James E Lang jim+lod at
Tue Jan 12 15:16:15 PST 2016

I don't know what in my message headers causes filters on this list to divert my posts to moderated status but here goes another one.

Hi Rick,

As I stated in another post to this list yesterday, I am a LO user. FWIW, I think of this idea as "human readable" formatting rather than as "metric" formatting. I hope this formatting will not be only for fractional values but will also provide human readable formatting for large values. So, does this formatting option extend into the positive domain of powers of 1,000 (Ku, Mu, Gu, Tu, etc.)? I think it should. Displaying such values as 1,300 watt hours as 1.3 KwH, 1,019 pascals as 1.019 Kpa, 2,250 meters as 2.25 Km, 10,000,000 bits as 10 Mb, or 2,030,000,000 bytes as 2.03 GB would be good.

The "units" portion of this feature *could* be implemented by the existing custom formatting capability (e.g. append "V" in the formatting string to designated Volts) but if you have a better, less geeky, technique in mind to designate possibly custom units I say you should go for it. I hope you are remembering that whatever you do needs to be supported in Calc by the 2nd parameter in function FORMAT(value,format-string) as well.

This is an exciting concept. Don't let Microsoft's lack of support for this stop you. We've gone out ahead of them before with support for 1,024 column spreadsheets. Give them another well developed feature to chase. In the long run it can only improve both the LO and MS office suites and enhance the prestige of LO as an innovative project. AOO and other FOSS office suites could benefit from our leadership as well. In any case we need not be relegated to the status of being simply a Microsoft clone!

Aim high and hit the target! It's a home run of a concept on my scorecard.


-----Original Message-----
From: "Rick C. Hodgin" <rick.c.hodgin at>
To: libreoffice at
Sent: Fri, 08 Jan 2016 16:52
Subject: Suggestion

I am a developer and would be willing to make these changes for the
project, but I've never worked on the LibreOffice code base and would need
some help getting started with the correct source files.

I had an idea to allow for a new type of cell formatting under *"Category."*
It would be for numbers, and operate similarly to the standard numbers on
integer values, but for fractions it would perform some special processing.

The category is called *"Metric."*

When conveying fractional values, such that 1.2345E-08 (which is
0.000,000,012,345), it would do so in a metric-relative way using the
standard milli (10^-3), micro (10^-6), nano (10^-9), pico (10^-12), and so

In the example, the *Metric* display would cause the value to show up
as "*12,345
pu*" (pico-units) if the thousands separator was used.  There would be an
option to override the default "u" character in use, changing it into
something that may have significance for the cell, such as "s" or "seconds"
for seconds, "m" or "meters" for meters, and so on.

An ability to lock in a working range would also exist, such as *"show
everything in nano-units"* so that everything is adjusted to that base.  In
such a case, the above example above would present as "*12.345 nu*" instead
of in its default *pu*.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,
Rick C. Hodgin
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