ODS with formulas doesn't run in MS Office

theo.schmidt at wilhelmtux.ch theo.schmidt at wilhelmtux.ch
Sun Oct 20 06:42:42 UTC 2013

Hi all,

I have a programmed spreadsheet to publish and and am unsure how to 
procede regarding the format. I use the ODS format and only LibreOffice 
or OpenOffice are able to both run it and display all information. With 
Gnumeric the main part works OK, but some embedded vector drawings don't 

It is in this folder: http://data.umwelteinsatz.ch/T/en/Stonechat/

Microsoft Office (2010) displays the spreadsheet (also without drawings) 
but removes all the formulas, showing just the values, making the 
spreadsheet useless as a program. It makes no difference whether the 
ODF-Plugin from Sun 
is installed or not.

With the plugin installed, it is possible to to save in ODS with MS 
Office. So I tried making an XLS Version with Libre Office, opening it 
with MS Office, and saving in ODS. Now the formulas work, but the cell 
sizes are distorted so much that it is again useless.

I cannot understand why the (75 MB!!) plugin from Sun works so badly. 
Surely Sun had no motivation for this. Presumably Microsoft has a 
motivation for making ODS not work properly.

What would you do, give in to Microsoft and publish in XLS or XLSX?

I also posed this question on our local FSFE mailing list in 
Switzerland. Here people suggested to either be pragmatic, i.e. publish 
in an Excel-Format, or to rewrite the program in HTML with Javascript so 
that it will run in a browser.

I am not very happy with these answers. The first means that Microsoft 
won and we can forget ODF or at least ODS. The second would be good for 
"consuming" users, but make it next to impossible for them to make 
improvements to the program, something which is rather easy in a 
spreadsheet. In fact, it would be too difficult for me as well, so I 
would have to pay somebody to do this.

Any other suggestions?

Best, Theo Schmidt

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