Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 28th Nov, 2007

Gnumerical Inaccuracies

I've got three minor irritations with Gnumeric:

  1. I originally thought that it was impossible to a point in a X-Y chart series have a transparent fill. Then I found out that I can use the 'custom colour' chooser to turn the opacity down. However, I cannot save this back to the colour selector, despite there being a row of colour buttons at the bottom that are specifically for custom colours. Since having a non-transparent fill for the 'cross', 'plus' and 'star' symbols is completely pointless, this is a needless extra hassle to go through for every single series I wish to use in this manner. Bug reported as GNOME bug 500113.
  2. Saving the chart as an SVG is great, but it doesn't remember where you put the last file. I'm saving to a directory five levels in from the root directory, and not underneath my home directory (the default 'save to' location) and this is incredibly irritating to either retype the path, select it from the directories, or copy and paste it from a previous foray. Bug reported as GNOME bug 500116.
  3. For X-Y charts, at least where the chart is a point-only chart, if you have three columns selected, then Gnumeric assumes that the third column is another X axis, not a second series to plot against the first column (the original X axis). It should assume that the first column is your X series data and the other columns are separate Y series data to plot against it. In fact, it almost makes no sense whatsoever the way it currently does it, because graphing two series against different X axes is almost unheard of (it's far more usual to graph the same X series data against two Y axes). Although I applaud them allowing you to easily edit both the X and Y axis data sources and the title's data source, and make the whole structure of the chart a logical tree structure that's easy to navigate, it would be much easier if you there was an extra control that you could use to simply choose one of the original input series - like making each a drop-down box. Keeping the current control to allow you to select a new range is important, however. Bug reported as GNOME bug 500117.
On the plus side, Gnumeric's chart editing and SVG export are really great. It's a worthy little spreadsheet in its own right. I especially like its ability to use tab-completion and dropdown-prefill when selecting a place to save (although this may be a feature of GNOME save dialogs in general that I have not hitherto discovered). If only their choices for the default series colours didn't suck.

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