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Hidden Treasures in OpenOffice 2.0's Chart Tool

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the added-excitement-for-that-big-deadline dept.

188

Jane Walker writes "Take a tour of the multi-layered charting tools of OpenOffice 2.0's Charting Wizard, as you learn to create, edit and master the art of making a polished chart." From the article: "The chart features in OpenOffice are like a mystery-lover's dream vacation: a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets."

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Yarrrr! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871785)

Deres gold in dem source code!! YARRR

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871989)

the source code contains a good dose of profanity...

Re:Hmm... (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872060)

Wow, you had enough time and/or disk space to look at the source code...? I tried it once... after it ate up about a gigabyte or so I thought to myself "fuck it, I'll just convert the RPM's..."

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872258)

If by "look at" you mean "compile" your statement makes sense. The source code itself is on the order of 100 MB if I remember correctly, but compiling it does take up much more space due to the intermediate files created, and it does take a few hours on a decent PC.

Re:Yarrrr! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872025)

I miss the good old days [slashdot.org] . Where have all the faggots gone?

Re:Yarrrr! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872300)

Where have all the faggots gone?
Long time passing;
Where have all the faggots gone,
Long time ago.
Where have all the faggots gone?
Gone to gay bars every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Hidden Treasures? (5, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871787)

"Hidden Treasures"?
"mystery-lover's dream vacation"?
"huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets"?

Here's a hint: if you're trying to write a positive review of software, try not to use analogies that indicate that the UI is arcane and unintuitive!

Re:Hidden Treasures? (4, Insightful)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871792)

It's not a review, it's a tutorial, so it's necessary to be brutally honest -- but you have to make it sound nifty so as not to scare readers away.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (1)

subStance (618153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872277)

Heheh - kinda like "renovator's dream home".

Re:Hidden Treasures? (1)

mobilebuddha (713936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872297)

actually, after reading that summary, not gonna bother. why? cuz it sounds like the UI is not intuitive at all. i don't wanna waste my time downloading it and just to find out about its horrendous UI. i mean.. if you are trying to "sell me" into using the openoffice 2.0, that's definitely not the way to do it.

love oss, i just think you guys could do a little more on the marketing end..

Re:Hidden Treasures? (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872338)

You're almost there, but you're not quite getting it. Apparently oo 2 is so bad, they're repackaging it as a first person shooter.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871800)

Here's a hint: if you're trying to write a positive review of software, try not to use analogies that indicate that the UI is arcane and unintuitive!

More importantly, don't make normal old features (available in every other data charting software) out to be something more than they are. I found the article to be nothing but boring and sensationalist.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (-1)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871817)

The article looked like a howto to me and I learned howto make a chart. So I learned something today. Thus; the article was excellent. A little Nancy Drew is good for you anyway, few people today are able to think critically about anything! You tell them: Burning jetfuel burns at 1600 fahrenheit. Steel melts at 3000 fahrenheit. Thus; it should be obvious that the WTF towers were demolished on 911 - yet most people just look at me with this stupid gaze like I'm crazy for even doubting the "official story". The article also learned me "Modifying the Chart: Selecting it the Right Way" - stupid me, I've been selecting it "the wrong way" until now..

Re:Hidden Treasures? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871872)

Re:Hidden Treasures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872080)

While it was impossible for the fuel-rich, diffuse-flame fire to burn at a temperature high enough to melt the steel, its quick ignition and intense heat caused the steel to lose at least half its strength and to deform, causing buckling or crippling. This weakening and deformation caused a few floors to fall, while the weight of the stories above them crushed the floors below, initiating a domino collapse.

(quote from the page linked to by the parent: http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/0112/Eagar/Ea gar-0112.html [tms.org] )

Sorry for the OT post.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871966)

I think you're a troll but I'll bite anyway...

It dosen't have to melt.
Just needs to get hot enough to lose strength.

http://www.911review.com/articles/jm/cache/fr006.h tm [911review.com]

The jet fuel went largely outside. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872383)

NONSENSE, partly.

"Thus, the fact that there were 90,000 L of jet fuel on a few floors of the WTC does not mean that this was an unusually hot fire."

Agreed, it was not unusually hot. And most of the jet fuel exploded in a huge fireball outside the WTC.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872014)

From looking at your website, I seriously hope you're joking.

Either that or you badly need a reality check.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871846)

While I think it was more of a review than a tutorial, I don't think it was particularly accurate in its description.

OpenOffice's charting functionality just doesn't have that much stuff that's 'hidden' -- unless you're completely unfamiliar with Excel's charting tools which work almost exactly the same.

God forbid this was an Microsoft Office review (1, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871879)

There's no way in hell spin like this would be tolerated on slashdot.

"At least it's getting slap on the wrist I suppose."

Anyway, I don't mind this review .. but would like to see reviews of Microsoft products well tolerated on here in a balanced manner.

Re:Hidden Treasures? (5, Funny)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871896)

Being a hardcore Microsoft Office user, I thought there was a Myst-simulator in OpenOffice a la the flight simulator in Excel. Thank you for bashing my dreams.

Focus on the facts (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871998)

Just what I thought.... Is this guy writing a review or a whodunnit mystery novel?

If I wanted to read poetic drivvel, I would not try to find it on /.!

Secret bookcases? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871789)

Why the hell do you want software that you have to dig deep through in order to get any benefit out of using it?

Re:Secret bookcases? (2, Funny)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872310)

Jeez, but if you looked at the source code you'd know exactly how to use it! Whiner ;-)

For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (5, Funny)

palumbor (854887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871795)

I feel as if I was just verbally assaulted by an informercial.

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871816)

:SLAP: Buy OpenOffice 2.0.1 or else
BITCH!

Now you can say you've been physically assaulted by an infomercial too :O) ..wha? It's free?
Sorry for slapping you dude.

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871835)

:SLAP: Buy OpenOffice 2.0.1 or else Yes, sir. Was (ab)using 2.0.0.

~ $ USE="binfilter java mozilla xml2" ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" emerge openoffice

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871914)

DON'T COMPILE THAT LINUX TAR! [gapmanwebdesign.com]

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (1)

dusik (239139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872275)

Don't use ACCEPT_KEYWORDS! Use /etc/portage/package.keywords!

(sorry it sounds off-topic, all non-gentooers, but this command is evil and can break your system!)

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871902)

OpenOffice.org: As Seen On Slashdot!

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (2, Funny)

neccoant (3345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872103)

Yeah, this is a glorified ad, but it also describes the exact opposite of what a UI designer or user wants to hear. It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.

Re:For 19.95 A LIMITED TIME! (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872217)

I was waiting for a slashvertisement so I could tag it correctly. It was a good thing I didn't have to wait long!

Chart Topper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871796)

How about a good book on doing good charts to begin with? I've seen online charts that can be confusing because someone picked the wrong colors.

I don't like haunted house interfaces (4, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871820)

"a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets."

Yeah, they perfectly emulate Microsoft Excel charts: you get to click around with the mouse, hoping you'll hit the magic spot to get the context menu for the attribute you want. "Ok, X-axis. Last time it I clicked here and then here. I mean here, wait over here." There's not even a damned menu that shows all the options.

Whereas, with gnuplot I get no GUI but reproducible results from a simple text file. With gnuplot, I can set the colors, I can set the output size, I can specify the output format. No magic, no "secret bookcases." And I can pipe the data from other processes.

gnuplot wins for anything serious.

That really is a great phrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871831)

That really is a great phrase the article inadvertantly coined there. I propose that "secret bookcase" hereby become standard jargon for an interface feature which violates the Principle of Least Astonishment in some truly astonishing way.

Re:That really is a great phrase (0, Redundant)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871958)

you get to click around with the mouse, hoping you'll hit the magic spot

Like Stan searching for the clitoris in the South Park movie.

Re:I don't like haunted house interfaces (4, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871888)

I fully agree that Excel (and OpenOffice.org's Calc) has a horrible interface for making graphs. It is frustrating to actually get anything to look the way you want. Moreover, there is no simple way to get a graph "looking perfect" and then apply that formatting style to other graphs. You either have to start from scratch, or copy the graph and then change the data that it is pointing to. Both are tedious. I wish OO.o had a simple way to apply formatting from one graph to another (maybe it does... anything know of a trick?).

However, despite how bad Excel's graph capabilities are, you may be interested to know that there is a better way to select and modify graph items. Instead of right-clicking madly, open up the "Chart" toolbar (right-click on the toolbar near the top and make the "Chart" one visible). When you select a graph, the toolbar will list all the items ("Data series 1", "Data series 2", "x-axis", etc.). You can now pick the one you want and open its properties quickly. This allows you to "get" the item you want.

That having been said, it's a frustrating experience. There is no good way, for instance, to have proper-looking scientific/exponential notation on a graph in either Excel or OO.o calc. These are the types of things that I think OO.o could really be *ahead* of MS Office... It wouldn't take much programming (compared to what has already been done), and it would make OO.o immediately more useful than MS Office for certain tasks.

Re:I don't like haunted house interfaces (0)

oasisweb (924178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871925)

oh oh oh! but with microsoft, you can win a vacation on the blue sea of death! Can gnuplot win that?

Re:I don't like haunted house interfaces (1)

hole725 (959665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871985)

Maybe by the time version 5.0 comes out we'll be able to scale the x-axis.

Re:I don't like haunted house interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872054)

Yeah, they perfectly emulate Microsoft Excel charts: you get to click around with the mouse, hoping you'll hit the magic spot to get the context menu for the attribute you want. "Ok, X-axis. Last time it I clicked here and then here. I mean here, wait over here." There's not even a damned menu that shows all the options.

You are so right.

gnuplot is a clunky old piece of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872207)

But it's the best I've seen so far. The selection of output terminals is bloody awesome -- even if no two work the damn same way. And the MetaPost terminal is great for use with LaTeX.

Anyone have any tips on making gnuplot less of a bitch to work with?

R shits all over GnuPlot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872221)

I kid you not:

http://www.r-project.org/ [r-project.org]

But can it compete with MS-Office!? (4, Funny)

merc (115854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871836)

Sorry, I digress. What I really meant to say was "But, does it have a flight simulator?"

Re:But can it compete with MS-Office!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872038)

If it's so full of secret bookcases and hidden closets, maybe we just haven't found it yet.

Re:But can it compete with MS-Office!? (1)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872156)

So you want the flight simulator to come out of the closet?

Slow news day (4, Funny)

kentrel (526003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871840)

Ah, comparing something to Nancy Drew mysteries, the perfect way to a geek's heart.

I'm scared. (4, Funny)

gooman (709147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872001)

I don't know what frightens me more, a Nancy Drew reference on slashdot, or the fact that I got it.

Slow drill day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872078)

"Ah, comparing something to Nancy Drew mysteries, the perfect way to a geek's heart."

The perfect way to a geeks heart is a Dremel to the ribcage.

Some more fun with OpenOffice.org (5, Informative)

codergeek42 (792304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871852)

Open up OpenOffice.org Calc, and enter the following into any cell:

=Game("StarWars")

Enjoy! :-)

(Thanks to ChrisWhite on IRC a few months ago for this tidbit...)

Re:Some more fun with OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871910)

Wow, that's.... neat?

I've seen better animated flash cartoons by a 6-year-old.

Re:Some more fun with OpenOffice.org (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871923)

If you think that's cool, type /productivity_suite in the chat area next time you play WoW. Now that's cool!

Re:Some more fun with OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871996)

blizzard sure does know how to create a web page editor. after using that then trying the pages.google.com editor, i was sorely dissapointed in googles attempts: they couldn't even replicate an easter egg in a popular online game!

Re:Some more fun with OpenOffice.org (3, Funny)

chriswaclawik (859112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871983)

Sadly, in the time it takes to open up OpenOffice I can load the level I'm on in Far Cry. :)

Oh, thanks ... (4, Funny)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872198)

... I just wasted another frikkin' half hour of my life. ;-)

Oh boy! Chart Wizards! (0, Troll)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871853)

Why it almost has as much charting functionality as Excel 95! Stop the presses! Slashdot exclusive!

Usability, is that you? (5, Funny)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871875)

Because you know your software is usable when it's described as a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets.

Re:Usability, is that you? (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871918)

Yup, open source usability problem. "What it lacks in obviousness, OpenOffice makes up for in the many ways to find the tools. They're in four places." Bad sign. Worse if some of options are only in some of the places.

This is an generic problem with open source GUI programs. Some features are reached through menus, some through toolbars, and some by right clicking. The interface tends to be determined more by who added the feature than by coherent design.

The original "Macintosh User Interface Guidelines" are still a good read. You may disagree with some of them, but if you have no idea what they are, you shouldn't be designing interfaces.

Re:Usability, is that you? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872127)

Actually, this is a case of an open source app emulating (too well) the miserable UI habits of many proprietary applications. MS Office, in this case.

Re:Usability, is that you? (5, Funny)

Potato Battery (872080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872153)

You are sitting in front of a computer. There is an icon on the desktop.

>Make chart.

Can't do that now.

>Launch OpenOffice

You are magically transported from the chair, though the monitor, to the other side, a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors. It is getting very dark. You could be eaten by a grue.

>Light lantern. Make chart.

Made unusable by design (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871876)

How about instead, they make the thing intuitive. There are SO MANY options turned on at start that it's not usable, and trying to find those is enough to make me remove OO every time and go use some other program.

I'm trying to type and the the blasted thing is auto indenting, auto fixing, auto guessing my words and generally pissing me off. And finding those and more aggrivating options to turn off, is akin to battling library version conflicts while compiling in linux.

Re:Made unusable by design (3, Funny)

djSpinMonkey (816614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871897)

I don't know, man. It looks like you could kind of use that auto-spellcheck, even if it is aggrivating.

Wow (5, Funny)

threedognit3 (854836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871878)

Well I know this is going to make 15 people happy.

hahahaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14871933)

you make a funny!

Once your past the first few paragraphs... (1)

stuttering stan (889500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871881)

Once you're past the first few paragraphs it's a typical intro level tutorial. The article does not take you into any undocumented/hidden features, easter eggs, or into some Myst-like labyrinth of sub-menus. A typically written "Getting Started with..." guild for OO.o charts.

Re:Once your past the first few paragraphs... (0)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872164)

"A typically written "Getting Started with..." guild for OO.o charts."

What is this "OO.o charts" MMORPG? How do you know which guilds are good, and do they power-level you past the early grind? Or is there some other way they help you get started?

Oh, "guide". And I was getting all excited for an O/S MMORPG with histograms and pie charts. Dang.

I Saw This Movie (5, Funny)

Dante Shamest (813622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871885)

"The chart features in OpenOffice are like a mystery-lover's dream vacation: a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets."

I saw this movie. You're going to die horribly.

And since you're a /. user, you're going to die a virgin.

Author's a chick! (1)

Dante Shamest (813622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872426)

I just realised the author is a chick. If you're reading this Solveig Haugland, ignore my parent post and go out with me.

Edward Tufte ... (2, Insightful)

haluness (219661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871901)

Re:Edward Tufte ... (2, Insightful)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872305)

I was looking for some choie Tufte quotes on the futility of representing data on a low resolution [projection] screen, and I found this: Does PowerPoint make you stupid? [presentations.com] , a pretty harsh slam of Tufte's disdain for PowerPoint. For those unfamiliar, Tufte hates PowerPoint the tool. He blames PowerPoint itself in part for the Columbia disaster [edwardtufte.com] .

The first article I linked defends PowerPoint on the grounds that in the wrong hands, PowerPoint can make horrible presentations, much like anything in the wrong hands. It slams Tufte for seeming to claim that PowerPoint itself is bad, pointing out that Tufte's most hated "Auto Content Wizard" are rarely used.

I have attended Tufte's one-day course. In it, he uses projectors to display very little. A few photos, a video clip, and not much else. For every bit of text or data plot, he refers to the high resolution printed handouts or the pages of his books (included with the course). The point I took away from the PowerPoint chapter (the course covers several topics) was that PowerPoint does two things: First, it encourages Excel style (or OpenOffice Chart style) data plots with few data points, distracting 3D "chart junk", and low resolution (a consequence of being projected rather than printed). And second, it presents information in a sliced and disjointed manner. The audience, Tufte postulated, should be able to peruse the information you are presenting in their own style. Perhaps paying attention to what you are saying, perhaps looking ahead or forming questions about the data. A PowerPoint slide limits the available information to what fits on a single slide: not much. The isolation of the slides makes it difficult for the audience to compare the things you are presenting and to think at their own pace. So, not simply PowerPoint, but any low resolution time-isolated presentation is bad. And on top of that Tufte dislikes the bullet style enforce by PowerPoint, which the above article also criticizes as "you don't have to do it that way" (not so true I think; PowerPoint does push hard for the bulleted list style presentation).

But I think the first article I linked misses Tufte's main points. And with PowerPoint and Excel or OpenOffice's equivalents, one must be very careful to not force the audience to follow your presentation word by word. One should encourage exploration, comparison, and thought. Explain the data, then let the audience peruse it. Forcing one linear path will undoubtedly cloud the picture you are trying to present.

that's gross (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871932)

"...like a mystery-lover's dream vacation: a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets."

I dunno about you, but I don't want to "peer behind" any doors or closets if we're talking about a "mystery-lover's dream vacation."

What are you trying to say? (3, Insightful)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871940)

The chart features in OpenOffice are like a mystery-lover's dream vacation: a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets.

So in other words, you're saying that its user interface is a complete and utter failure?

Re:What are you trying to say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872119)

So in other words, you're saying that its user interface is a complete and utter failure?

That depends on what is considered to be a good user interface by the target audience.

Re:What are you trying to say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872233)

I prefer my user interface to be more like a cupboard in which everything is carefully sorted and labeled.

hehe nice timing (10 years behind post) (2, Interesting)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14871960)

I am not trying to troll here. I read the post a couple days ago that OO is 10 years behind MS Officer and i remember Office 97 having that flight simulator in the dark. Hehe. Go figure :P

OMFG! error bars! (2, Informative)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872003)

I have been trying to find error bars in OO.org for an eternity, and I see them in one of those screen shots. YES! (I don't have any real statistical need, but they're part of the requirements for my ugrad. physics lab reports. Hopefully it'll all spit out into Microsoft formats correctly)

Re:OMFG! error bars! (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872155)

Perhaps I spoke too soon. How do I get y AND x error bars?

Re:OMFG! error bars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872291)

Why on earth are you using Excel or a clone thereof for a physics lab report? That's why they invented Matlab.

Re:OMFG! error bars! (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872377)

Its not my decision. I certainly wouldn't mind using Matlab (especially if the school paid for it (well I pay for Excel, but its lumped in with everything else in the bill)), but .doc is format they require. Using OO.org was mostly a tactic to avoid having to reboot into Windows to do my lab reports, although now I have a Mac and Office:mac.

Re:OMFG! error bars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872289)

It's good to know that I'm not the only person who had problems working this out. I eventually discovered how to do XY error bars in Excel, but all excel produced graphs look like crap. I never discovered how to do it in OO.org.

Eventually I got onto using OriginPro. Simple as hell to use, with great looking eps output.

It needs one more room (2, Insightful)

Muchacho_Gasolino (868337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872011)

Maybe Calc does have an ancient mansion to explore, but I still can't display the equation of a trendline. As a college physics student, this means I write my lab reports in Writer and make my charts in Excel.

Re:It needs one more room (1)

LinuxRulz (678500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872130)

Maybe it doesn't show a trendline straight on the chart, but at least ooCalc has a function to calculate it. With it, I was able to do all my college lab reports without Excel.

due for a rewrite (5, Interesting)

Harlan879 (878542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872039)

Uh, ridiculous. The charting code works, barely, but it's full of weird bugs, interface wackiness, and major, huge, usefulness-preventing limitations. My understanding is that a from-scratch rewrite of the Chart code was on the table for 2.0, but they didn't have the resources to do it and it got delayed, probably until 3.0. I use Chart for quick-and-dirty graphs when exploring data, but for real production graphs I use Grace [weizmann.ac.il] .

Some Power OO Charting Tips for Hackers (1)

smug_lisp_weenie (824771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872043)

Hot-linking sheets to a CSV file First of all, you can link a sheet to a CSV file (a comma-delimited format that is very easy to generate from the computer language of your choice) It will auto-update the data and hence any charts linked to it from other sheets automagically when you reenter the spreadsheet file. To do the linking, right-click on a tabsheet tab, choose "new tab", then create it from the CSV file via the option in the appearing dialog and make sure the "Link" checkbox is checked. Scatter XY charts versus line charts Never ever use the line charts (the first option in the chart glyph selector) the XY scatter plot has the same abilities, plus can do trend lines and has much better auto-scaling abilities. Obviously, you will need to have a column of the X values (easily created) to make this work. Creating a trend line Click furiously/erratically on the physical data line in the graph and when it has little boxes all over it go right click->properties. The UI here is attrocious- I think you need to single click, then double click, then single click again to get the little boxes that allow you to set the trend line :)

I don't mean to be a sexist, but (2, Interesting)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872069)

"The chart features in OpenOffice are like a mystery-lover's dream vacation: a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal wonderful secrets."

Somehow when I read that, I kinda figured the article had to be written by a woman. If it was written by a man, it perhaps could have been written like this;

"Some of the chart features in OOo are convoluted and hidden. Some may find it annoying, and others may find it surprisingly enriching."

Re:I don't mean to be a sexist, but (2, Funny)

dj.delorie (3368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872084)

No, if it were written by a man it would read "The chart features in OpenOffice are like a mystery-lover's dream vacation: a huge, mysterious old house with lots of long halls, secret bookcases, dark closets and creaky doors that, when you peer behind them, reveal hidden power tools."

unfortunately, they suck (4, Interesting)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872072)

really... I work in finance where virtually everyone uses excel. Try plotting a 1000 points chart in OOo. It will take a very noticeable time and the default behavior will be to have an ugly "row" written under every point! In excel the graph appears instantaneously and looks neat. Actually excel is the only software I miss under linux (cxoffice rulez though)... many people mention photoshop, but the gap between OOo calc and excel is 1 order of magnitude more than between photoshop and the gimp. At least for my use. It's really too bad :( Kchart is also slow as hell by the way.... I wonder what;s specific with excel's implementation of charts...

Re:unfortunately, they suck (4, Interesting)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872143)

Suggestion: Use gnumeric. It sucks considerably less. Not gonna say it's GOOD (but then I wouldn't say Excel is either) but it definatly sucks less.

Re:unfortunately, they suck (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872248)

You are TOTALLY right... I can't imagine why I never tried it... it's still not on par with excel but it's good enough for me to replace excel, it has a strong scientific appeal (as opposed to OOo,kspread focusing on everyday use) which I find great! gnumeric rulez

You Know (3, Insightful)

2443W (946731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872086)

... the funniest part of this all is that i just finished cursing the chart creator after spending ~ an hour trying to get a chart to have something intelligent on the x axis. I got so frustrated that i took a break and decided to check /. for anything new. Instead of a treasure hunt a easily useable chart creation interface would be nice. Like maybe one that doesn't want my x axis values to by the titles. If I could just manually assign the values along the axis...

Tufte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872088)

Tufte Disagrees.

Calming the ghosts (1)

isomeme (177414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872106)

My favored analogy for a sprawling, unplanned, grew-by-accretion software product is the Winchester Mystery House [winchester...yhouse.com] in San Jose, California. So the chosen analogy happened to strike me in the worst possible way. I've worked on and with too many WMH projects already.

Try this... (5, Interesting)

dskoll (99328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872111)

Try making a chart with more than a few hundred data points. Go eat supper while your computer grinds, churns and overheats.

Then resize the chart. Eat, grind, churn, overheat.

Head over to GNUPlot. Plots those hundreds of data points in under a second. Thank you.

Re:Try this... (2, Informative)

Superfarstucker (621775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872144)

gnuplot is great. Excel won't even do 500 element charts and can't import csv's with more than 65535 items. Ridiculous.

Re:Try this... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872235)

Yeah, but its user interface still sucks. I use gnuplot because I regularly need graphs with over 13,000 data points in them, and I haven't found anything better for that kind of volume. But, really, the interface is trash. You really need scripts to get anything done in a sane amount of time.

Re:Try this... (2, Informative)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872423)

You should try using Octave as a front-end to GNUPlot! It works like matlab, you can actually manipulate the data to boot.

Re:Try this... (3, Interesting)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872432)

Agree completely. My typical data analysis goes something like this: I have several 2D (x&y) data sets. I add more as time passes, creating an abstract time axis. I'd like to able to do something like:

  • select all 2D data sets
  • perform some identical numeric manipulation on them, creating new data sets. example: calculate mean and std. deviation. of data sets taken on the same day
  • extract some of the data vs. the time axis creating a new data set (the time series)
  • plot the time series using various plotting options such as error bars at the std. deviation
  • repeat with minimal effort as new data is added
  • repeat with minimal effort with completely new data sets

Perhaps that isn't a very clear picture of what I'm doing, but if anyone knows of something that can do such a thing, or a better workflow, please speak up. In the past, I have used octave + gnuplot, but the procedural style of octave is a drag (doesn't auto-update like, say, excel does when something changes), and it's difficult to "save" a data manipulation session (scripts may be written, but transporting them to other data sets may not be so easy). Perhaps the only way to go is to bite the bullet and make scripts... Also, tweaking a plot with gnuplot is a tedious code, compile, run cycle. Saving the parameters of a GUI plot (like excel, kaleidagraph, etc.) for reuse is difficult howerver. Isn't there something that does both?

What's hidden? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872194)

re: Hidden Treasures in OpenOffice 2.0's Chart Tool

What the heck is so hidden about it?

It does charting. It does it well. It's one thing OOo does better than M$ Office, and is actually a little more intuitive. What is so hidden about it?

NOW I get it! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872218)

Man, I admit I was confused for a few years. I kept trying open office, after an hour and no paper written I gave up. Wait for new release. Try it again. Same deal. I just want to type up some plain old stuff, nothing fancy...like what's with all that stuff??? What's it for?

No one told me it was a VIDEO GAME! Now it makes sense! Who sells the official OO.ogre joystick?

hidden treasures? (2, Interesting)

foxhound01 (661872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872242)

there may be hidden treasures, so well hidden that i didn't learn a thing from reading that article! anyways, seems to me the biggest thing holding OO.o back from mainstream acceptance is "easily" being able to do a regression curve and display its equation for xy-scatter and line charts...c'mon guys, i'm no programmer, but it can't be *that* hard to implement, can it?
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