor will be represented as a thick white cross) and the left mouse button then clicked, the selection box will move to cell "C3". Note that the selection box can cover more than one cell if the mouse is dragged while being clicked. The use of these larger selections is explained below in Section 3.7 ― Complex Cell Selections.
The selection box also causes the header of the column and row to change slightly. The headers will turn a darker shade of gray and the font of the letters and numbers turn bold. This helps indicate what is currently being selected.
You can also move the selection box with the keyboard arrow keys. For instance, typing the right arrow twice and the down arrow once will move the selection box from the cell "C3" to the cell "E4".
The selection box can be moved in other ways and will move in response to certain actions. These movements become intuitive after using Gnumeric for a little while.
In order to enter data into a selected cell, you can simply start typing. The characters will then become part of the spreadsheet when you change the selection either by typing the Enter key, which moves the selection down one cell, by typing the Tab key, which moves the selection one cell to the right, or by selecting any other cell with the mouse.
For example, you could use the mouse to select the cell four columns over (Column D) and three rows down (Row 3). Then you could type "Hello, this is a line of text." and then type the Enter key. The text would then appear in cell "D3" and, if the cells to the right are empty, would span into those cells so that the whole entry is visible. The selection box moves when you type the Enter and will therefore appear afterwards in cell "D4", ready for the input of more data.
Note that as the data text is entered it appears in both the cell and in the data entry area (the area below the toolbars to the right of the equals (=) sign).
You can correct mistakes you make during data entry by using the Backspace key or the Delete key. Finer control can be obtained if the cursor is moved to the text entry area by clicking in the box to the right of the equals (=) sign with the mouse. Editing in the text entry area enables the arrow keys to navigate backwards and forwards within the text being entered and also enables the mouse to be used to move the cursor.
You can simply change the contents of a cell by selecting the cell again and either type the new contents or edit the existing contents of the cells.
If the content of the cell is too large for the size of the cell, the entry may span over the edge of the cell into the empty cells to the right. If the cell is a number, the cell grid area may display hash marks (######) to indicate the cell has content which is too large to display in the given cell width.
As you enter data into the spreadsheet, Gnumeric interprets the information in order, first, to assign it to a data category and, second, to give it an appropriate data display format. The entry will be assigned to one of the basic data types and possibly to a sub-type. Entries which start with an apostrophe (') are considered to be text no matter what the rest of the contents. Entries which start with an equals sign (=) are automatically considered to be a formula. Entries which are single numbers or which fall into commonly used patterns for dates or times will be considered to be numbers.
Gnumeric usually figures out correctly both the type and the appropriate display format for the data being entered. Occasionally, you will have to force Gnumeric to consider the data to be a different data type than Gnumeric would guess by default. We explain the details of this process in greater detail in the extended chapter on data, Chapter 5 ― Working with Data.
To enter text, you simply select the appropriate cell, type the text and then the Enter key. If the text is too large to fit in its own cell, and the cell to its right is empty, the text will span into the cell on the right. By default, Gnumeric uses a display format for text in which the contents are shown left justified.
For more information about text elements, see Section 5.2.1 ― Text Data Elements.
To enter numbers, select the appropriate cell, type in a number and then the Enter key. Gnumeric recognizes several types of information to be numbers.
The simplest kind of input which Gnumeric recognizes as numbers are standard numeric values. Technically, these are contiguous sequences of digits which may have a separator symbol between the thousands and another symbol indicating the decimal separator. These symbols follow the English convention by default (comma as thousand separator, period as decimal symbol) but will adopt the symbols appropriate for a different locality if Gnumeric is launched in a particular way. For instance, in a French setting the period is the thousand separator symbol and the comma the decimal separator symbol. By default, Gnumeric will display these numeric values lined up against the right side of the cell.
Several other types of input are recognized as numeric values which means that calculations can be performed on the values in the cells.
For more information on numbers, see Section 5.2.2 ― Number Data Elements.
To enter a boolean values, select the appropriate cell, type in either "TRUE" or "FALSE" and then the Enter key.
To enter a formula, select a cell and type in the equals sign (=) and then a valid formula. If Gnumeric cannot understand the formula which is entered, it will open a dialog box which may have an explanation and gives you a chance either to re-edit the expression or to accept the entry as a text entry instead of a formula. The second choice makes it easy to re-edit the entry into a valid formula simply by fixing the formula and removing the leading apostrophe (') before the equals sign.
Formulas can be quite complex since the power of spreadsheets comes from these formulas. A simple example of the use of a formula is as follows: first, select cell B2 and input the value "3" into that cell. Second, select cell D4 and input (without the quotes) "=B2+2" and then type the Enter key. Cell D4 should display the value "5". If the value of cell B2 is changed from "3" to "100", Gnumeric will automatically update the value of cell D4 to "102".
A valid formula can be a simple arithmetic equation such as
Formulas may include calls to functions. These are statements which indicate that more complex operations should be performed. For instance, a formula could be "=EXP(24)" which would give the value of e (the base of the natural logarithm) raised to the 24th power. The cell would then display "2.6489e+10".
Certain functions return not just a single value but an array of values. To enter those functions one need to first select a range of cells and then type the key combination Ctrl+Shift+Enter rather than just the Enter key by itself. More detail on this can be found in Section 220.127.116.11 ― Array Formulas.
As was shown in the example above, formulas may contain `references' to the contents of another cell. In the example given above, the contents of the cell in the second column and the second row was used in a calculation by using the cell name "B2". These references mean that complex calculations can be automatically updated when one of the original values change.
You can make references to the cells in other worksheets and even to those in other workbooks (files). The basic format of a complete reference is made of the name of the file the reference is in, enclosed by square brackets, followed by the name of the sheet, followed by an exclamation point, followed by the letter(s) of the column name, followed by the number of the row. For example, a complete reference could be "[my_file.gnumeric]"Sheet3"!C3". These complete references can be shortened if the filename or sheet names are the same as that of the reference. "AE34" would refer to the cell in the current file, in the current worksheet which is in column "AE" and in row "34".
References can refer to a range of contiguous range of cells. For instance, the reference "A1:E5" refers to all the cells from the top-left most cell of the current sheet to the cell five rows down and five rows over. This can be useful in a formula which uses a function such as MAX(). The formula "=MAX(A1:E5)" would display the value of the largest number value in this range of cells.
For more information on references see the complete discussion in Section 18.104.22.168 ― Cell Referencing later on in this manual.
For a more discussion of the use of formulas see Section 5.2.4 ― Formula Elements later in this manual. For a list of the functions available, see the function reference appendix, Appendix A ― Function Reference, or click on the toolbar button with the symbol "f(x)" on it for an organized list of functions.