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Calculators with spreadsheets
07-03-2018, 03:32 PM
Post: #1
Calculators with spreadsheets
Now obviously, the HP palmtops are king here, having Lotus 1-2-3 built-in, but this is a feature offered on some graphing/scientific calculators as well. These spreadsheet programs are typically very scaled down compared to anything on a computer, but I find they can still be useful, especially for problems where you've got multiple inputs and outputs, tabulated data, etc. See the attached screenshot for an example of a simple binomial probability distribution worksheet from my Casio fx-9860g Slim.

I haven't played with all the calculator spreadsheets that are available, so I'm wondering which ones are particularly good. This is what I know so far...

- Casio fx-9860 family: 26x999 limit, support for formulas and text labels, but no formatting. Fast and easy to use, so it's useful for simple worksheets or a very bare-bones account register.
- Casio Prizm family: I haven't tried it, but the manual makes it look basically the same as the fx-9860 version, but with the ability to format cell colors, either statically or with conditional formats.
- Casio fx-991EX ClassWiz: 5x41, no way to save multiple files, data is deleted when you exit spreadsheet mode. Fairly useless.
- TI-84 Plus CE (CellSheet app): Mostly the same as Casio's, but it's in color (and running on a Z80 instead of an SH-4, so it's noticeably slower). The UI isn't as streamlined either. But you can do some simple number formatting. I actually had it lock up on me once, and I had to hard-reset the calculator and restore a backup.
- TI-89 (CellSheet app): Doesn't look too different from the 84 version based on the manual, but it has better UI design. I don't have much experience with this one. Can file contents be accessed from a program?
- HP Prime: I haven't tried this one out much, but it seems to support column/row resizing. Is it possible to read/write file contents from a program? That would make for a pretty huge advantage over the competition.


.bmp  BinomialDistribution.bmp (Size: 1.06 KB / Downloads: 15)
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07-03-2018, 04:08 PM
Post: #2
RE: Calculators with spreadsheets
The TI Nspire has a spreadsheet function. I never tried it too much because I loath the Nspire so I cannot say how good the spreadsheet is.
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07-03-2018, 04:20 PM
Post: #3
RE: Calculators with spreadsheets
One nice feature of the HP Prime is that cells can refer to things external to the spreadsheet (variables, etc.).

You missed TI-Nspire off the list. I guess it's spreadsheet app is similar to that of other TI calculators? One nice feature is that you can enter formulae at the column level as well as the cell level. You can also capture data from other apps into the spreadsheet.

— Ian Abbott
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07-03-2018, 04:50 PM
Post: #4
RE: Calculators with spreadsheets
(07-03-2018 04:20 PM)ijabbott Wrote:  One nice feature of the HP Prime is that cells can refer to things external to the spreadsheet (variables, etc.).

The Casio seems to let you do this as well, at least to the extent that you can access real and list variables, both within formulas, or in expressions that are immediately evaluated and converted to constants. I haven't tried it with other things (matrices, functions, etc.).

You guys are right, I totally forgot about the Nspire, probably because, well, it's the Nspire. Wink I do have a 1st-gen monochrome clickpad CAS model laying around in a drawer; maybe I'll stick some batteries in it and see how the spreadsheet works, if only for the sake of comparison.

Anybody have any experience with XCELL for the 48? Is it worth loading onto my GX?
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07-03-2018, 10:21 PM
Post: #5
RE: Calculators with spreadsheets
Not built in, but available, there was Workbook 71 for the HP-71 (although that's more of a hand-held computer, not really a calculator). WB71 was my first exposure to spreadsheets. WB71 had a suite of related programs, for spreadsheet, word processing, and database.

The HP-75 had VisiCalc which was a huge investment to translate for the 75 and I'm sure it did not pay off monetarily. I can't imagine they sold nearly enough to have made it worth the investment.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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07-03-2018, 11:10 PM
Post: #6
RE: Calculators with spreadsheets
(07-03-2018 10:21 PM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  The HP-75 had VisiCalc which was a huge investment to translate for the 75 and I'm sure it did not pay off monetarily. I can't imagine they sold nearly enough to have made it worth the investment.

This wasn't created from scratch, it was 'ported' from the Series-80 version of VisiCalc, which had very similar features and also shared the same CPU. Still, no doubt a lot of work, given the very different ROMs, memory, etc.

Also, to be useful on an HP-75, one really needs to use a monitor (a spreadsheet with a 1-line LCD display is real frustrating to use) so the cost of a 75 and IL/Video, and IL/storage, and likely an IL/Printer and 8K RAM upgrade meant that one was over $2k invested to be able to actually use it.

While there can be little doubt that this product was not profitable, I'd guess that HP saw the development cost as a strategic investment to market the first truly "portable spreadsheet" offering.

It's a nice implementation (for its time!) which exposes many features of the Spreadsheet functions to BASIC programs, and also lets you create custom worksheet functions in BASIC. Very nice, for the few well-financed folks that bought them.

--Bob Prosperi
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07-04-2018, 03:13 AM
Post: #7
RE: Calculators with spreadsheets
(07-03-2018 03:32 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  - HP Prime: I haven't tried this one out much, but it seems to support column/row resizing. Is it possible to read/write file contents from a program? That would make for a pretty huge advantage over the competition.

Spreadsheet content can be read from or written to app-specific files or to/from Notes by a program. That capability hasn't yet been made an integral part of the Spreadsheer app itself yet. You can also call program functions within cell formulas, so the Prime is pretty advanced over other calculators.

~Mark

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