LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

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kmcSack
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LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by kmcSack »

Hello,

I am looking for some advice regarding LibreOffce Calc and Excel. I am an accountant with a technical background. I like Linux and want to give it a shot for professional use. There are three major computer needs I have. So far, I've found solutions to two of them.

Excel is the hard nut to crack. I am an Excel power user. I use the advanced features, VBA macros, many keyboard shortcuts, and integration with MS Access, OneDrive, and Power BI. I have tried using LibreOffice Calc with tepid results. I am not able to use my spreadsheets with their VBA and integration with other MS applications.

There may be no good solution to this except to stick with Windows but I would like to hear from the community and what your thoughts are on this challenge.
All advice and perspectives greatly appreciated!

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CaptainKirksChair
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by CaptainKirksChair »

I am in the exact same boat as you. Unfortunately, there is no way to have the VBA macros work natively on any Linux system. They may work in a Virtual Box but I've never tried so I can't speak to that.

I can access my OneDrive from Linux via FireFox so that will work. However, I don't know about any type of integration with Linux. You can right click an MS Office document on your OneDrive from within FireFox on Linux and choose Download. Then choose the LibreOffice application of your choice as the default. You can open the documents that way but not save them back to OneDrive.

I've never been able to get an ODF file to integrate with an XLSX or XLSM file so I'm betting you can can't do the reverse (ODS => ACCDB) either.

kmcSack
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by kmcSack »

Thanks for the reply CaptainKirksChair.
From your response, there's good option to use linux and MS Excel.

I that case, what do you do? Do you switch between Windows and Linux depending on the task you need to complete?

mediclaser
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by mediclaser »

LibreOffice Calc has macros which can use Python or Basic (similar to VBA) and LibreOffice Base which looks similar to MS Access.
If you're looking for a greener Linux pasture, you won't find any that is greener than Linux Mint. ;)

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by bertradio »

Another option is to run Excel under Crossover. I have the whole MS Office 2016 package running under Crossover and with the exception of some small things in Access it works very well. That way you can run Excel on your Linux box. I believe there's a free trial of Crossover and you can see how it works.

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AZgl1500 »

LibreOffice's macro capabilities are IMO worthless.

I cannot create a new macro and assign it a kybd shortcut.
I have given up with trying to do anything really useful with LibreOffice.

it is better than OpenOffice, but not much.

I tried a couple of the Office look alikes, but they are worthless when it comes to VBA and macros.

I am of the opinion that until someone actually recognizes that we need a full implementation of Excel on Linux, that we will continue to dual boot, or run two PCs side by side. I am keeping my 10 year old Win7 desktop exactly for this reason, plus, TurboTax will not run on anything except Windows, and I refuse to use TT in the cloud... I want the program loaded onto my PC, and I want all of the documents created stored on my PC.....

I have 10 years of old TurboTax installs still working on my desktop PC....
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CaptainKirksChair
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by CaptainKirksChair »

AZgl1500 wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:55 pm
LibreOffice's macro capabilities are IMO worthless.
+10

Sorry, but VBA is superior to any other macro language. It is easy to learn and read, very powerful, great interaction with the operating system, pretty much everything. And you can use VB Scripts to interact with Excel from outside of Excel and do damn near everything you can do from the GUI.
I cannot create a new macro and assign it a kybd shortcut.
I have given up with trying to do anything really useful with LibreOffice.
With LibreOffice Calc automation. It's still a useful spreadsheet but not an automated spreadsheet.
I tried a couple of the Office look alikes, but they are worthless when it comes to VBA and macros.
Yep. See above.
I am of the opinion that until someone actually recognizes that we need a full implementation of Excel on Linux, that we will continue to dual boot, or run two PCs side by side. I am keeping my 10 year old Win7 desktop exactly for this reason, plus, TurboTax will not run on anything except Windows, and I refuse to use TT in the cloud... I want the program loaded onto my PC, and I want all of the documents created stored on my PC.....

I have 10 years of old TurboTax installs still working on my desktop PC....
+100

Me too.

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by kmcSack »

Wow, thanks for the responses!
I guess I'm at a bit of an impasse with Linux as an OS for work. Its too bad. Everything else seems to work fine, or better. I enjoy the control I have over my OS rather than being a mere user.

I wonder what limitations a virtual machine has and if it would perform like a live Windows system. My guess is there are limitations and it won't perform as well. :(

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Pierre
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by Pierre »

YES - - it's a bit of an impasse at Times:
- - you wish to leave Microsoft Windows because of it's propriety coding methods,
and yet you still meed to use Microsoft Office, together with it's propriety coding methods.
:(

in all reality, you would need to spend, nearly as much Time, in converting any macros,
from the Excel propriety coding method, over to the Libre Office propriety coding method,
- as you did when you first created those Excel macros.
:roll:

and Power Users who are using Microsoft Word - - have the same issue.

The Answer :?: it's neither easy or obvious.
- run Microsoft Office in ./wine using Crossover or PlayOnLinux
- convert everything over to Libre Office
:?
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AZgl1500 »

kmcSack wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:50 pm
Wow, thanks for the responses!
I guess I'm at a bit of an impasse with Linux as an OS for work. Its too bad. Everything else seems to work fine, or better. I enjoy the control I have over my OS rather than being a mere user.

I wonder what limitations a virtual machine has and if it would perform like a live Windows system. My guess is there are limitations and it won't perform as well. :(
IF, the host machine has oodles of RAM, you can run Linux on the Windows PC under VirtualBox and switch between the two OSs with a mouse click. I am doing that.

you will need to set up file sharing as bi-directional so that you can save a document in Linux to a file on the PC desktop ( other folder ), and then switch to Windows and read that file and do something with it.

My Linux laptop has 12gB RAM and 500gB SSD, and runs WindowsXP under VirtualBox almost as fast as it does on bare metal.
Last edited by AZgl1500 on Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AZgl1500
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AZgl1500 »

Here I have WinXP3 running on Linux 18.3 Cinnamon under VirtualBox,
increase the View Zoom ratio a bit, and look down under "Network"
click on the picture to see the raw image.
These are photographs of the laptop screen, not screenshots.


Image


Note that it can see the files on the Linux machine....

Now here, I have clicked on a JPEG file to open it from the Linux file and opened it in WinXP


Image
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kmcSack
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by kmcSack »

Thank you Pierre for the frank response. Based on your response and what everyone else is telling me, I know my options are slim to none. Thank you for getting to the point so I don't spend too much time beating a dead horse.

It seems AZgl1500 has the best possible solution.
AZgl1500: I am having trouble getting a VM setup...I think it has something to do with secure boot, not sure.
I'm running LM 19 Cinnamon, dual boot on my Surface pro 4. It sort of a rabbit hole. Research a fix for one error, get another error, research that etc..
I'll post if I get it fixed and if so, post my experience using excel, etc.

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AndyMH »

I've been a 'power user' of Excel for years (started using it in 1988) so there is no way I'm going to change horses at my age. Before I retired I earn't my living estimating the cost of very large projects using cost models built with excel (sometimes with lots of VBA). Also run a simulation package for excel called @Risk - quite demanding if you are running a sim with say 10k iterations. Still do a little work 'on the side' and I've got two solutions:
  • Bought crossover and installed office 2013
  • Run win7 in virtualbox running office 2016
I did upgrade the RAM to the max (16G) on my T430 so I could give win7 8G. Also changed the CPU from an i5 to an i7. Think some of this was 'gilding the lily', and it would probably have been perfectly adequate with the original i5 and 8G RAM.

My last company laptop was a Dell latitude E7240 running win 7 and office 2016. I would say that my T430 running win in VB is at least as fast the the dell.
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AZgl1500 »

kmcSack wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:12 pm
Thank you Pierre for the frank response. Based on your response and what everyone else is telling me, I know my options are slim to none. Thank you for getting to the point so I don't spend too much time beating a dead horse.

It seems AZgl1500 has the best possible solution.
AZgl1500: I am having trouble getting a VM setup...I think it has something to do with secure boot, not sure.
I'm running LM 19 Cinnamon, dual boot on my Surface pro 4. It sort of a rabbit hole. Research a fix for one error, get another error, research that etc..
I'll post if I get it fixed and if so, post my experience using excel, etc.
I feel sorry for you having to use that Surface Pro.

My friend up the street has one, and calls me to make it work for a new project.
to me, is a PITA to try and use.... you have to have modular this, to plug a modular that into 'this'.

to me, it is just a tablet and a poor one at that.
yet somehow, we managed to get it hooked up to a wireless 24" monitor, wireless keyboard, and a WiFi driven printer.
he likes it because he has a wood turning business and uses the tablet as a camera.

This is the website I designed for him, it is my one and only experience using WordPress

http://jimjamescreations.com/

this is one of his pieces of work
that is a wooden bowl turned on a knot in the tree.

Image
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by lsemmens »

Sadly, it looks like you will be stuck with M$ Orifice for a few more years. Calc is a viable alternative to Excel...BUT... VBA will not readily port without some serious massaging. i.e. rewriting large blocks of code. Same with Werd - I have a 500 odd page document that relied heavily on custom Formattting, using VBA, Style sheets and custom styles. It took me months of re-work to approach the polish that I had using Word, it's still not quite there. I had a similar Excel Spreadsheet that I have all but abandoned because I do not have the time to "fix" it. Access - there IS no alternative. You will find that Base is not even in the same city, let alone ballpark, as Access. I ended up with a work around using another project and re-entering thousands of records one at a time just to start off. The only viable alternative to Access is one of the SQL variants out there. Good luck with that because you'll not be able to re-use VBA on that, and you'll need to learn SQL along with another language for the front end.

It might be viable to use M$ Office using Wine but I've not tried it, so cannot advise any further. Good luck with what ever path you choose to follow.
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AZgl1500 »

I tried Wine on 18.3 and was disappointed with the results, it refused to load up Office 2003
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AndyMH »

it refused to load up Office 2003
I'm surprised, because office 2007 is okay, or least the important bits - word and excel.
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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by Gaugamela »

Unfortunately, for really advanced use LibreOffice is not a viable alternative to Microsoft Office. Especially in your case.
Even Office via Crossover is not advisable because only the big three modules are usually tested and more advanced functionalities might not work...

If you want to move to Linux but keep using Microsoft Office I recommend using a VM to load up MSO in Windows.

LibreOffice is good enough for home users, or users that don't require advanced functionalities.
I would consider Writer as superior to Word, but Calc is way behind Excel and Impress is put to shame by Powerpoint. The LO devs to an admirable job but it's hard to keep with the vast resources of Microsoft. And they know that Office is their bread winner.

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by kmcSack »

Well, thank you all! Even though there’s no perfect solution to pairing Linux and Excel (for my needs), I still love them both. I am going to try setting up a Windows VM but to do it right I’ll need to purchase another copy of Windows. That won’t happen for a little while so I’ll have to sit tight.

AZgl1500, I love my Surface, but yes, it’s a major pain. It’s versatility is great. I move around a lot and work in different locations... and from home. I’ve set it up with a dock with Dual 27” monitors at my main office. Then when I’m somewhere else, I can use it like a laptop. Other times I use it as a tablet while I’m on my feet (take inventory in the warehouse, run to the bosses office and need to take a quick note or show him a pretty graph).
However it’s been a love hate relationship. Once, something went haywire and the keyboard settings kept changing, despite my resetting them back to regular defaults. At the same time, the dock just stopped working and only solutions I found said to buy a new one. It took whiping the drive and rebuilding. But after that, all was well! Until recently. The device won’t connect to the battery. The battery is fine, but the device won’t charge the it or switch over to battery power when unplugged. So now I can only use it plugged in and be careful not to disconnect the charging cable! Microsoft said my only option is trade it in and pay $450 to get a new one.
For the price point, I expect more.

Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate the feedback!

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Re: LibreOffice Calc Vs. Excel for Excel Power Users

Post by AZgl1500 »

My friend is on this 3rd Surface, all replaced under "Extended Warranty".
as it contains all of his business, he must keep it insured.

I keep it backing up to a 2nd hard drive when it gets plugged in locally.
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