OpenOffice.org 2.4 (due soon) introduces quick ways to move, copy, and link cells in Calc using drag and drop. To move a column (for example), it is no longer necessary to insert a column, cut the old column, paste the column into its new place, and delete the old column. This article covers the old drag and drop mode, the three new drag and drop modes, and finish up with a demo video.
The overwrite mode available since before version 2.4 is still available.
- Highlight some cells.
- Drag the black selected area. Notice the dragged box has a thick black border which means overwrite mode.
- Drop using the mouse.
The source location overwrites the target. No cells are shifted.
In OpenOffice.org 2.4, insertion mode will not overwrite cells. Vertical insertion mode shifts cells to the right, and horizontal insertion mode shifts cells down. The procedure is the same for both, and OpenOffice.org uses an algorithm to select the insertion mode. The algorithm considers (1) the horizontal and vertical distances from source to target and (2) the aspect ratio of the selected area and (3) whether the source and target are within the same sheet.
- Highlight some cells.
- Drag the black selected area (by pressing and holding the left mouse button).
- After you start dragging, press and hold the ALT key. Notice the dragged box has a thick black border only on one side. A thick border on the left indicates vertical insertion mode, and a thick border on the left indicates horizontal insertion mode.
- Drop (by releasing the left mouse button).
- Release the ALT key.
Insertion mode is similar to Excel's Insert Cut Cells feature.
To copy cells:
- Highlight some cells
- Drag the black selected area.
- Press and hold the CTRL key. Notice the cursor changes to a plus sign.
- Release the CTRL key.
The result are two, independent copies of the selection. Copy mode may optionally be combined with insertion mode by holding down both ALT and SHIFT.
Insertion mode is similar to Excel's Insert Copied Cells feature.
To link cells, hold down CTRL and SHIFT after the dragging and before the drop. The result are two copies of the selection, and the new copy is linked using formulas to the original. Link mode mode can optionally be combined with insertion mode by holding down ALT, CTRL, and SHIFT.
Moving rows and columns
Before OpenOffice.org 2.4.0, to move a column row, you would:
- Insert a blank column or row.
- Cut the old column or row.
- Paste the column into its new place
- Delete the old column.
Alternatively, there are the options Shift cells down and Shift cells right available in Edit > Paste Special. Another option is recording a macro.
The new insertion mode makes moving rows and columns task quicker.