Gnumeric usability improvements


I use Excel a lot where I work, and have noticed a bunch of things
that are absent from Gnumeric that make it substantially more tedious
to use than Excel.  I might have missed the equivalent functionality,
but I don't think so.

This list is just a start (unfortunately!) and is meant as
constructive criticism.  I would not be surprised if Gnumeric
developers are not aware of some of these features in Excel; I would
say that much less than 1% of Excel users that know of everything I
list below.  I am suggesting them since it appears that the Gnumeric
developers want to imitate Excel as faithfully as possible.

1) Date input is awkward.  In Excel I can type "12Jun" "12Jun01".
   IMO Gnumeric is overly strict in its interpretation of date input;
   I can only get it to accept stuff like 12/6/1 or 12-Jun-01.
   You might find it odd, but I would rate this the most annoying
   aspect of Gnumeric at present.

2) Select part of a formula in the formula bar (or in the in-cell
   editor) and press F9 to calculate the highlighted subexpression.
   This is an extremely useful feature, escpecially when editing
   complex formulae.  "Select a subexpression, inspect with F9,
   Escape" becomes a very natural idiom after you use it a few times.

3) The keystrokes "End then Arrow Key" to move to the end of a
   consecutive list of non-empty cells in the direction specified (or
   to skip all empty cells in that direction, as appropriate).

4) Ctrl+# formats a number as a textual date (there are various other
   quick formatting key combinations).

5) Shift+Space to select a row, Ctrl+Shift+Space to select all.  I notice
   that Ctrl+Space to select a column is implemented (but doesn't work
   the same way as Excel if the selection contains more than one column
   - Excel selects all selected columns, Gnumeric just the one with
   the active cell).  Not particularly important.

6) Gnumeric appears to have no concept of "array formulae"
   (used with CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER in Excel).
   Array formulae are extremely powerful, and IMO an essential part
   of any spreadsheet.  We couldn't use Excel without them.

7) CTRL+SHIFT+A after a function name, or a function name followed
   by an opening parenthesis, lists the names of the arguments to
   the function in Excel.  This is very useful.  e.g. try it in
   Excel after typing "HLOOKUP" or "HLOOKUP(" before pressing enter.

Thanks for Gnumeric!  There's a long way to go; I wish I had time to


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