Can't duplicate spin buttons without reference, icon floating, or icon sizing problems

Hi, I am using Libreoffice 5 (it is the newest version that my Mint package manager has approved, and following the advice of other Mint users, I am sticking to those versions) and am having a problem with my form controls re: spin buttons.

I originally spent a great deal of time creating a worksheet that has a single column of almost 100 spin buttons in it for easy incrementation of observed real-time actions. Each spin button is referenced to the same cell in which it is anchored. I created it as a template with the intention of copying the list of incrementable/observable action labels, along with their buttons, to new places in the page, as well as to other tabs and eventually other worksheets, with only some small changes to labeling between all these things as necessary.

However, this is not so easy. I was able to use this advice

to manage to copy the original template a couple of times within the original tab (so now the finished “template” has three columns of ~100 spin buttons), but now that I need to copy the entire, larger tab template over to a new tab, no matter what I do, the buttons end up getting pasted such that they’re no longer anchored to their cells. I mean, it says they’re anchored to their cells, but visually they are not. At this point, when I save, close, and reopen the worksheet, the cells are once again visually anchored to their cells, but as I scroll down the page I can see each row of buttons getting smaller and smaller until by the last row they are small enough to be hard to access quickly, which is a problem. Not to mention the fact that visually it gives me night terrors, even aside from practical concerns. And this is how it gets saved. (If I just try to copy using a more conventional way than that given in the linked instructions, I run into the “spin button not referencing its own cell on the new page” problem).

I need to make about 18 tabs in each worksheet, each with the three columns of ~100 spin buttons. I just want to be able to copy pages and/or columns to new pages such that the copied spin buttons reference their own, new respective cells, but otherwise remain the same. Can this really be so stupidly difficult to accomplish? Can anybody help me solve this, or at the very least provide a shoulder to cry on as I look forward to hours of right-clicking and manually adjusting literally thousands of spin buttons? I’ve already spent so much time on this it’s hard to conceive of starting over with different software or something.

Thank you in advance for whatever help anyone can provide.

I am using Libreoffice 5 (it is the newest version that my Mint package manager has approved, and following the advice of other Mint users, I am sticking to those versions)

That’s fine, of course; just wanted to mention that different users have different expectations and requirements; so what fits to one, might not fit to another (same for what breaks). Thus, it’s OK to have someone’s advise; but in case you encounter a problem, it’s worth trying a newer version and decide yourself.


Following the process of the link in the question it works for me. I am on Mint 18.3 Cinnamon using LO v6.1.0.3. Have not seen any change in the spin controls on any of the copies. Have placed in about 125 rows for the test. Mostly just copy & paste stuff which is just time consuming. The tough part was for creating different tabs. As the instruction post states, Select (or create) the sheet of the same rank so two Calc files are necessary when creating these additional tabs. Must be careful going back & forth and being on the correct tab each time.

Aside from that, opening (even with only a few tabs created) the Calc file & changing from one tab to another was slow - there are a LOT of controls present. Can’t imagine what it will be like opening with 5000+ controls!

Now if you did follow the instructions (especially in relation to the tab rank) then please provide what Mint version you are using and the specific LO version as 5 is way too general.

I was pretty careful to follow the instructions, more than once. I did however find a further workaround while screwing around with this, which I will describe in an answer below since there isn’t much room here. Lag is a concern, but so far I made 9 tabs and while the lag started with even 2, it didn’t really seem to get worse with 9. Seems manageable. If you’re still curious I am using Mint 18.3 with KDE, and looks like the LibreOffice version is 10m0(Build:2) <-whatever that means

Glad you found something which works for you. Did reload v5.1.6.2 (from TDF) and still found no problem with process. Your version is probably a distro version. This can be different since distro version is packaged differently. You should consider upgrading as that version is quite old. Also new versions have important security upgrades.

I first switched to Linux not long ago, and the first thing I did was attempt to get some programs installed and working. Caffe, Torch, Anaconda, and R, iirc. After many headaches and realizations that unrelated things no longer worked because something something dependencies, I had to reinstall Mint. Twice. After that I read one of the Mint forums mods advising someone to only use package manager versions/installs, for this reason. So I want to, but… I’m scared, Rats. I’m scared.

I can understand. It also sounds like you don’t have a backup plan. For decades I’ve been creating images of drives/partitions (both Windows & Linux). On a regular basis just for protection & anytime when making a major change to a system (currently have 4 or 5). If anything goes wrong, 5-20 minutes restores the system I’m working on. My current choice is Clonezilla for this. Just boot from USB drive. Have used many others.

My latest Mint 18.3 Mate install included a much newer version of LO. I believe it was 6.0.x or even 6.1.x - check for any updates. Yours is quite old and missing at least one critical update.

----Sorry it was on Ubuntu 18.04 Mate install not Mint.

I was not able to do any direct copy/pasting of columns to any new tabs in any rank position without encountering the visual artifacts, but in the end the method I used to do this was

  1. Make a copy of entire worksheet using file manager
  2. Open both new and old copies
  3. Move tab-to-copy to first tab position of one document (just to be safe and convenient)
  4. Right click this tab and select Move/Copy
  5. MOVE (not copy) the entire 1st tab such that it is now the first tab of the other worksheet; you can do this with a drop down menu IF both documents are open. Rename tab during this step.
    -once it’s finished moving, if you increment any spin button it will still reference at this point what is now the first page of the worksheet whence you moved it-
  6. Save worksheet that has the new tab and close it; prob fine to do what you wish with the other (to be safe I closed both at this point and did not save the old one, so can only speak for that method)
  7. Reopen worksheet with new tab to verify spin button placement and cell references are intact; move from 1st tab to whichever tab rank you wish
  8. Repeat process as many times as needed

It’s possible that right-clicking the 1st tab and copying it (instead of moving it) to be the new 1st tab of the other worksheet might work just as well; I did previously try this right-click method of copying, and ran into similar problems, but that was before I ran across the instructions iirc, and at the time I was not aware that we could use the drop down menu with two worksheets open to move between them. In any case, given all the copy problems I’d had, and given that it took a while to move and do all the stuff as it was, I didn’t want to waste more time testing something that might not work when I had something that did. But right-click->move using the close/reopen/same rank method definitely worked as described and right-click->copy may as well.