Switching rows and columns

There’s a third kind of “paste special” that I haven’t discussed yet — transposing. When you paste transposed, you’re switching the rows and columns with each other. The cell in C1 (3rd column, 1st row) swaps places with cell A3 (1st column, 3rd row), and cells that are along the diagonal (A1, B2, C3, etc.) stay where they are. Continue reading Switching rows and columns

Pasting as text: Basic how-to

A while ago I explained why you might want to paste as values, and how to do it in various programs using the “paste special” options.

Another possibility with “paste special” is pasting as text. This isn’t quite the same as pasting as values. When you paste as values, the program assumes you’re pasting into a spreadsheet from a spreadsheet. Pasting as text, however, is designed to paste into a spreadsheet from a word processor, or a web page, or pretty much anything else. Continue reading Pasting as text: Basic how-to

Exporting files

The flip side of importing files is, of course, exporting them.

In some ways, importing files from another format is easier. If you mess it up, you know right away. With exporting, however, you won’t know until you try to open it in the other program whether it worked or not. However, if the program you’re trying to open it in can’t recognize and convert the format you’ve currently got it in, then exporting is the only way to go. Continue reading Exporting files

Importing files

In honor of my NCLA presentation I’m going to talk this week about something that I’d previously mentioned, but not addressed: importing files from other formats.

I talked previously about comma separated (CSV) and tab delimited values. These formats come up more often than you’d think. As a librarian I encounter them when trying to download information from an electronic resource like North Carolina’s Economic Development Intelligence System, and on the personal/household side I see them when I want to download my credit card transaction history.

Also, what if you have a file that was created in Open Office Calc (.ods) or Microsoft Works (.wks/.xlr) and you only have Excel (.xls/.xlsx) on your system? Or vice-versa? There’s a lot of different ways this could happen, ranging from friends/coworkers to borrowed/updated computers.

Fortunately, most programs make it pretty easy to import any sort of file they recognize as a valid format. Continue reading Importing files