Rafael Lima from the Brazilian LibreOffice community is working on an extension to remove blank cells in LibreOffice Calc. It has four modes (single column, single row, blank rows and blank columns). Here’s a quick animation of it in action:
So far, the main functionality is there, but Rafael would like to improve it. We asked him for some more info…
What does the extension do?
The main purpose of this extension is to remove blank cells to easily compact data. For instance, suppose you have a table with data and then you delete the contents of some rows. The next thing you might want to do is remove these blank rows to compact your table. By using the Remove Blank Cells extension this can be done with a single click.
Currently the extension supports four modes to remove blank cells. The simplest one is when you select a single row or column, then the extension will detect the selection and compact the data removing all blank cells. However, if a matrix is selected, then a message will be displayed and you can choose if blank rows or blank columns are to be removed.
When did you start making it?
I started writing the extension in February this year and finished the first version in less than one month. Then I kept testing it and working on improvements and the final version was finished in July.
At first the extension focused on my use case, because in my work with data analysis I often have to remove blank rows and columns. However, after seeing many people asking about how to remove blank cells in LibreOffice, I decided to pack it and make it available for everyone since it might be useful for other people.
What are the current limitations of it?
The main limitation of the extension is when the user wants to process very large tables (with tens of thousands of rows), which might take some time to finish. In these cases a progress bar is shown so the user can keep track of the data processing.
Moreover, the extension still does not support translations, so the user interface is only available in English. I plan to support translations in the next release.
How can people help to improve it?
Because this is the first released version of the extension, I would appreciate having more people testing it and reporting issues on the extension’s GitHub page.
I would also like to invite the community to create a better icon for the extension, so that it would be more in line with the default icon theme in LibreOffice.
In the future I will also need some assistance with translating the extension’s strings.
So, everyone is welcome to try out the extension – and if you have some technical knowledge, jump in and help Rafael and the community to improve it! Check out the wiki for more information on extension development.