FAQ (Base)

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Do I need Java to use Base?

Not strictly. Base is an application which enables you to access the database of your choice - this can be local databases like flat files, dBase files, server databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, MS SQL Server, plus every database for which you have an ODBC , JDBC, or ADO driver.

However, by default OpenOffice.org creates all-in-one database files, using the HSQLDB database engine, which in fact is a Java database. So, if you have a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed, OpenOffice.org Base will create an embedded HSQLDB database when you choose "Create a new database" in the "New Database" wizard (File|New|Database).

If you do not have a JRE, then the following functionality will not be available:

  • You will not be able to create, or open existing, all-in-one database files which facilitate the HSQLDB engine.
  • You will not be able to run the table, query, form, and report wizard.
  • You will not be able to connect to your database if you only have a JDBC connector.

Everything else will continue to work. In particular, you can still work with databases other than HSQLDB.

Why can't OpenOffice.org load/find my JDBC driver?

OpenOffice.org needs to know the path to the class files or the jar files of the JDBC driver. To achieve this, go to the Tools/Options dialog, there choose the page "Java". On this page, press the "Classpath" button, and add your archive or folder to OOo's classpath.


How to convert a table to CSV

  1. register the database under "Tools -> Options -> OpenOffice.org Base ->Databases"
  2. open a calc sheet
  3. press F4
  4. choose the table in your database
  5. copy the content into the calc sheet


How can I, in dBase, create queries for more than one table?

You cannot. Queries spanning more than one table are currently not supported in OpenOffice.org's own dBase implementation. There is an issue requesting this, so if you're interested in this feature, go and vote for it.

Why can't I delete a record in my dBase Table?

You probably checked the "Display deleted records as well" option in Edit|Database|Properties, didn't you?


How can I import a spreadsheet table to a database?

(answer originally provided by Regina Henschel in users@dba.openoffice.org)

There are two ways:

  • You can create a database file which gives you access to the calc-table. You cannot alter the table within base, instead you must use the calc-table
  • You can create a new database file and import your calc table.

I prefer to use the second way:

  • Create a new, empty database or open an existing one. Leave it open.
  • Open your Spreadsheet-table.
  • Select your data in the Calc-table and copy them into the Clipboard.
  • Go to the databasefile and use Edit - Paste.

You will get the "Copy Table" dialog, which leads you through the import.

Instead of copy & paste, you can also use drag & drop.

  • Reduce the windows so that you can see the Database pane of the databasefile window beside the calc table.
  • Mark all your data in the Calc-table, including the headings.
  • Drag them to the database file window and drop them to the "Tables"-Icon in the Database-pane.

You will get the "Copy Table" dialog too.


How do I create a form with a sub form?

Look here for an excellent document (OpenOffice.org Text Document, 850K) giving you a step-by-step description.


I can access my tables with OOo, but I can't update or insert any data - why?

There are three possible reasons (counting the frequent ones only :):

  • OOo requires a table (or, more specifically, the data in a row set) to contain a primary key or a a unique index in order to allow data manipulation. Alternatively, it suffices if the driver supports bookmarks (like some ODBC drivers or the internal dBase implementation do).
    The reason for this is that this is the only secure way to ensure that the changes you do affect the proper record (in case of updates), resp. that you, later on, can work with your newly inserted record.
  • You are using a spreadsheet, a text (CSV/TXT), or an address data source. All of these are not yet writable. It's not a bug, it's a missing feature.
  • OOo asks the database (in reality its the databases driver) for the privileges (if any) the current user has for the table you want to access. If the driver doesn't report that you have INSERT/UPDATE permissions, then the respective functionality is disabled in OOo. There are various drivers out there (for various databases, most often reported is MySQL) which handle the permissions improperly, and return wrong or too few privileges. Please try the latest possible driver for your database.

Which Database Type do I use?

  • Q: I'm asked which database type I use - how do I know?
  • A: If you don't know, it's probably HSQLDB. To be sure, open the database document (.odb) in OpenOffice.org, and look into the middle part of the status bar at the bottom of the main window. It should read something like "HSQLDB engine", "MySQL (ODBC)" ...

How are my Address Book fields mapped to OpenOffice.org columns?

Why does my table show the wrong number of records?

Base cannot know the number of records until its displayed all of them. This only happens while you scroll through your table, so initially, Base will tell you a smaller number than how many records you actually have. To indicate this, Base will show a small asterisk (*) behind the record count. That is, a number 23 means there actually are 23 records in your table, where as 23 (*) means there are 23 known records, but there are more which Base does not yet know about.

Why is searching in my form/table so incredibly slow?

This is because when you search (as opposed to filter) the data with OpenOffice.org, then Base retrieves all the data from the server, and looks up itself, instead of letting the server do this. This, of course, is slow. But, though OOo's search is probably not the fastest possible on earth, it's more a problem of you doing the wrong thing to get the right results. Filter your form, to let the server do the work. More information is available in the archive of our mailing list.

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