Row Height- disable Automatic Row Height (permanently)?

asked 2019-11-23 02:11:12 +0200

GoodMovie3 gravatar image

updated 2020-07-12 18:57:13 +0200

Alex Kemp gravatar image

The Question

I am trying to move from Excel to LO Calc (.. again ...) especially since I've been a Linux fan for years. (I've been using Excel for over 25 years.) However, in particular the Automatic Row Height problems, e.g. extremely slow performance, are likely to prevent this. The key question is "How to disable the Automatic Row Height"? Especially if this can be done by default on a permanent basis.

The Reasons(s)

  1. In my work this automatic function is simply annoying, and (for me) only wastes productive time because I have to undo what it does (i.e. the "damage" it causes). Fortunately in Excel it is turned off by default.

  2. Since it is sooooo slow - for my current worksheet taking 10 minutes or more !!! each time it starts up. This makes it impossible to contemplate using LibreOffice Calc. (In comparison Excel takes only 2 or 3 seconds for this size worksheet.)


The current worksheet has 169,548 rows and 9 columns - in total 1,525,932 cells with data. Yes, it is a large spreadsheet but it is handled by Excel and should be within the scope of Calc. I found following posts with related problems:

So I created a fresh, empty Calc file in ODS format and pasted the data points in using CTRL-SHIFT-V to avoid any formatting or other unwanted artifacts. Just one single column of 169,548 rows with long text entries took 6 minutes to complete! The same operation using a number between 0 and 20 was almost instantaneous.

What can be done to permanently disable the automatic Row Height adjustment (which I would never actually use even if it wasn't so slow)?

System #1

  • AMI Motherboard with a quadcore i5
  • CPU (16GB RAM)
  • Linux Mint 18.3 MATE (64bit)
  • LibreOffice Calc


Edit #1

I tried with the latest version of LibreOffice Calc, which is LO 6.3.3. Since this version doesn't install on LM 18.3 a virtual machine was used (VirtualBox 6.0.14). Unfortunately, after over 35min the ODS file was still stuck on "Adapt Row Height". So updating doesn't seem a solution. As virtual machines often run at close to bare metal speeds if graphics are not an issue I am assuming that bare metal speeds would be similar.

Suggested Solutions

  1. My favoured solution is to turn automatic Row Height adjustment off by default. Since I wouldn't want it even if it did work well, and since it seems to be causing real problems (evidenced by the posts above and my own experience) to me there seems no reason to have this on by default.

  2. During these really long Row Height adjustments only one single core is running at 100%, all ...

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There's no "limit application to only a subset of its functions" mode (of course, I don't mean things like autocorrection, which are unrelated to the document behaviour). You may select all rows and set their height to a fixed value per sheet; and you may use that as a template; but not disable the function at program level (unless you hack to make changes in the code, and create your own build).

Doing height adjustments in parallel could be made an enhancement request (along with a sample document showing long processing that could benefit from that).

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2019-11-24 08:07:06 +0200 )edit

Long shot: Could it be that the main resource hog is in converting from Excel context to Calc?

  • Is it equally slow if you save your file as ODS from Excel and try to open that?
  • What about the paste test you did? Did you save and reopen that?
keme gravatar imagekeme ( 2019-11-25 20:03:43 +0200 )edit

Thank you, Mike and keme.

  1. I will post this as a bug and as an "enhancement" (off by default).

  2. Yes, I did try both directly from Excel and also via Notepad to strip out formatting. Just now I copied from LibreOffice Calc into Xed and back into a fresh LO spreadsheet. The result remains the same.

  3. The thought that by default automatic row height and column width is a function everybody wants is mistaken. I've been using spreadsheets for decades esp. Lotus123 and later Excel (even dabbled with Multiplan). Not one of them had this function on by default (they could all do this).

The width adjustment is indeed sometimes useful, but I don't use row height adjustment even once/year on average through decades of quite intensive spreadsheet use. Not being able to turn it off permanently would result in enough waste of time at work for ...(more)

GoodMovie3 gravatar imageGoodMovie3 ( 2019-11-30 23:13:01 +0200 )edit