LibreOffice Calc Tips

Brandon Rozek

February 20, 2021

I’ve been working with LibreOffice Calc (or Excel) spreadsheets recently and wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned.

Absolute vs Relative Cell References

The main difference between referencing a cell relatively vs absolute is that the absolute reference includes a $ in the front. This is important if you want to drag a formula across multiple cells.

$A:$B

Referring to a sheet name

To refer to cells in another sheet, first begin the reference with the sheet name, then a period, follow by the cells you wish to reference in that sheet. If the sheet name has spaces in it, then you need to wrap it in quotes.

'Another Sheet'.A:B

Referring to a column

To refer to a single column, you need to repeat the column name separated by a colon.

B:B

Get row that matches a query

For this we’ll use the MATCH function. It takes three parameters:

  1. The value to match
  2. The range of cells to query over
  3. Which comparison function to use. Use 0 for equality.

It will then return the first row number that matches the query.

MATCH("Bob", B:B, 0)

Query a value based on another from that row.

To do this, we will need to combine both the INDEX function and the MATCH function. The INDEX function takes three parameters:

  1. The range of cells to reference
  2. The row number
  3. The column number

Use the MATCH function as the second argument, and you can reference another column of a row based on a query.

INDEX(A:B, MATCH("Bob", B:B, 0), 1)

Refer to a value in a nearby cell

With the OFFSET function you can refer to a cell relative to another. Its parameters are:

  1. Reference Cell
  2. Row Offset
  3. Column Offset
  4. Height
  5. Width
# To see the value in the row above A5 (A4)
OFFSET(A5, -1, 0, 1, 1)

Concatenate Strings

Strings separated by & are concatenated together.

"Hello " & "World."