Entering data using the keyboard

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Most data entry in Calc can be accomplished using the keyboard.

Entering numbers

Click in the cell and type in the number using the number keys on either the main keyboard or the numeric keypad.

To enter a negative number, either type a minus (–) sign in front of it or enclose it in parentheses (brackets), like this: (1234).

By default, numbers are right-aligned and negative numbers have a leading minus symbol.

Entering text

Click in the cell and type the text. Text is left-aligned by default.

Entering numbers as text

If a number is entered in the format 01481, Calc will drop the leading 0. (Exception: see Tip below.) To preserve the leading zero, for example for telephone area codes, type an apostrophe before the number, like this: '01481.

The data is now regarded as text by Calc. Formulas and functions will treat the entry like any other text entry, which typically results in it being a zero in a formula, and being ignored in a function.

Tip.png Numbers can have leading zeros and be regarded as numbers (as opposed to text) if the cell is formated appropriately. Right-click on the cell and chose Format Cells > Numbers. Adjust the leading zeros setting to add leading zeros to numbers.

Documentation note.png When using an apostrophe to allow a leading 0 to be displayed, the apostrophe is not visible in the cell after the Enter key is pressed—if the apostrophe is a plain apostrophe (not a “smart quote” apostrophe). If “smart quotes” are selected for apostrophes, the apostrophe remains visible in the cell.

To choose the type of apostrophe, use Tools > AutoCorrect > Custom Quotes. The selection of the apostrophe type affects both Calc and Writer.

Documentation caution.png When a number is formatted as text care must be taken that the cell containing the number is not used in a formula since Calc will ignore the value.

Entering dates and times

Select the cell and type the date or time. You can separate the date elements with a slant (/) or a hyphen (–) or use text such as 10 Oct 03. Calc recognizes a variety of date formats. You can separate time elements with colons such as 10:43:45.

Deactivating Automatic Changes

Calc automatically applies many changes during data input, unless you deactivate those changes. You can also immediately undo any automatic changes with Ctrl+Z.

AutoCorrect Changes

Automatic correction of typing errors, replacement of straight quotation marks by curly (custom) quotes, and starting cell content with an uppercase (capital letter) are controlled by Tools > AutoCorrect Options.

  • To replace quotation marks select to the Custom Quotes tab and select options.
  • To correct typing errors or deactivate any of the features that you do not want select the Replace tab. On the Replace tab, you can also delete unwanted word pairs and add new ones as required.


When you are typing in a cell, Calc automatically suggests matching input found in the same column. To turn the AutoInput on and off,set or remove the check mark in front of Tools > Cell Contents > AutoInput.

Automatic Date Conversion

Calc automatically converts certain entries to dates. To ensure that an entry that looks like a date is interpreted as text, type an apostrophe ' at the beginning of the entry. The apostrophe is not displayed in the cell.

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