Spreadsheet Plugin for WordPress

WordPress has basic HTML table settings but essentially that is all she wrote. If users want to add sophisticated spreadsheets or data grids to their Pages/Posts there are few options available from the 20,000 WordPress plugins [try it by searching the WP plugins directory for “data grid” or “spreadsheet”].There are two plugins which display Office files including spreadsheets – Scribd and Google Docs viewer. But each of these has drawbacks – Scribd requires users to upload files to their website where they become public property while Google Docs viewer has problems displaying MS 2007 XML file formats.The upgrades to TablePress allow users to import CSV and XLS files but at  the price of losing Excel simple formulas and problems with cells containing date or timestamp data.

Another work around is to use one of the many excellent  Javascript spreadsheet or datagrid plugins [free or commercial] but that means doing work externally and then adding the data grid with an iframe tag  or writing your own plugin – a daunting prospect given the need to show simple and largely static spreadsheet data with the ability of users to download the results as Excel or PDF file.DHTMLx Spreadsheet provides a better way.

DHTMLX Spreadsheet
Sample spreadsheet component showing formating options

When I discovered that the DHTMLX folks who have a pretty cool JavaScript widget framework, had made a plugin for DHTMLX Spreadsheet it appeared my prayers were answered. All that was required was to show Name, Event, Scores in Run 1, Run 2, and  Run 3. The Spreadsheet would sum the scores for each contestant and calculate the average score for each run. Finally the winner would be highlighted in a light blue background. It would be nice to have download capabilities as there are dozens of competitors and they keep track of their weekly rankings closely.  Fortunately, DHMLX spreadsheet provides robust versions of PDF and Excel downloads.

In sum DHTMLX delivers:

Finally, the spreadsheet needs to be made read-only. Here DHTMLX only comes partially to the rescue. By right-mouse clicking on the spreadsheet one can lock the spreadsheet.However, any user could discover this and change the scores. But because the data is so easy to up & download such changes would quickly be spotted and corrected.

True, DHMLX Spreadsheet is far from perfect – it does not support macros, has a fraction of the standard Excel functions and ditto for formatting features But WordPress support of tables and spreadsheets is close to antediluvian, making this DHTMLX Spreadsheet solution not just effective but very attractive for WordPress users.

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