If you've ever tried to use the CONCATENATE function in
Microsoft Excel to merge the values in a range of cells, you know it doesn't work unless you add each cell to the function, one by one.
You might have noticed the following message in the support article for CONCATENATE:
Important: In Excel 2016, Excel Mobile, and Excel Online, this function has been replaced with the CONCAT function. Although the CONCATENATE function is still available for backward compatibility, you should consider using CONCAT from now on. This is because CONCATENATE may not be available in future versions of Excel.
Meet the alternatives: CONCAT and TEXTJOIN
for CONCAT and TEXTJOIN:
Note: This feature is not available in Excel 2016 unless you have an Office 365 subscription. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office.
While it is admirable that Microsoft is finally fixing some of the idiosyncrasies of its software, I fear the future will bring a level of fragmentation unseen since the office 2003 to 2007 switch.
In an enterprise environment, LibreOffice Calc is a poor substitute for Excel for anything beyond relatively simple spreadsheets. And if, like most companies, you already have invested in highly complex Excel spreadsheets you're going to have one hell of a time convincing management to even try to allocate the resources needed to port them to Calc.
In the corporate world Microsoft has a stranglehold. There's just too much time invested in MS Office to make it in any way practical to move everyone to something that will require retraining all their employees, especially when you end up with a platform that is roughly equivalent to Office 2003.
office 2003 is the best version
Indeed, the best thing would be really to just not buy into it to begin with.
IMHO, the real reason that MS is converting to SAAS is that it makes it harder for people to migrate away as they can't just refuse to stop buying new versions that are an easier target. The extra money is probably not much of a disincentive either.
> LibreOffice Calc is a poor substitute for Excel for anything beyond relatively simple spreadsheets
I keep hearing this, and it sounds like perfect FUD. Microsoft shills are always saying vague, scary sounding stuff exactly like this. Where's the evidence? The bug reports? Admit it, it's M$ propaganda. There might even be a tiny bit of truth to it, but wildly exaggerated. For instance, if "relatively simple" means anything less than a billion cells, and LibreOffice can handle that, while Excel can handle a billion plus another few thousand, I could see M$ trumpeting that 0.0001% greater capacity in a deceptive and misleading manner. But, if a spreadsheet is that freaking huge, you're better off using a database anyway.
One thing we can count on is that LibreOffice will never force users onto a costly upgrade treadmill. CONCATENATE "may not be available in future versions", okay, there can be good reasons for that. But the replacement is not available unless you subscribe to their SAAS scam? WTF??
The only problem I've had is that Libreoffice refuses to take information from a table from my browser and paste correctly. It insists upon making it a single column or putting too much into a single cell.
It's hardly an insurmountable problem, but it's really annoying to have to manually separate things into columns that should be automatically done.
I've noticed that with some tables you need to use paste special.
...Libreoffice refuses to take information from a table from my browser and paste correctly.
I have the same problem with Excel. I thought it was just part of the human condition.
I can list several areas where Libreoffice works far better than excel. Some of them are insanely dumb things that Excel does with TSV format importing and the like:
1. If you associate the TSV extension with excel in order to automatically open them in excel, doing so does NOT bring up the same import dialog (for example to verify the column data types etc) that you get with File -> Open. When it gets that wrong it can do irreparable things to the data and you're screwed. For example I've seen ids that happened to be HEX strings loose all the leading zeros because they get treated as numbers. The only work around is to save it first. Libreoffice does NOT have this issue.
2. For whatever reason, if any data in a cell of a TSV file happens to have the text "<?xml" anywhere in the data, excel refuses to open the TSV saying that it's in some other format than the extension. I mean holy hell...the TSV format basically amounts to "columns are delimited by tabs...rows are delimited by newlines". You could write a parser for that in 5 minutes. What are they doing? Again, Libreoffice doesn't have this issue.
3. When exporting from excel when using the English U.S. locale, they do NOT offer the single most convenient date/time format...that is YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss. The ONLY means of getting that option is to switch to some other locale...I think English GB has it for example. Again...not an issue with Libreoffce.
One I recall from many many years ago that may now be fixed(?) was that exporting an XLS format spread sheet to TSV in cases where cells of the XLS contained new lines, did NOT convert the newlines in the data to spaces (which the archaic OpenOffice of the time did) obviously resulting in a broken useless pile of crap with erroneous row delimiters.
I tend to think a lot of this sort of behavior is intentional, because it tends to be related to using the data with other...God forbid...possibly non-MS software. Excel is a flaming POS.
"associate the TSV extension with excel"
How did you do this in Windows 10? So far I have completely failed to be able to do so. It shows TSV in the known file extension list but nothing can be associated with it.
Actually I haven't myself but I believe coworkers of mine have. I use almost nothing but Linux and don't even have office installed on my only Windows system. It should just be a matter of right-clicking a TSV file and choosing "open with" and selecting to use that as teh default. However I seem to read a LOT of posts where Excel simply isn't an option there with no resolution at all...typical MS and a reminder of why I use Linux frankly. If I find out any specifics I'll post back.
> if a spreadsheet is that freaking huge, you're better off using a database anyway.
Exactly! And yet in practice instead of a database lots of us are stuck with excel.
if a spreadsheet is that freaking huge, you're better off using a database anywayExactly! And yet in practice instead of a database lots of us are stuck with excel.
if a spreadsheet is that freaking huge, you're better off using a database anyway
Becaus PHBs (almost) understand spreadsheets.
For instance, if "relatively simple" means anything less than a billion cells, and LibreOffice can handle that, while Excel can handle a billion plus another few thousand, ....
I think you've stumbled across another reason we don't see a lot of these Excel to Calc conversions. In a lot of these business cases, Excel is not the proper tool for the job in the first place.
So when you finally decide to replace these Excel solutions you realize a database is actually the proper tool and migrate to that instead of just another spreadsheet.
I think you've stumbled across another reason we don't see a lot of these Excel to Calc conversions. In a lot of these business cases, Excel is not the proper tool for the job in the first place.So when you finally decide to replace these Excel solutions you realize a database is actually the proper tool and migrate to that instead of just another spreadsheet.
I think you've stumbled across another reason we don't see a lot of these Excel to Calc conversions. In a lot of these business cases, Excel is not the proper tool for the job in the first place.
*We* know that. You also know that business uses spreadsheets as a common denominator across multiple departments with a gradual learning curve. Maybe a database-backed spreadsheet would see some adoption?
Well yeah, cause "We" are the ones who get called in for the replacement when Excel finally becomes too painful to maintain.
I've replaced a LOT of spreadsheets in my career and it's never been with a different spreadsheet.
I somehow overlooked the "finally replace" part in your text. That totally makes sense.
Total FUD. I've been dealing with databases and data entry for damn near 30 years now. My first spreadsheet software was VisiCalc on an Apple II, and then on the Apple IIe. I remember getting a 286 PC and started using Lotus 123 in the early 80s (I still miss Lotus). I've been with Excel since it started in Windows, and then developed entire niche CRM platforms in Access when it came around in the mid 90's.
The super complicated stuff they're probably referring to is integration in Excel with other M$ products (like the aforementioned Access), and the light form of Visual Basic programming they had under the hood. ActiveX controls, and shit like that. It was with an ActiveX control that I authored an Excel spreadsheet capable of using a modem to dial out, call a line, retrieve some info using DTMF tones, and then update the spreadsheet for the suits. At that point, I'm hard pressed to believe it is still a spreadsheet and not some Frankenstein'd native app cobbled together using Excel like an IDE. If you are really using Excel like a database, then you are using lookup functions. Haven't tried the equivalent (because I can create an actual ACID compliant database in 5 mins) in LibreOffice, but I'm sure that it is there. Heck, there are functions in Excel that allowed you to look up data in M$ SQL servers. Yes, if you are using Excel like a front end for a different database, also based in M$, then LibreOffice may not be for you as you are too vendor locked (and therefore fucked). It's not a real apples to apples comparison.
Having extensively used Excel as a prep tool for data entry, I can with a high degree of confidence say that LibreOffice is actually better at it. I started with OpenOffice first too, and found I wanted to use it more than Excel. At that point, Excel was retired, and that was close to 10 years ago now? Damn time flies.
Copying and pasting data from different tables and fields, from browsers and other apps, into LibreOffice Calc causes it to pop-up dialog box asking how to parse it. Excel 2007 (latest I've used) required opening the document, and you had to go out of your way to get to where you could control the parsing. Excel also mangled data fields a lot. A lot. LibreOffice does it less. I think one time, just once, my problems with LibreOffice were so bad that I needed to use Excel 2007 instead. That's once out of hundreds of different data entry jobs.
The vast majority of spreadsheets that move beyond the "relatively simple" belong in a database anyways. Why they continue to be in a spreadsheet program is also very simply to explain; Spreadsheet programs are natively better front end tools for data than a transactional database manipulated with SQL statements. Which is the greatest reason I still use it for prep work, and that is front end tools for databases need to made, and not all of them are so great at importing data and manipulating it.
By far, the biggest problems I've had with Libreoffice Calc vs Microsoft Excel is Calc's occasional, hit-and-miss incompatibility with Excel's VBA support and associated functions.
...which sort of makes sense, because they are two different programs. But not being able to take a VBA macro written for Excel and drop it in Calc and go, is a pretty big show-stopper to any organization with a LOT of time and effort invested in VBA macros.
organization with a LOT of time and effort invested in VBA macros
organization with a LOT of time and effort invested in VBA macros
In the corporate world . . . too much time invested
It's not the corporate world that paid all that time. This is one of the things that really burn me up about Microsoft, governments, and education. For longer than my sons have been alive, the schools have been teaching stuff that they call "computer science". In actuality, they were busy building that Microsoft capture. Every kid who has graduated high school in the past 30 years of so has been at least moderately competent on Microsoft products - but they know Jack-shit about anything else.
Of course most corporations can't afford to correct a shit education. They are now stuck with inferior students from an inferior education system who only know how to us Microsoft Excel. Interestingly enough, those students really believe that a MS spreadsheet is the solution to EVERYTHING !!
As a LO user for years (started with version 2.x or OpenOffice) I have to say that you are right in some part.LO Calc is poor replacement for Excel if it comes to data analysis. It is just impossible to open any larger file with data (>100000 records) without clogging memory extensively and having large delays. Removing rows in such file is an awful experience, and because devs have a top-grade processors with server-like amounts of RAM this is not a problem. This is what itches me the most as I frequently deal with measurements results.Although significant effort is made in this field, the "curse of Agnubis" as I call it, is still present in some cases. The name is from Agnubis, the experimental FOSS presentation software which had a very interesting save feature (available as a patch): It dumped a whole state of program as a file. The problem was that restoring of such state, as not all objects were configured and "registered" during load, was problematic and frequently did not return all changes. Well, that was probably the last version of Agnubis :). LO tends to "forget" cropped image positions, linked areas, sometimes even text flow properties. Because this happens in larger documents, it's not taken as a bug.For dev who invented that putting uneditable defaults in "normal" template is a good idea I recommend to work in a more suitable field, which does not require thinking about future actions.Although Calc, Writer and Impress are indeed usable in a simple tasks and they may replace Office in home/small company environment, the Draw and Base are not. SVG exported by Draw is worse than HTML exported by MS Word.And the Base. It looks like an ordinary user who wants to make a small relational database of his stuff needs to pay for a server and hire a geek to do it in C++, Python or similar language. Base is a perfect example how to waste a good software by using lots of libraries for the same thing, which has impact on stability and memory usage. And Base is done without any thinking about how it will be used. This is a database, there will be macros everywhere! And in Base lots of normal things like opening system windows requires complex hacks which are more exploit-like.
And if, like most companies, you already have invested in highly complex Excel spreadsheets you're going to have one hell of a time convincing management to even try to allocate the resources needed to port them to Calc.
That's always been the claim, but in the examples I've seen almost invariably the spreadsheets were complex only because they were so poorly designed in the first place. Usually they were the product of a single individual entrenched in their position, and I often wondered if the spreadsheets were so muddled solely to make the creator look more irreplaceable.
There's just too much time invested in MS Office to make it in any way practical to move everyone to something that will require retraining all their employees,
Another common claim that does not hold up. Most users would hardly know the difference, especially if you changed the Excel icon on their desktop to link to LibreOffice. They might put it off to another upgrade, ask a few questions if they can't find something, but few would require significant if any retraining.
LibreOffice Calc is a poor substitute for Excel for anything beyond relatively simple spreadsheets
You're half right, but mainly wrong.
The business users I work with will happily make intricate webs of office files, add in some macro-recorded VB jibberish to them and have it "just the way they want". You can't stick a LibreOffice file in the middle of that and expect it to work so you're right there.
You pretty much however, can in fact replicate the same end output using LibreOffice - but it is done differently, and that's the sticking point. Users aren't prepared to learn to do some of those tasks again in a different way. It's People Change Management, not software functionality so much.
The company I work for changed to Google Suit (though we still use MS Office, especially Excel, as needed). In the first year, Everyone hated Google Sheets. In the second year, more and more people were happily trading some of the scripting functionality for the collaboration offered by Sheets. Now, most of the files are Google Sheets based. Yes, there are some hold-outs (In finance and in planning) but even there, folks are shifting over.
An enterprise environment doesn't NEED Office. It just needs a tool to enable the business users to communicate with one another. As more learn to do that via other solutions (while also becoming more generally tech savvy) the less reliance there is on a single product.
>And if, like most companies, you already have invested in highly complex Excel spreadsheets
like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall
Not migrating to openoffice/libreoffice/some math package/pyspread/business object environments like pharo as a mere backup/alternative means most companies simply think the only tool they have is the best for the job. Good luck to them.
It's a matter of employee training and experience. There is a steep learning curve associated with moving off a platform like MS Office which has an existing knowledge base in the corporate world. The man hours lost trying to train and maintain employees on an unfamiliar system, the vast majority of whom are technically unskilled, is far higher than simply paying the troll for MS Office that everyone already knows.
For example, the city of Munich made headlines when they said they were dumping windows and ms office for linux and libreoffice. It took them TEN YEARS to make the transition and after 3 years they ended up dumping it all and went back to windows. Opensource software is great in the backend server world, but on the client side Microsoft still reins, warts and all.
> after 3 years they ended up dumping it all and went back to windows.No, somebody else did. Politicians get elected and subbed.
=concatenate(A1:C8) does just what you'd expect (which might, possibly, even be a useful thing.)
Does Libreoffice have a comparable feature that would do the job and work better than Excel feature? Libreoffice can work well, and can be used for generate Office documents. However, I have heard that there are still some corner cases and features of Office that Libreoffice does not support.
LibreOffice has both, although strangely, =CONCATENATE expects you to enter each cell individually, separated by commas, while =CONCAT will happily accept a range of cells. Both just skip over empty cells though if you try to add 'em in.
I don't know what use cat has in a math context but an empty cell sounds equivalent to an empty string so "skipping" the cell sounds identical to "concatenating" the cell.
Sounds like LibreOffice Calc's CONCATENATE is designed to match Excel's by name for compatibility. Maybe I missed something?
Nice FUD there, bud. "Some vauge edge case that I will not mention. Better stay away from non-MS products!"
I guess he just means the programs are not 1:1 bug for bug. Which would be nearly impossible anyways but might theoretically warrant mentioning for completeness.
If somebody has not tried LibreOffice in 2018, then they deserve the Micro$oft offering. :)
What will become of us? I'm sure, like everyone else here, Excel is my default tool of choice for combining text strings - I cannot conceive of how I will cope without the CONCATENATE function!
In other news I also iron my clothes with a hammer.
My word processor of choice is MS Paint.
You can type text with it. Erase it. Re-arrange portions of text. Far superior to typewriter and paper. How did we ever do without such an amazing tool!
And it's best feature: it's made by the default vendor, Micro$oft!
Why would anybody ever change default settings?!!!1 Insane!
I've found it incredibly convenient for one offs when I have a list of strings that I need to manipulate quickly. I'm actually seriously pissed off about this.
Looks like I'm going to have to familiarize myself with LibreOffice, or maybe get a regex tool.
I've done some regex, but it can definitely get convoluted quickly. I've used LibreOffice and MS Office over the years and they both have worked well enough for me. I don't buy it myself, but when it's on your work computer it's simpler to just use MS Office. I keep hearing how you can't do everything in LibreOffice that you can in MS Office, but I've yet to come across a Must Have feature that isn't in LibreOffice. I'm guessing it's more of a "I don't want to learn something that may be slightly inferior" as opposed to a "this won't work" kind of thing. I can see why they wouldn't want to change, where people have been using MS Office for their entire working career and are used to certain things. Then there's the other side of the coin. Should you even be using a spreadsheet to track the data you're tracking? At a certain point, a spreadsheet becomes a lot more complicated and less useful than a database.
Tell me about it. Oh yes, people are really good at adapting existing tools to do things they were never iTentended for, such as using a spreadsheet as a database. And then things get more and more convoluted... they continue to push the boundaries farther and farther until something finally breaks, and then they're shocked and frustrated and blame the "crappy" system instead of accepting that they made a poor choice to begin with. :P
Why don't you just use the concatenation operator? =CONCATENATE(A1,B2,C3) gives you the same results as =A1&B2&C3
Considering what a pain it is to do those things outside of a spreadsheet on Windows, it's a pretty big deal. On *NIX systems you can concat manually using the included tools if you so choose. A bit of a pain, but you can do that stuff via script if you need to.
On Windows, it's possible, but it doesn't appear there's one tool, you wind up having to use a lot of different ones to do the job.
This is just the next nail in the coffin of "old fashioned" software that didn't require a subscription.
I'm WAY more worried about people sending me spreadsheets with CONCAT and TEXTJOIN functions that a perfectly functional copy of Office 2003 can't open, let alone 2007/10 or 2016 unsubscribed (if there is such a thing). Well, I would be, if I weren't required to have an Office 365 subscription that is provided at no additional cost to me.
And there's no way I couldn't be convinced that MS could not have relatively easily created a patch for Excel 2016 for this. This is just the next step in rent seeking.
And Microsoft WILL get away with it. Because those who are in a position to stop such idiotic behavior won't do so - not just Microsoft but Enterprise customers who feel they don't have an alternative. And no, for such people they do not see free software as a viable alternative. Just getting used to ";" instead of "," is enough for them. The place paying for my Office 365 subscription is one of them. I still keep my copy of OpenOffice and keep it current and try to use it once in awhile, because I have no illusions that when my gravy train ends I'm not rewarding Microsoft for the predatory behavior that is SAAS. But yes, Microsoft will make this stick, and somewhere down the road when these functions get good traction in enough spreadsheets (which Microsoft will know because it will telemeter the usage of the function) they'll remove the CONCATENATE function from Office 365 and the planned obsolescence cycle will be complete.
"I still keep my copy of OpenOffice and keep it current and try to use it once in awhile, "
you should probably move to libreoffice...use your internet machine to understand why.
I agree, move to LibreOffice. LibreOffice is developing at faster pace. I also believe that many of the LibreOffice developers actually came from OpenOffice.
What are they using to edit PDFs?
Thanks. I'm always on the lookout to add good open source programs to my list of alternatives.
PDFedit [pdfedit.cz] is the default PDF editor that is pre-installed on our Windows builds,
Does it work with the FBAR PDF document? [treas.gov]
Before you say, just use the online tool ... the online tool is a one-shot affair. You can't start creating it, save it, then come back after a while. Instead, you have to sit down with all your data and complete it all in one session.
Like the other AC said...
Why did you take the time to go on a rant about Acrobat and then tout some magical open source product only to leave the name of it out? I call bullshit!
You've been able to buy Office 2016 as a stand alone product for quite some time. I was not aware of it being substantially different in most respects - there are a few differences like not including cloud storage (required for some features such as autosave). The article implies this feature will only be available with a subscription, and specifically mentions updates but only for subscribers.
[Eric Cartman as Ming Li, the Vietnamese prostitute] "Me charge you long time."
But Eric doesn't look so great in drag.
Have you seen Office 2016?
I have a similar message in MS Paint. It says it will be moving to the "Microsoft Store". Does that mean they'll charge for it? MS seems to be pushing microservices for the just that reason: they want to nickel and dime you for every little service.
What's next?: "Ctrl+V is no longer available, but you can rent it from MS-Store for just $9.95 a month."
Along with Ctrl+Alt+Del.
but how then will you reboot?
Easy, you buy a new PC.
Microsoft to Silently Remove the CONCATENATE Function from Excel, Offers Paid[-for] Alternative: CONCAT
You also had to pay for CONCATENATE, since you have to pay for Excel anyway.
I didn't even know about those CONCAT(ENATE) functions, I've always used the ampersand symbol to join text in Excel at work. I stick to LibreOffice on my personal machines (where I also use ampersand). Perhaps I've never had to do anything so complex that I needed to use the proper concatenate functions - ampersand has always worked, though I might use more scratch cells/columns for intermediate values for complex joining, which makes debugging easier than a single massive formula anyway.