Gnumeric is a spreadsheet, a computer program used to manipulate and analyze numeric data. Gnumeric can help you keep track of information in lists, organize numeric values in columns and rows, perform and update complex calculations by defining each step of the calculation and modifying particular steps subsequently, create and display or print graphical plots of data using bar plots, line graphs, pie charts or radar charts, implement complex optimization modeling or perform many other tasks involving numbers, dates, times, names or other data.

The features of Gnumeric make it versatile and powerful. The screenshot (picture) of Gnumeric shown in Figure 1-1 demonstrates the main program window and some of the features currently available.

Figure 1-1An example of what Gnumeric can do.

An example of Gnumeric, shrunk to fit in this document.

Gnumeric currently supports a full complement of calculation functions, formatting options, graph types and drawing options.

Gnumeric aims to be the best spreadsheet available. It has been developed over many years to become mature and mathematically correct. Gnumeric was created and is maintained by the GNOME project. This manual describes version 1.12 of Gnumeric.

Releases of Gnumeric in the 1.12 series have numbers starting with 1.12 but with extra numbers afterwards, such as 1.12.0 or 1.12.3. These are stable releases which are only changed with minor improvements and fixes for problems (bugs) in the program. These releases can be considered safe for use in a production environment.

The 1.13 series of releases are unstable releases meant for developer testing. If you want a stable release get the most recent release from the 1.12 series.

Goals of Gnumeric

Gnumeric is developed with a specific set of goals in mind.

  • Stability

    Gnumeric has undergone significant amounts of testing. A diverse group of users evaluates Gnumeric in a wide variety of environments. Testing workbooks are used to assess the mathematical correctness of the calculations and to validate the quality of the file importers.

  • Accuracy

    Calculating the correct answer is important, and Gnumeric has worked hard to surpass the competition. Recent reports indicate that it has done so.

  • File compatibility

    Transparent access and manipulation of files from other applications is vital in a modern office. The Gnumeric file format is simply compressed XML which can be decompressed using gunzip, the GNU gzip program's decompression utility, into text. Gnumeric can open files from several well known proprietary and free spreadsheets including MS Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, Applix, OpenOffice.org, Psion, Sylk, XBase, Oleo, PlanPerfect, Quattro Pro and HTML. Gnumeric can save files to several versions of the MS Excel file format and can save tables into LaTeX \longtable, HTML, and roff files. Gnumeric also benefits from a highly configurable text importer and exporter which ensures that data can be transferred smoothly, and allows new formats to be added easily as plug-in software routines.

  • Minimal cost of transition

    Learning new and unfamiliar interfaces is an expensive and frustrating process. Gnumeric attempts to present itself so that a user's familiarity with other applications will still apply and to offer new features in an intuitive manner.

  • Extensive feature set

    Gnumeric now has enough of the features that users expect in a spreadsheet to provide for the vast majority of user needs. However, new features are constantly being added. People often quote the statistic that most users only need 20% of the features of the software they use. This statistic does not mean that only 20% of the features are needed but, rather, that most users share a common need for 10% of the features and require distinct features for the rest of their work. Gnumeric attempts to provide full implementations of the features it offers, leaving features unimplemented until a robust and complete implementation exists.

  • Internationalization

    Gnumeric has been translated into 46 languages, and is being used by people around the globe with the symbols and date/monetary conventions appropriate for their local setting.

  • Scalability

    The core architecture is designed to ensure that Gnumeric can comfortably scale to moderately large loads (1 million cells) while remaining usable on older hardware.

  • Openness

    Gnumeric is free software in the sense of giving its users several freedoms related to the program including the freedoms to use, modify and redistribute the program. These freedoms are explained at the Free Software Foundation web site page on the philosophy of free software. In order to maintain these freedoms for everyone, certain restrictions are required which prevent anyone limiting these freedom for others. Gnumeric is therefore released under a particular license agreement; Gnumeric is licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL.

    One of the consequences of these freedoms, is that everyone can have access to the source code used to create Gnumeric. This code is explicitly maintained and documented to make it easy for anyone to modify in any way they choose. This makes it possible to modify the spreadsheet, write custom routines or extend Gnumeric for special needs.

The Gnumeric 1.13 Series of Releases for Developers

The Gnumeric 1.13 series of releases are developer releases. These releases are kept as stable as possible. However, each release in this series includes changes and improvements some of which may be quite large. These new changes may cause the program to crash and lose data. Do not use these releases if you cannot afford to lose any data or work. However, these releases include many new features that can be helpful. If you use this series, backup your data often, not just by saving files but by renaming them and checking that they can be reopened. If you experience mistakes or crashes while you are using this version, please report these using the GNOME project's bug reporting interface as detailed in Chapter 17 ― Reporting a Problem.

New features introduced in the Gnumeric 1.12 release series:

The 1.12 series of Gnumeric is primarily a port of Gnumeric to version 3 of the GTK library. It alos includes some other improvements over the versions in the 1.10 series.

  • Improved OpenDocument Format (ODF) support

    Both ODF import and export have been improved.

New features introduced in the Gnumeric 1.10 release series:

The 1.10 series of Gnumeric includes numerous improvements over the versions in the 1.8 series.

  • Adjustable Sheet Size

    Sheets are no longer restricted to 256 columns of 65536 rows.

  • Improved OpenDocument Format Import and Export

    Basic import and export support for the OpenDocument Format ("ODF") format was added, focussing on standard spreadsheet content and charts. Gnumeric also supports nearly all functions in the large group of functions in the current OpenFormula Draft.

  • Improved Microsoft OfficeOpenXML import and export

    Import and export of Office Open XML ("OOXML") format files was significantly improved.

  • New and Improved Graphs

    New plot types for surfaces and probability plots have been added. Moreover, when an axis is a date or time axis, reasonable places for tick marks will now be picked. Trend lines have also been improved

  • Conditional Formatting

    Gnumeric now supports conditional formatting of cells. Gnumeric's conditional formatting supports an arbitrary number of conditions.

  • Faster Evaluation

    Evaluation of some fairly common sheets with large numbers of calls to HLOOKUP, or similar functions, over the same database have been improved from “rather slow” to “instant”. Similar improvements have been implemented for farms of RANK or PERCENTILE calls.

  • Reduced Memory Usage

    The memory usage for large sheets has been decreased significantly.

  • Added Statistical Analysis Tools

    The statistical analysis tools have been improved and there are quite a few new ones, for example Kaplan Meier Estimates, Normality Tests, Principal Component Analysis, Sign Tests, improved Exponential Smoothing, various basic non-parametric tests, etc.

  • Improved Sheet Objects

    Support for sheet objects (lines, arrows, widgets, …) has been improved.

New features introduced in the Gnumeric 1.8 release series:

The 1.8 series of Gnumeric includes numerous improvements over the versions in the 1.6 series.

  • Improved .gnumeric and export

    Gnumeric now uses the faster SAX based parser by default for parsing .gnumeric files. The schema was improved and additional features were added.

  • Microsoft OfficeOpenXML import and export

    Basic import and export support for the Office Open XML ("OOXML") format was added, focussing on standard spreadsheet content. Charts and embedded objects are not yet supported.

  • New value formatting engine

    Improved compatibility and performance.

  • Use new Gtk based Printing

    The printing infrastructure was changed to use Gtk based printing instead of the deprecated libgnomeprint libraries.

  • Improved in-cell drop downs

    In cell validation lists, and improved finger feel for autofilters.

New features introduced in the Gnumeric 1.6 release series:

The 1.6 series of Gnumeric included numerous improvements over the versions in the 1.4 series.

  • Better Charting:

    Several new types of charts have been added, and many features, such as regression lines, have been added.

  • Improved Accuracy:

    While Gnumeric 1.4 was already the best available source for accuracy in statistical calculations, Gnumeric 1.6 is even better. We are continuing our behind-the-scenes cooperation with The R Project to make this happen. We have also added a new plugin supplying consistently named probability density, cumulative density, and reverse cumulative density functions to Gnumeric. The new function names mirror their R counterparts.

  • The Port to Microsoft Operating Systems

    Our "Windows" port is now mature enough for everyday use. We have improved the theming support of our custom widgets, so Gnumeric now looks and feels slightly more like a native application. The build might still have a few rough edges, but those are being worked on.

  • Right-to-Left Support:

    We now support right-to-left orientation of the sheets as well as for text within cells.

New features introduced in the Gnumeric 1.4 release series:

The 1.4 series of Gnumeric included numerous improvements over the versions in the 1.2 series.

  • The Port to Microsoft Operating Systems

    The port of the core of Gnumeric to the GTK+ libraries will enable the application to be run on the series of operating systems sold by Microsoft and colloquially known as "Windows".

  • Improved Analytics

    The analytical correctness of Gnumeric is a primary concern of the team. The precision and correctness of the analytics are constantly being evaluated and improved. Updated versions of the solver libraries (lp_solve and GLPK) were added.

  • Improved Charting

    The graphical system is improving rapidly with new types of graphs, such as radar plots. There is now support for error bars and additional styles. The plots also look significantly sharper on screen, and off thanks to some pixel tuning. The axes now support various mappings (logarithmic, inverse), and there are a wider selection of markers. There is also support for formatting individual points in a plot.

  • Rich Text In Cells

    The ability to use Rich Text has been added in this version. This allows a single cell to contain text with mixed formatting including bold, italic and other formats.

  • Improved Microsoft Excel Compatibility

    The file format used by the Microsoft Excel  spreadsheet is commonly used to exchange spreadsheet documents. The Gnumeric team spends a considerable effort reverse engineering that file format to ensure that Gnumeric can read and write files in that format. This release now supports all forms of 'array formula' and adds export support for charts, rich text, and images. More compatibility accelerator keys were added to simplify transition, and improve the finger feel. There is better support for hyperlinks.

  • Printing

    Using Pango throughout the printing subsystem improves the consistency between on screen and resulting paper.

  • Improved Analytics:

    This version of Gnumeric includes 470 sheet functions including all of the functions from the North American edition of Microsoft Excel 2000 (TM). This version also includes numerous new functions and statistical routines imported from the R statistical language, from the GNU Scientific Library, and from other sources. The random number generation has been updated to include Beta, Cauchy, Chi-Squared, Exponential power F, Gamma, Geometric, Laplace, Levy alpha-Stable Logarithmic, Logistic, Log-normal, Pareto, Rayleigh Rayleigh tail, T, Type I Gumbel, Type II Gumbel, Weibull Gaussian Tail, Landau, and Uniform integer distributions. The derivative valuation routines have been expanded to include Black-Scholes (and sensitivities), Garman Kohlhagen, Merton Jump Diffusion process, Bjerksund and Stensland (American options), Forward Starts, Simple and Complex Choosers, Exchange Options, options on future spreads, and most favourable state payouts. The solver has been improved with new linear and quadratic programming routines. There were improvements in the T-Test, Z-Test, and F-Test. More accuracy for GEOMDIST, BINOMDIST, BETADIST, BETAINV, FINV, CAUCHY, FDIST, FTEST, HYPGEOMDIST, ERF, FISHER, EFFECT, NOMINAL, MIRR, IRR, XNPV, NPV, PMT, RATE, PV, FV, IPMT, PPMT, ZTEST, EXPM1, LN1P.

  • Import/Export

    The xml exporter is now much faster and lighter for .gnumeric files, and the GNOME enabled Gnumeric supports gnome-vfs and drag-n-drop images and files.

  • GTK+ Port

    One of the principal aims of this developers series is to make Gnumeric work using only the GTK+ libraries. These libraries, following their 2.4.0 release, have all the functionality needed for the core of Gnumeric. This work will remove all dependencies in the core code on GNOME libraries although a version with the more complete features included in GNOME will still exist.

The 1.4.x release is dedicated to the memory of lost colleagues, Chema (Grandma) Celorio who helped make Gnumeric as stable as it is, and Mel Seder who kept us smiling. They'll be missed.

For more details on the changes in Gnumeric, refer to the file; named NEWS in the source code distribution.

Known Issues in Gnumeric:

The current list of all known and reported problems with Gnumeric is maintained in the GNOME bugzilla database. This list can be accessed using this bugzilla query.