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Ady wrote:

Having sheets named Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3 etc. any reference from
Sheet2 to Sheet1 or from Sheet3 to Sheet2 refers to the _previous_
sheet. When you copy this reference to the first sheet, then there is no
previous sheet which is why you get #REF!.X1
Any absolute reference to $Sheet1 refers to the first sheet. Since there
is always a first sheet, this reference can be copied anywhere. When you
copy an absolute reference to $Sheet3 (3rd sheet) into a document with
only 1 or 2 sheets you get #REF!.X1 because there is no third sheet.

You are explaining the difference between absolute and relative
references to worksheets. I already know how it works. I am interested
in users replicating the test I presented and commenting on whether
they would rather see a different default behavior in Calc (as it
happens in other spreadsheet programs).

Let me express the matter with different words. Currently, the default
behavior would give:

Sheet2.A1: =Sheet1.A1

What I am saying is that the _default_ behavior is problematic,
inconvenient and unexpected by users. Instead, the _default_ behavior
should give:

Sheet2.A1: =$Sheet1.A1

Meaning, the _default_ behavior for cells should remain, using relative
references, but the _default_ behavior for sheets should be modified,
to use absolute references (note the "$" in front of the sheet name,
and no "$" for the column nor for the row of the cell).

I don't know about Andreas, but when I read your original steps:
3_ In Sheet2 -> A1 : =Sheet1.A1
I thought you meant type "=Sheet1.A1" in cell A1 of Sheet2, and expected that to behave as an absolute reference (which would be inconsistent with row and column references). From the above description, about "default behaviour" giving "=$Sheet1.A1", it sounds like you're talking about the behaviour when clicking on a cell as a shortcut to creating a reference?

When typing a formula directly, it's reasonable to expect the user to be responsible for getting the syntax right, including using $ to create absolute references where necessary. It may be more reasonable to expect that references generated by clicking in cells be tailored to the more common need - whatever that may be. I can imagine working out what's most common isn't be easy though, and will probably never please everyone ;o)

Personally, I don't often copy entire sheets, and when I do I probably do usually want absolute references to other sheets as you suggest. On the other hand, I can also see the use of relative sheet references, e.g. for things where there's a sheet for each month with totals carried over from one month to the next. I couldn't really say which is the more common use overall, and therefore which should be the default. Another consideration is that changing the current behaviour may confuse those who are used to the way it works at the moment and find it convenient.

By changing the _default_ behavior:
_ users would get the "traditional" (expected) behavior;

Unless it's changed recently, it seems "traditional" for LibreOffice (and therefore probably "expected" for at least some of its users) is to create relative sheet references.

_ there would be less confusion among users (sometimes seeing "#REF!"
errors, and sometimes without understanding why their worksheets are
_ in case relative references to sheets are actually needed by a user,
the correction is easier from absolute to relative notation than the
other way around.

I hope I am explaining my point clearer now.


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