Linux folks like me tend to be Linux-centric, but that doesn't mean that we can completely ignore reality. When you're working with existing spreadsheets (and any other office-related documents, to be honest), the chances are pretty good that you created them using more common software packages, such as Microsoft Excel, that run on other operating systems, such as Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. The folks who wrote and support Gnumeric couldn't ignore this reality either, so Gnumeric provides built-in support for opening Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.
; Y>--r- If you have a lot of existing spreadsheets and are wondering how to transfer them to your new Ubuntu system, see Bonus Chapter 2, "File Transfer and Sharing on Ubuntu," for detailed information on doing just that. Don't worry — it's really quite easy to do using a network connection or even a traditional mechanism such as a floppy or a cD.
For example, to open an existing Excel spreadsheet, simply select the File C> Open command. By default, the file selection dialog that opens enables you to select files with any extension, including the .xls extension used by Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
The same mechanism is used to open files in any other format supported by Gnumeric. Gnumeric can open spreadsheets or other data files that have been saved in any of the following formats:
■ Applix (.as): The spreadsheet files produced by the Applix Office suite, which was discussed in Chapter 16.
■ Comma-Separated Value (.csv): A standard text-based interchange format, where each row appears on a single line and each field value is separated from the next by a comma. This exchange format does not preserve the calculations required to produce cell values, only the values of the cells themselves.
■ Data Interchange Format (.dif): Another standard text-based interchange format that does not preserve the calculations required to produce cell values, only the values of the cells themselves.
■ Gnumeric (.gnumeric): Gnumeric's own format.
■ HTML: Tabular data in standard HyperText Markup Language format.
■ Linear and Integer Program Format (.mps): A text-based interchange format developed by IBM in the sixteenth century. This exchange format does not preserve the calculations required to produce cell values, only the values of the cells themselves, leaving the calculations to the monks who were illuminating the punch cards.
■ Lotus 1-2-3 (.123, .wk1, .wks): The spreadsheet formats used by various versions of Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.
■ Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xslx): The data format(s) used by Excel 2007 (xslx), and Excel 2003, and earlier Excel spreadsheets (xsl).
■ Multiplan (.sylk): The data format used by the old Multiplan spreadsheet.
■ Oleo (.mps): The data format used by the GNU project's Oleo spreadsheet (www.gnu.org/ software/oleo/oleo.html), which was last updated/released in 2000.
■ OpenOffice.org/StarOffice Calc (.ods, .sxc): ODS is the open document spreadsheet format used by OpenOffice.org Calc and other forward-thinking (i.e., open) spreadsheets. SXC is the spreadsheet format used by StarOffice.
■ Quattro Pro (.wb1, wb2, .wb3): The spreadsheet formats used by various versions of Borland's Quattro Pro spreadsheet.
■ Plan Perfect (.pln): The data format used by the PlanPerfect component of Corel's WordPerfect Office suite.
■ Text (.txt): Text files that can be parsed in some way to convert them to the row-and-column model used by spreadsheets.
■ Xbase (.dbf): The database file format used by a variety of Dbase Ill-compatible applications such as Microsoft FoxPro, Dbase III and later, and so on.
As you can see, the open source developers who are responsible for Gnumeric have made a very significant effort to ensure that you can import any of your existing spreadsheet data files into Gnumeric, so that you're not losing anything other than your dependence on your previous operating system.
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