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posted by martyb on Monday November 26 2018, @02:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the putting-it-all-together dept.

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


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.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by edIII on Monday November 26 2018, @09:29PM

    by edIII (791) on Monday November 26 2018, @09:29PM (#766628)

    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.

    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
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