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Apache OpenOffice 4.1.3 released

XMerge Pocket Excel Plugin


The Pocket Excel plugin converts between OpenOffice StarCalc XML format and Pocket Excel's binary file format.  It currently supports reading and writing of files in Pocket Excel format 2.0. A zipfile containing the complete source is available. If you just want to browse the source online it is available here.

Using the Pocket Excel plugin

The Pocket Excel plugin is invoked in the same manner as all other XMerge plugins.   Once the framework has been made aware of the plugin, the only thing needed to use it is to specify its MIME type as a source or destination type for conversion.  The MIME type is specified in the converter.xml file included in the pexcel.jar file.  Currently, this is set to application/x-pocket-excel .

For example, to use the Pocket Excel plugin in conjunction with the test driver supplied with the XMerge framework:

% java org.openoffice.xmerge.test.Driver -from staroffice/sxc -to x-application/x-pocket-excel Test.sxc

% -from application/x-pocket-excel -to staroffice/sxc Test.pxl


In addition to basic text and number conversion there are two main categories of features supported in this converter. Below is a simple table outlining the two categories and the features they support.

Summary of Supported Features
Category Features Supported

Cell References


Integers + Floating Points


Name Definitions


Bold, Italic, Underline


Alignment (Horizontal & Vertical)
The first is formula features. In Pocket Excel like most other spreadsheet applications any cell that starts with an "=" is considered to be a formula. This formula is made up of operands and operators. In addition to simple operators (such as addition, subtraction,multiplication and division) this converter also supports the 140 function operators available in pocket excel. StarCalc has of course many more functions than this but in the case where a sxc document has functions not supported in pocket excel the cell containing them is converted to an error cell in the pocket excel document. Operand support includes numbers, cell references (absolute, relative, 3D and cell ranges) and name definitions.

The second set of features supported in this converter relate to cell formatting. All the basic formatting is supported in this converter. The following is a  list of these features


Below are some screenshots to highlight the conversion capability of this filter.

StarCalc view of a spreadsheet

Pocket Excel view of the converted file

To Do

I would divide this ToDo list into two categories. The first would be features which are already support but could be done better. These I think should include.

  • Handling of unsupported functions

The second area are features that are not yet implemented

  • Number Formatting
  • Merge cells

Building the plugin

The Pocket Excel plugin is built as part of the XMerge framework.  Its classes are stored in pexcel.jar.  See Building XMerge for more instructions.

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