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DIY: Resolve formatting issues in LibreOffice Calc

If you use LibreOffice's spreadsheet application Calc, Jack Wallen's answers to a reader's problems with cell and default date formatting might help you, too.

LibreOffice continues to gain popularity and momentum; I'm getting more and more questions about the office suite. This excerpted question from reader Mike Jacobs might help some of you who use Calc.

Q: I've made some diabetic table templates in Writer. Table consists of the usual date, and etc. However my first problem is anytime I update a cell (especially date cell) the left alignment always automagically changes to right or even bottom right. One single character and it changes after clicking to the next cell. Any ideas how to fix this alignment issue?

I also have one other question. Though I'm sure it's in the libre preferences somewhere. The date likes to display what it wants rather than what I want. Example: I would like it to say April 11, 2012 but Libre always changes it to 04/11/12. Any ideas here?

A: As for your first question, that's probably an issue of formatting. A lot of times people will just add data into cells when the entire column of cells is formatted to a specific alignment. You can change the alignment of one or more of those cells, but it doesn't change the format of the entire column. If you click the Column header (above the very top cell - it will be labeled with a letter) to select the entire column and then you set the alignment, that alignment shouldn't change. If it does, there could be an issue with your template or even a conditional formatting.

Regarding the second portion of your question, you need to set the default date format in Calc. To do this click Tools | Options and then expand the LibreOffice Calc section. Within this newly expanded section, you will see a listing for Calculate. Click that entry, and then select which default date format you want.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)

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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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