Shared Calc spreadsheets - OpenOffice.org Ninja

Shared Calc spreadsheets

Posted by Andrew Z at Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Permalink

OpenOffice.org 3.0 introduces live sharing of Calc spreadsheets. Multiple people on multiple computers using multiple operating systems can edit the same OpenDocument spreadsheet at the same time.

How to use

  1. The first user should open a Calc spreadsheet saved in OpenDocument format in a network location accessible to others.
  2. Click Tools and then Share Document. This setting persists for the document even after the last user closes the document.
  3. Check the box Share this spreadsheet with other users and click OK
  4. Other users may now open the spreadsheet. Each user will see this warning:
    OpenOffice.org 3.0: warning about 'This spreadsheet is in shared mode'
  5. Periodically each user should save the spreadsheet to merge his change and refresh changes from other users. In other words, the changes are only updated during saving. If there are any updates, OpenOffice.org shows a notification dialog box, and the changes will be marked with one color for each author. Here cell B3 was updated.
    OpenOffice.org Calc 3.0: Your spreadsheet has been updated with changes saved by other users

Conflict resolution

If two people change the same cell, the second person to merge his changes will see a dialog box called "Resolve Conflicts." It presents the choices "Keep Mine" or "Keep Other" for each conflict.

OpenOffice.org Calc 3.0: Resolve Conflicts

Document locking

If sharing is not enabled, the document is locked. Unlike previous versions, OpenOffice.org 3.0 shows who locked the document, how long the document has been locked, and an option to open a copy.

OpenOffice.org 3.0: Document in Use

Competition, retraining, and limitations

Microsoft Excel has a similar feature called Share Workbook. Both applications have similar limitations on the features that can be changed while the document is shared.

OpenOffice.org locking works with the Excel application, but live sharing between the two is not possible. Two people using OpenOffice.org 3 cannot share an Excel spreadsheet: the OpenDocument spreadsheet format must be used.

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not quite working yet.

This feature allows multiple users to access the same spreadsheet even when the file is set to exclusive use.

Donal said...

It's not about access, but about saving and editing.

LibreOffice_Calc_user said...

I could not make this work on my pc's. I did set the .ods file to share mode but when i open the shared file on other pc, it opens in read only mode. What else should i do?

Andrew Z said...

LibreOffice_Calc_user : A first step is to to make sure all the systems have read-write permissions to the folder, so on the "other PC" make sure it can create and modify files in the same folder.

LibreOffice_Calc_user said...

Thanks for the quick response. I did change the permission of the .ods files to 777. I can also edit the files on my other PC only when no one is editing the file. But if the file is being used by another PC, It wouldnt open in write mode on the other PC.

Andrew Z said...

LibreOffice Calc User: are all users on the same operating system (Windows or Linux)? File locking across operating systems can cause problems or require settings to be adjusted. It sounds like you at least one of your systems is Linux, so are you sharing with NFS, Samba, or something else?

LibreOffice_Calc_user said...

Both of them uses openSUSE 11 OS.

PC#1
openSUSE 11
192.168.0.2
has the shared test.ods file with 777 permission

PC#2
openSUSE 11
192.168.0.3
Can edit the shared test.ods only when the file is not opened on other PC.
But when the file is opened on other PC, this PC would only open the file in read mode.

Andrew Z said...

In my experience, Linux file locking can be quirky. You can try switching between different network file sharing protocols: NFS, Samba, SSH/FUSE, etc. You could also check the LibreOffice bug tracker in case the bug exists, or file a new bug ticket. Otherwise, I'm not sure.

LibreOffice_Calc_user said...

Thanks! Do you know how to force open a .ods file to edit mode?
I tried to open the file on PC#2, and simultaneously open it on PC#1 using super-user mode. It did open in Edit mode. Both of them are now able to edit at the same time. But it doesnt work vice versa because only PC#1 can super-user mode on the file.

Andrew Z said...

By super user mode, you mean you ran LiberOffice as the root user or using sudo? If you are using NFS, then you can disable root squashing, so the NFS client machine can do this also.

If you are on a business network, disabling root squashing can be a security risk, but in a home network with a firewall, etc, it can be reasonably safe.