OpenOffice is the open-source, free alternative to Microsoft Office. It includes a spreadsheet function called "OpenOffice Calc," similar to Microsoft Excel. While a spreadsheet can be very powerful as a single-user application, the ability to export an interactive spreadsheet to an online website allows public interaction. For example, you could gather information from collaborators on a single spreadsheet by making it interactive online. Or you could create a "mini-application" that performs a calculation based on data input by the website viewer. OpenOffice Calc can export a spreadsheet as a PDF or HTML file, which could be embedded in a website, but this solution would not be interactive. For a free, relatively simple, and fully interactive solution, you must combine OpenOffice Calc with Google Docs.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- OpenOffice spreadsheet
- Google account
Create and save the spreadsheet using OpenOffice Calc. The final embedded online interactive spreadsheet should be able to take on simple cell values as well as most functions, though some complex features of OpenOffice Calc might not work in Google Docs. When you save the spreadsheet, use the default ".ods" extension, or choose the Mircrosoft Excel ".xls" extension. Google Docs imports both of these spreadsheet types, as well as many others.
Log in to your Google Docs account (see Resources link). At the top left, click "Upload," and follow the prompts to upload the spreadsheet you just created. It will open in a new window or tab, where you can view or modify it. Verify that everything looks and works correctly.
Publish your spreadsheet by clicking "Share" in the top right corner, then "Publish as a web page." A dialogue box will come up with options to publish. Set the drop-down selector under "Get a link to the published data" to "HTML to embed in a page." It will generate the code you need to embed the spreadsheet on our website. Whenever a visitor makes changes on the interactive spreadsheet on your website, they will be updated in real time.
Tips and warnings
- You can set different permissions for different people to edit the spreadsheet.
- You can choose to publish the whole spreadsheet as its own page with its own url.
- Google Docs does not currently offer the ability to lock specific cells, meaning anyone with edit permissions can change your spreadsheet however they wish. Another option is to use Zoho Sheets, another online documents service that works very similarly to Google Docs, but Zoho Sheets allows you to lock your formula cells. Changes on an embedded form are not saved as they are in Google Docs.
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