Data in Gnumeric Cells

The purpose of a spreadsheet is to manipulate data and perform calculations on those data. In order to understand how to use Gnumeric, it is necessary to understand what types of data are available and how these types can be manipulated.

Because all of the data which are entered into a Gnumeric workbook can eventually be stored in a file, the file contents define the kinds of data which can be entered into the spreadsheet. A file contains:

  • metadata about the file contents,
  • global data for the workbook,
  • the actual data contents of each worksheet in the workbook.
The metadata include a brief document summary describing the file contents and include the settings applicable to the data contents, such as the settings for the printing of each sheet and any settings for automatically saving the file. The global data for the workbook include any names which are defined by the user and attributes, such as the protected status of the workbook and sheets. The actual data contained in the worksheets include the contents of the cells, both data and formatting, and other objects such as drawing and charts.

This chapter describes the information which can be stored in spreadsheet cells. This includes the five types of data which cells can contain and the formatting which can be applied to each cell. The chapter first describes the five data types available, then describes the formatting which can be performed on each cell, then explains how data can be inserted into a spreadsheet and finally describes how to copy and move data around a worksheet along with the transformations which can be performed as the data are moved. This chapter does not describe other types of data which can be stored in a spreadsheet such as drawing elements and graphs used to chart data. These are explained in later chapters.