SpreadsheetA spreadsheet is a computer application for organization, analysis and storage of data in tabular form. The program operates on data entered in cells of a table. Each cell may contain either numeric or text data, or the results of formulas that automatically calculate and display a value based on the contents of other cells. A decent piece of spreadsheet software supports graphical presentation of collected data.

Spreadsheets are a very convenient form of preliminary data collection and processing and hence are commonly applied in clinical medicine and biomedical research. There are many types of spreadsheets offered by different software manufacturers. Arguably, the most popular spreadsheet software is MS Excel as a part of the MS Office suite. However, for this introductory spreadsheets course we will use the free alternative of spreadsheet software, namely LibreOffice Calc. It is available for all most popular operating systems: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD, including the 64-bit versions.

If you have not downloaded LibreOffice package yet, I recommend you go visit the official LibreOffice download page!

Prerequisites: please make sure that you have installed Java on your computer - it is installed in most Windows systems by default so in most cases there should be no problem, otherwise install Java Runtime Environment (JRE - file jre-8u___-windows-i586-iftw.exe or jre-8u___-windows-i586.exe or jre-8u___-windows-x64.exe) from this page:


It is probable that JRE (Java Runtime Environment) does not create symlinks needed nor add information about its location to the system path variable in MacOS X (please check if it is OK, e.g. trying to open a table in a database in LibreOffice - in the newest JDK for MacOS X - file jre-8u___-macosx-x64.dmg). In order to workaround the problem on Macs, please install the full Java Development Kit (JDK - file jdk-8u___-macosx-x64.dmg) from this page:


Let us go practice (video lectures only for registered users):

  • Useful spreadsheet functions (go to course video lecture)
    Nested IF statements. Locking a reference cell with the $ sign.

Courtesy of:
Narcyz Knap MD PhD, Mariusz Baran PhD, Dariusz Świetlik PhD
Intrafaculty College of Medical Informatics & Biostatistics
Medical University of Gdansk, Poland