Range selection and cursor

There is a slight tweak I’ve made in how Calc makes a range selection and how it places the cursor during selection. The old behavior was that the cursor always moves with the tip of the selection, as you can see in the following screenshot:

In the new selection behavior, the cursor stays at its original position while the selection is being made, as follows:

Aesthetically, the difference between the old and new behaviors is subtle, and probably is subject to personal preference. What makes a big difference is when editing multiple cells by first making a selection via shift-arrow, then editing them one by one within that selection by using the ENTER or TAB key to navigate through them. Or when copying & pasting a range of cells via keyboard, by first making a selection to copy, then moving the cursor to a destination cell to paste. Power users tend to do this, and they are being put off by how Calc places the cursor always at the “end” of the selection. In their mind, the current cursor placement is “wrong”.

Competitively speaking, the new behavior is what most other spreadsheet applications behave (Excel, Gnumeric and GoogleDoc, in particular). So, there is also a benefit in keeping it consistent with the rest of the spreadsheet applications, to make it easier to migrate power users to Calc.

5 thoughts on “Range selection and cursor”

  1. Hello kohei,

    Thanks a lot for your work.
    I have been reading your blog since way ago and I think OOo Calc is really shaping up better :-)

    About improving furthermore Calc I would like to suggest a feature request.

    In my opinion, at present, the option to drag with the mouse a single cell is really “strange” and a bit difficult to use.

    I read there are many ways to do such a thing but all of them are different from what you are supposed to do with Microsoft Excel or Gnumeric.
    With these two softwares you move your mouse cursor near the cell border and you drag the cell wherever you like.
    In my view, with Calc is really complicated to do the same thing…

    Strangely enough, with Calc, when you wish to drag many cells you can do this by simply moving your mouse cursor on their border and drag them subsequently (the Excel and Gnumeric way…).

    To sum up, with Calc, the two ways are not even consistent…

    Best regards,


  2. Hello Silvio,

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. That behavior has been bothering me as well. It makes no sense at all to not allow a simple dragging of a single cell the way Excel or Gnumeric does.

    I’ll look into how difficult it is to support that. I don’t have an exact time-line yet, but I’ll keep this in the back of my mind.



  3. Hi Kohei:

    As a complete newcomer to Open Office and Calc, this issue is the first one I had. Asked for help in the newbie forum. Was told I had to live with it for now. But was referred to the issue# where I saw you had developed a patch.

    Compliments to you for your activity on this issue, and your ability to develop a patch. First time I had a chance to see how open source works. It is not unlike politics. Even though the issue is obvious and the solution without cost (your patch) it seems to be a lengthy proposition to get it adopted.

    I saw your very long (to me) patch in plain text. Naturally, it is all Greek (or should I say Japanese?) to me. Do you have any suggestion as to how a semi computer illiterate could apply your patch to his copy of Calc? Or should I post this question in the newbie forum?

    John Chabot

  4. Hi John,

    The solution I would recommend is for you to try out the Go-OO variant of OpenOffice, which has all my patches included many of which have yet to find their way to the upstream code base. You can download it from here [ http://go-oo.org/download ]. If you need a commercial support, OpenOffice Novell Edition is based on Go-OO, hence has this patch incorporated. So, picking one of these two variants would work for you.

  5. Hi Kohei:

    Thank you so much for your quick reply and for your individual work.
    You are most gracious to share with the rest of us.
    I have not downloaded yet, but will be doing so sometime this week.
    I am assuming all patches are explained with the download.


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