Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Spreadsheet Authoring

All properties sheets contain three tabs:

  • Basic: Which controls the Content of the Activity.
  • Advanced: Which controls the Behaviour of the Activity.
  • Instructions: Provides information on the Structure of the activity.

View of the Spreadsheet Authoring Basic Tab.

The Basic Tab for the Spreadsheet Activity allows authors to specify a title for the activity, create Learner instructions, and defines the questions that will make up each record:

  • Title: All Activities have a web page title which is presented at the top of the activity page when displayed in the Learning Environment. This is NOT the same title as the Title that can be set using the Properties Inspector.
  • Instructions: All Activities have a text area that is presented beneath the title. This is where the main activity text to be displayed to learners is entered. The text can be formatted using the Rich-Text Editor. Image, Video, Audio and URL content can also be displayed in the Instructions area.

Specific Feature: Spreadsheet Applet

The Spreadsheet is where the data and calculations for the activity are entered. The Applet contains a comprehensive help menu, which is accessed by clicking Help in the top-right corner of the applet, and is reproduced here.

You may also like to read the Simple Groupware manual available here.

Some of the most useful spreadsheet functions are listed below:

Spreadsheet Functions

The Spreadsheet can be viewed in one of several modes. These are changed by clicking the labels in the top-right corner of the applet.

  • Values: shows all the calculated values on the screen (default mode)
    • Auto: calculates and updates values in real time
    • Manual: Disables automatic calculations (gives better performance)
      • Click Refresh to update the values in the spreadsheet if Manual mode is selected.
  • Formulas: shows the formulas in the spreadsheet.
    Formulas: shows all formulas on the screen
    Styles: shows all styles on the screen

Cell References

  • A1 gives the value of cell A1
  • A2:A4 gives the values of A2, A3 and A4 in an array
  • [A2,A4] gives the values A2 and A4 in an array.
    NOTE: Cell values are always given using capital letters. ie: a1 will not give the value of cell A1.

Maths Formulae

  • For addition of a row: sum(A2:A4) gives A2+A3+A4
  • For addition across columns: sum(A2:B3) gives A2+A3+B2+B3
  • For averages: avg(2,3,4) gives (2+3+4)/3 = 3
  • For minimum values: min(2,3,4) gives 2 (the smallest value in the array)
  • For maximum values: max(2,3,4) gives 4 (the largest value in the array)
  • For number of values: count(A2:A4) gives 3 (the number of values in the array)

Keyboard shortcuts

enter / start typing

edit cell

ctrl+x or shift+del

cut cell

ctrl+c or ctrl+ins

copy cell

ctrl+v or shift+ins

paste cell


empty cell

cursor up

go up

cursor down

go down

cursor left

go left

cursor right

go right


go to first cell in row or page left/up if already in first cell


go to last cell in row or page right if already in last cell

page up

go 10 rows down

page down

go 10 rows up

Additional functions and commands can be found here.

Advanced Tab

View of the Spreadsheet Activity Advanced tab.

  • Lock When Finished: This option is available on all Activities.
    • Enabling this option in Spreadsheet means that the once the learner clicks Finish they will not be able to make further changes to the spreadsheet (if Learner editing has been enabled - see below.) Learners can still view the spreadsheet by returning via the progress bar.
    • If this option is disabled, Learners can edit their spreadsheets until the sequence is stopped by a monitor.
  • Authors must select one of the following options:
    • Play Only: When enabled, this option does not allow Learner's to save changes they have made to the spreadsheet. They can still edit the spreadsheet within their own LAMS session, but changes are not committed.
    • Learners are allowed to submit...: This option is enabled by default. When enabled, this option means that each learner is required to submit a modified spreadsheet at the end of the activity. Their changes are saved and can be reviewed through monitoring.
      • Enable Spreadsheet Marking: When enabled, this option activates the marking component in the monitoring environment, similar to the Submit Files activity..
  • Add Notebook... : This option is available on all Activities. Enabling this option creates a Notebook as part of the Activity, which Learner's can use to reflect on the activity just completed. The reflections are personal (ie: not shared with other learners).


View of the Instructions tab. This is the same for all activities.

The Instructions tab contains the same features for all Activities.

It allows the Author to create specific instructions for the activity, as well as upload files that may be useful for running the activity (ie: support documents, etc.). It is a resource that can be used by teachers who are running the sequence for their learners. (In the Monitoring Environment, the Instructions for an Activity can be viewed by double clicking the activity on the Sequence tab and then selecting the Instructions tab.

There are two types of Instruction possible, Offline and Online, depending on the mode that the teacher wishes to run the activity. The feature is useful for teachers who are sharing sequences with their colleagues as it provides an area where the Author can describe any learning objectives and/or the specific purpose of the activity.

  • No labels