OpenOffice Calc Review

Screenshot of OpenOffice Calc in Windows 8

OpenOffice Calc is a free spreadsheet program that comes bundled with the OpenOffice suite, which also includes a word processor, database, and presentation program. There may be some disadvantages to using OpenOffice Calc, but its huge set of features and functions make it a really nice spreadsheet program.​

The Pros

  • Works with common spreadsheet file formats
  • Automatic spell check as you type
  • Includes regular spreadsheet program features
  • Can install extensions and templates
  • Portable version available

If using the portable option, you're required to download the whole OpenOffice suite without the ability to selectively install Calc.

The Cons

  • Large setup file may be slow to download
  • Must download the entire office suite even if you're just installing Spreadsheets
  • Cluttered menus and toolbars
  • Boring program interface


  • OpenOffice Calc works with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems
  • Supports common file formats like CSV and XLS
  • A sidebar makes it easier to use features than having to search through the menus
  • Navigator helps you find sheets, range names, database ranges, linked areas, graphics, OLE objects, comments and drawing objects from an OpenOffice Calc workbook
  • A file you're working within OpenOffice Calc can be exported as a PDF file
  • Includes tons of common functions
  • OpenOffice Calc supports creating macros 
  • Regular formatting tools are included like aligning data within a cell, indenting, creating bold/italic/underlined data, changing the color of a cell, etc.
  • Data can be sorted and filtered as well as positioned in a pivot table
  • A sheet and/or document can be protected with a password
  • Values can be validated by providing a type of content, such as time, date, or decimal, and choosing whether it should be equal, greater than, less than, etc. than another value
  • Cells can be modified, such as formatted to change their number value to something like scientific, currency, or Boolean value. The font typeface and size, borders, background, alignment, font effects, and cell protection can also be altered
  • Insert pictures, videos, sound files, charts, and special characters
  • A huge gallery is available that lets you insert images found in categories such as people, finance, diagrams, computers, environment, symbols, rulers, and school
  • Two documents can be merged together
  • Defined cells can be hidden when printed from OpenOffice Calc
  • The search utility is always showing on the toolbar so it's faster to start a search
  • Text case can be changed between sentence case, lowercase, and uppercase, as well as changed so every word is capitalized
  • Different tool sets can be undocked from the main program window and moved freely around the screen to provide a more open feel
  • The OpenOffice Calc setup file includes other software you can optionally install, like OpenOffice Writer, OpenOffice Impress, and OpenOffice Base

My Thoughts on OpenOffice Calc

I've placed OpenOffice Calc just below Kingsoft Spreadsheets on my list of free spreadsheet programs for the sole reasons that it's not as visually appealing or as easy to navigate through. A lot of the same features are available in both programs and they both serve very well as full spreadsheet software.

OpenOffice Calc is one of the very few spreadsheet programs that check for spelling mistakes automatically as you type, which is very helpful. Some spreadsheet programs that aren't even free, such as Microsoft Excel, don't even provide an automatic spell check feature.

As noted above, OpenOffice Calc cannot be used as a standalone portable program. This means the whole office suite, at around 500 MB, must, unfortunately, be taking up space for you to use just the Calc portion. 

The link below is for the Windows download. See the All Builds page for the Mac and Linux versions and winPenPack for the portable one.