Reordering rows/columns in spreadsheet

This thread is for discussion about workflows for reordering rows and columns in Collabora spreadsheets, since it is currently more difficult to do it than in many other spreadsheet programs. For example, there is no way to drag-and-drop rows/columns, nor are there options for “move rows/columns in direction”.

GitHub thread Use also Ctrl or Alt when dragging rows, columns, cells · Issue #8033 · CollaboraOnline/online · GitHub tracks the enhancement request for being able to reorder rows and columns by drag-and-drop. This forum discussion may be helpful for users who want to emulate such functionality, or discuss workarounds.

A very useful workaround was mentioned Use also Ctrl or Alt when dragging rows, columns, cells · Issue #8033 · CollaboraOnline/online · GitHub copy the row(s)/column(s) to the clipboard, and then use the “paste special” feature, which has an option in the dialog box to shift rows/columns out of the way instead of overwriting them. This is still unwieldy but is a lot better than the alternatives that currently exist.

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For anyone who is wondering about use cases, there are plenty… For example, I maintain a spreadsheet of recurring monthly expenses. I keep the rows in an order that makes sense to me for reviewing easily, which means sometimes they have to be reordered when expense categories are added, removed, or changed. It’s also popular to work on puzzle hunts (Introduction to Puzzlehunts) using spreadsheets, in which case it is very helpful to be able to quickly move data from one place to another within the spreadsheet, to see if it produces novel insights.

Sometimes one wants to keep rows in a mostly sorted order, and it is possible to work around the lack of easy reordering functionality by simply sorting repeatedly. It is less convenient than drag-and-drop when there is only one row that needs to be moved, and fails when there is not an existing column that one wants to strictly sort by.

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Hey @raxod502, thanks for posting this convo on the forums from the Github issue. :slight_smile:

Being able to drag/drop rows/columns to move them is known and is being worked on.

When I brought your (Github) posts up to the Collabora devs, they instantly said:

  • “Yep! It’s one of the most requested features.”

Another method is:

  • Having your raw data on Sheet 1.
  • Generate other “insights” on Sheet 2 + Sheet 3, etc.

So, you might have something like:

  • Sheet 1 = Columns for all your expenses, categories, date of purchase, […].
  • Sheet 2 = Broken down by month.
  • Sheet 3 = Broken down by quarter.
  • Sheet 4 = Broken down by categories.

This way, you wouldn’t have to go dragging/dropping your columns all the time, you’d already have “pre-built insights/charts” on your other sheets.

Or… like people always say. The solution to everything in spreadsheets?

  • Pivot Tables!

Interesting. Thanks for the links. I’ll definitely have to check it out.

Reminds me of Geocaching. I first found out about that in way back in 2009/2010:

Side Note 1: You may also be interested in this post I wrote a few days ago in:

I wrote a “On Spreadsheets / Data / Tables / Charts / Graphs” heading, where I also covered one of my favorite books ever:

  • “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” by Edward Tufte

In it, he describes how to more effectively/efficiently display data, and it includes “tricks” like:

  • Swapping rows/columns
  • Sorting largest->smallest
  • Removing “Chart Junk”
    • Useless lines!

The amount of “hidden” data/insights that are already sitting there—and can be found just by MOVING SOME DATA NEAR EACH OTHER and displaying it a little differently—is awesome.

Previously hidden patterns just pop right out.

Side Note 2: Last year, I also explained a few other methods like “Spellcheck Lists”/“List-Based Spellchecking”:

It lets you see all words in a book, in a fully sortable/searchable list:

Word Count
Apple 10
Apples 2
color 9
colour 2
erro 1
error 10
erros 1
español 1
tomorrow 99
to-morrow 1

Check a box to “Only show misspelled words”:

Word Count
colour 2
erro 1
erros 1
español 1

(or even a simple sort by word count.)

And poof!

Lets you quickly spot patterns/inconsistencies + mass correct entire books very quickly.

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