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December 21, 2003

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Creating a Personal or Company Budget with OpenOffice/StarOffice Calc

Part 1: Basics

Mike Angelo -- 21 December 2003 (C) -- Page 3

  • Tweaking the document titles

To finish formatting the budget spreadsheet, let's center the main document title across the eight columns. In order to do that, we have to merge cells A1 through H1. Please see Figure 3, below.

To do that, let's select those cells by typing A1:H1 into the cell selection input box on the Formula Bar and hitting Enter. Then Click on Format > Merge Cells > Define.

Bang! The title jumps right into the center. That's because we already centered the title at the beginning of this tutorial.

In similar fashion, please separately merge the cells for Income (A4:B4), Fixed Expenses (D4:E4), and Regular Expense Estimates (G4:H4).

If you like, you now can tighten up the combined Regular Expense Estimates columns (G:H) by dragging the Column G-H boundary to the right some.

That finishes the budget spreadsheet formatting. Your budget now should look very much like the one in Figure 3, except the dollar amounts remain to be added.

This would be a good place to save your work.

  • Letting Calc do the math

Before adding the dollar amounts data to your budget spreadsheet, let's set it up so that Calc does all the math for you. This is the real power of electronic spreadsheets such as OpenOffice/StarOffice Calc. They can do the math.

Part of the doing-the-math power is that as you add or change numerical data, an electronic spreadsheet automatically can update all the calculations that depend upon the added or changed data.

Total Income (cell B12) is the sum of cells B6 through B11. So, select cell B12 and type =SUM(B6:B11) into the Formula box on the Formula Bar. That's the data-input box just above Column D in Figure 3.

The Total Fixed Expenses (cell E12) gets =SUM(E6:E11) and Total Estimates (cell H12) gets =SUM(H6:H11).

Total Expenses (B14) is the sum of Total Fixed Expenses (E12) and Total Estimated Regular Expenses (H12). Therefore, select cell B14 and type =SUM(E12+H12) in the Formula box.

Disposable Income (B16) is the difference between Total Income (cell B12) and Total Expenses (B14). So set =SUM(B12-B14) into the Formula box for cell B16.

This would be a good place to save your work. By the way, if you would like to use this budget setup for different budgets, you also can save it now as a template. Template is one of the Save as type choices in the Save As panel.

Figure 3. Finished working-view of the OpenOffice Monthly Budget Demo opened in a Calc. Please see text for an explanation.

  • Adding Data to Your Budget

Are you ready to add data to your budget spreadsheet and watch Calc automatically do the math for you?

Remember that because you set your budget spreadsheet to format currency automatically, you do not have to type the $ sign or any commas when you input the dollar amounts for items.

Now please type these numbers into the appropriate cells: Day Job 1600, Moonlight Job 400, CD Interest 75, Mortgage Payment 400, Car Payment 250, Internet Connection 20, Food 400, Gas 50, Electric 75,and Phone 25.

As you type in each amount, please notice how Calc automatically updates all the totals that depend on the amount added. These amounts are all arbitrary. If you like you can use actual amounts that apply to you instead.

  • Finished

That should do it. Nice work.

In Part II of the Calc budget tutorial (coming soon), we will add some polish and extras including a chart.

Article Index
There is a #OpenOffice channel on the EFNet IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network. If you want to discuss OpenOffice or Calc with other OpenOffice users, need some help with OpenOffice, or want to help others better use OpenOffice, hang out there. Simply connect your IRC client to an EFNet IRC server and /join #OpenOffice.


To let the OpenOffice.org people know how you think they can make OpenOffice even better, Louis Suarez-Potts asks that you let them know at usersATopenoffice.org. (Substitute @ for AT)


Sun's Comparison of OpenOffice 1.1 and StarOffice 6.1

Comparison of ways to do things using Microsoft Word and OooWriter (By Jean Hollis Weber)


KDE


OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org CDs

OpenOffice.org Downloads

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StarOffice 7 Office Suite


SUSE Linux Professional 9.0

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Books


The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source, Martin Fink, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-047677-3. $27


OpenOffice.org 1.0 Resource Kit, Solveig Haughland and Floyd Jones, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-140745-7. $40

Special Edition Using StarOffice 6.0, Michael Koch, Que. ISBN: 0789728338. $36

StarOffice 6.0 Office Suite Companion, Solveig Haughland and Floyd Jones, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-038473-9. $40

Taming OpenOffice.org Writer 1.1, Jean Hollis Weber, ISBN 0957841981. PDF Download $10. Printed $25


Using Microsoft Office 2003 (Special Edition), Bott and Leonhard, Que, ISBN: 0-7897-29955-5. $40


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