If you want to get started quickly and think that you know what to expect from a simple spreadsheet, this chapter may be all that you need.
First, visit a new file with the .ses extension. Emacs presents you with an empty spreadsheet containing a single cell.
Begin by inserting a headline: "Income"<RET>. The double quotes indicate that this is a text cell. (Notice that Emacs automatically inserts the closing quotation mark.)
To insert your first income value, you must first resize the spreadsheet. Press <TAB> to add a new cell and navigate back up to it. Enter a number, such as ‘2.23’. Then proceed to add a few more income entries, e.g.:
A Income 2.23 0.02 15.76 -4.00
To add up the values, enter a Lisp expression:
(+ A2 A3 A4 A5)
Perhaps you want to add a cell to the right of cell A4 to explain why you have a negative entry. Pressing TAB in that cell adds an entire new column ‘B’, where you can add such a note.
The column is fairly narrow by default, but pressing w allows you to resize it as needed. Make it 20 characters wide. You can now add descriptive legends for all the entries, e.g.:
A B Income 2.23 Consulting fee 0.02 Informed opinion 15.76 Lemonade stand -4 Loan to Joe 14.01 Total
By default, the labels in column B are right-justified. To change that, you can enter a printer function for the whole column, using e.g., M-p ("%s"). You can override a column's printer function in any individual cell using p.
If Joe pays back his loan, you might blank that entry; e.g., by
positioning the cursor in cell A5 and pressing C-d twice.
If you do that, the total cell will display ‘######’. That is
because the regular
+ operator does not handle a range that
contains some empty cells. Instead of emptying the cell, you could
enter a literal ‘0’, or delete the entire row using C-k.
An alternative is to use the special function
ses+ instead of
(ses+ A2 A3 A4 A5)
To make a formula robust against changes in the spreadsheet geometry,
you can use the
ses-range macro to refer to a range of cells by
the end-points, e.g.:
(apply 'ses+ (ses-range A2 A5))
apply is necessary because
ses-range produces a
list of values. This allows for more complex possibilities.)
Alternatively you can use the
! modifier of
remove blank cells from the returned list, which allows to use
+ instead of
(apply '+ (ses-range A2 A5 !))