Browse Prior Art Database

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SORTING ELEMENTS IN DEFINED WORK ZONE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013175D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jun-17
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-17
Document File: 4 page(s) / 58K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a system and method aimed to perform a sort operation into a defined matric working zone, within a 2D or 3D electronic spreadsheet environment. This working zone comprises subfields or fields not having to be impacted by the sort operation.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
At least one non-text object (such as an image or picture) has been suppressed.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 43% of the total text.

Page 1 of 4

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SORTING ELEMENTS IN DEFINED WORK ZONE

Disclosed is a system and method aimed to perform a sort operation into a defined matric working zone, within a 2D or 3D electronic spreadsheet environment. This working zone comprises subfields or fields not having to be impacted by the sort operation.

Problem statement:

    In electronic spreadsheet environments (but also in other office application environments) computer users take advantage of conventional tools for recording and handling information within tables. When the information complexity and volume remain limited, a single conventional horizontally or vertically structured table offers a convenient way to record, display and treat information records. Such tables can be formally defined as a 2D or 3D range of cells which is both convex and connex from a topology standpoint. Sorting tools are in this case a typical example of the conventional toolkit available in electronic spreadsheet environments. In the case of a vertical 2D table, the conventional sorting tool assumes that each table record corresponds to the intersection of the table with a single row, so that the sorting operation result will be a rearrangement of the rows within the table. With horizontal 2D tables, similar effects are obtained along columns.

    When the information complexity and/or volume grow, then the spreadsheet user is often induced to define more complex structures departing from the basic arrangement of a vertical or horizontal table. In this case, the conventional sorting tools immediately show some severe limitations illustrated hereafter under some typical scenarios.

Scenario 1 : Balance sheet

    A retail company owning several stores in twelve different states has to maintain a comprehensive company balance sheet reflecting its overal business results. Each state operational result is summarized in a state record identifying the state, the date of the last update, the fiscal year, the responsible manager, and the financial results (revenue, expenses, profit) on a quarter basis. These state specific information are recorded within an electronic spreadsheet according to a record structured as a range of cells comprising 6 rows and 6 columns. All these records are themselves arranged within the company balance sheet providing a synthetic view of the overall company business performance. For benchmarking purpose, the CFO of this company has to sort the company balance sheet, according to criteria that may change over the fiscal year, so that the different state records be re-arranged within the company balance sheet. The conventional sorting tools available in electronic spreadsheet environment cannot perform the desired sorting operation due to the following constraints: ->Each state record occupies more than one row and column, while remaining in a 2D range of cells constituting the company balance sheet. ->State records are not contiguous as separator cells must be kept untouched by th...