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On 05/24/2012 03:22 PM, avamk wrote:

Here is a scenario that I am trying to deal with in a Calc spreadsheet:

(1) Every year Bill and Nancy measure the weights and heights of four

(2) The four people being measured are Fred, Joe, Alice, and Beatrice.

Right now the measurements for two years, 2008 and 2009, have been entered
into this spreadsheet:

screenshot (

ODS file (

As you can see, right now this information is organised in the spreadsheet
by multiple subheadings. The problem is that I am having a hard time getting
Calc to filter and sort this information. For example, I don't know how to
ask Calc to sort the rows by the height measured by Bill in 2009. The sort
function in the data menu seems to expect that there is only one heading,
and not multiple "layers" of headings arranged in rows.

Another issue is that this spreadsheet might become unwieldy when more
measurers (in addition to Bill and Nancy) start in, say, 2012, or when more
subjects are added after the first four.

I realise Calc can maintain multiple sheets in a file, and it also has some
basic database capabilities. Can anyone provide recommendations on how to
enhance my current sheet so that it is scalable and more easilty queried?
You can restructure the data into separate sheets. For example a sheet
for Fred, Joe, Alice, Beatrice. On each sheet you have five columns:
year, Bill-wt, Bill-ht, Nancy-wt, Nancy-ht.

The basic question is why your are tracking the data. The answer will
help determine the best organization of the data and whether you should
use a spreadsheet or a database.

Spreadsheets can be used as very limited databases but if you have a
complex data set you might consider using a database. The embedded
database engine for Base is limited (or the database experts on the list
do not like it) but Base can be used as front end to many different
databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc)

Jay Lozier

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