Alexander Kjerulf (http://www.positivesharing.com ) wrote to me with an excellent question.
How do you get a spreadsheet into a Writer document?
The question is interesting, since it's not really that it's hard—there are just so many ways and many possible results. It's kind of like asking “How do you make a really great vinaigrette?” or “What is the best episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” There is no one right answer
Here are some answers, then. My birthday is coming up, so let's say that I'm planning my ideal birthday weekend and I did it in a spreadsheet first.
However, let's say that I've had the brilliant thought that I should leave it lying around where my boyfriend is sure to see it, so that he can help facilitate some of these items. In this case, I would like it to be in a regular document, with a nice heading across the top.
In short, I want to take some content from a spreadsheet, and turn it into a table. I'm going to paste. But which of the many pasting approaches is best?
Just Pasting the Spreadsheet Normally
Copy the cells from the spreadsheet that you want, switch to a Writer document, and paste.
You get a thingamajig that is kind of a table. Note the table icons in the toolbar. However, you can't really use them except to do things like wrap text around the table or apply other properties to the table object.
Pasting normally gives you kind of a table object with a table look
Double-click in any of the cells so that you can select the text and the cells and basically do normal things to it. But when you do this, iit magiliciously turns into a spreadsheet, with spreadsheet icons. You don't have the table icons anymore.
Double-clicking a pasted spreadsheet gives you spreadsheet tools and a temporary spreadsheet look
This could be quite useful if the spreadsheet were chock full of numbers. However, since it's just full of Wonderful Birthday Ideas, I don't really need it to act like a spreadsheet.
The quest for the perfect way to paste this into a Writer document continues.
Exploring the Paste Special Options
When you choose Edit > Paste Special, or click and hold down on the Paste icon in the main toolbar, you get extra pasting options.
You probably won't use the metafile or bitmap that much, since they create graphics. And the calc8 option just does exactly the same thing as normal pasting. However, the rest are quite useful.
Using the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) Paste Special Option
As you might guess, using this option pastes an HTML table version of your spreadsheet. This is pretty slick if you are, for instance, creating a web page. And it's a table, so of course you get the table tools. Not just when you click on the table but when you click in the cells or select the text.
Using the DDE Link Paste Special Option
This is a very slick pasting option—it's one of the two I recommend. You get a Writer table version of the spreadsheet content, but it's linked to the original spreadsheet. When the original spreadsheet changes, this copy of it changes, too. Of course, you have full use of the table icons.
Consider this option even if you don't want the link because you retain any border formatting or background shading.
This is also nice since, as you might have noticed, the alignment was corrected. In the spreadsheet the alignment by default was at the bottom of the cell. Now, it's at the top. If this isn't what you want then it's a disadvantage, but it's what I want in this instance.
Using the Unformatted Text Paste Special Option
However, what you can do with this, if you want, is to re-convert it to a table using the instructions here.
It's a bit of extra work since you can also use the DDE Link or Formatted Text options to get a regular table.
Using the Formatted Text (RTF) Paste Special Option
This is the other one I recommend. You get a plain old table, in normal Writer format, that's not linked to the original spreadsheet. With the table icons. However, you do lose any formatting associated with the borders or background shading that you might have had in the spreadsheet.