LibreOffice enhances its enterprise spreadsheet abilities

The GPU and the CPU can work together to quickly handle very large data sets, LibreOffice said

Open source office suite LibreOffice has overhauled its spreadsheet program, Calc, to try to make it better suited to the needs of enterprise users who handle big data sets.

Calc has gone through its largest code refactoring ever, said LibreOffice in a news release Thursday announcing LibreOffice 4.2.

The update mainly revamps performance for handling big data sets, especially when calculating cell values and importing large and complex XLSX spreadsheets, it added.

There was a need to improve the advanced configuration of LibreOffice, said Italo Vignoli, LibreOffice's spokesman.

Because LibreOffice was a product born in the nineties, the architecture of the suite was not very modern, he said. "It badly needed an update," he said, adding that the new version was mainly needed for Calc because spreadsheets need more processing power than text documents.

"So for Calc we generally improved the way we handle data," Vignoli said. This means that Calc is going to be quicker for all users for bigger spreadsheets, he said. New charting features were also added to improve the way users can visually present data, he added.

To enhance Calc's performance, LibreOffice has started interpreting the spreadsheet program as a huge video game on the processing side, Vingoli said.

LibreOffice introduced a formula interpreter designed to enable parallel calculation of formula cells using the GPU (graphics processing unit) rather than only relying on the CPU (central processing unit), which is traditionally used for calculations, Vignoli said. The GPU is used via OpenCL, which can give applications access to the GPU for non-graphical computing.

"Usually when you crunch numbers the GPU is sleeping while the CPU is working," said Vignoli, adding that having the GPU and the CPU work together will make it easier for a computer to handle very large data sets.

The new interpreter works best with Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) systems such as the new AMD Kaveri APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), LibreOffice said.

In addition to improving Calc, LibreOffice also improved interoperability with Microsoft OOXML, particularly for DOCX files as well as legacy RTF, it said. New filters for Abiword documents and Apple Keynote presentations were also added.

LibreOffice 4.2 also supports Impress Remote Control for iOS which allows users to control their presentations from their iPhone or iPad. The iOS app is currently waiting to be reviewed by Apple. This feature is identical to the already available Impress Remote Control for Android, Vignoli said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourcesoftwareapplicationsOffice suitesLibreOffice

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?