SpreadsheetConverter offers you lots of basic graphical widgets that make your web page easier to use and to give it a better appearance. This is the online help page for many of these widgets. 

This is an introduction to the use of widgets in spreadsheets to improve the functionality and appearance of the converted web page. If you haven’t used widgets before, you may want to read the Introduction to widgets in SpreadsheetConverter before you continue.

Be aware that most of these widgets have no corresponding representation when used in Excel. Some of them are unfortunately totally invisible in Excel. You have to convert the spreadsheet to web format to see the widget in action.

This page describes the widgets available in the iPhone/Android flavor. There is a similar page describing the widgets in the HTML, Node.js and ASP.Net flavors.

Text field

Text fields are mainly used in electronic forms to mark the fields where the user will enter data that is not used in calculations, e.g. a name or an address. You insert a Text field widget by clicking the Text field widget in the widgets tab in the SpreadsheetConverter settings panel. You can then set different properties for the Text field:

  • A Required field requires input from the user. This option is mainly used for electronic forms, where a form must contain a minimum of information to be meaningful. For Text fields, a Required field cannot be empty. If it is, it will not be possible to submit the form.
  • Multiline is used to give a text area more than one line and to make it scrollable. Use this option only for text fields that you have made sufficiently large in the spreadsheet, e.g. by merging two or more cells. You can achieve the same result by enabling Wrap Text for the merged cell in Excel.
  • Make hidden field is used when you want a cell to be visible in the spreadsheet, but not in the converted web page. This also allows you to provide information to a form processing script without showing it in the form. As an example, if the link to the form contains a language code (/form.htm?lang=sv), it will be preserved by the form if your form has a text field named lang, and it will be forwarded with the form when the form is submitted for processing. The autosave process will normally save the latest value for all input fields. If you want the value in the link to override the autosaved value, you have to disable Browser Storage on the Workbook tab.
  • The Placeholder text allows you to display a label for a field inside the field itself, e.g. Enter your name here. When the user starts typing, the placeholder text disappears automatically.
  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form (see above). For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.
  • The default value of a text field is empty. To provide a different default value, enter text into the cell.

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Input type

When using a mobile device, it can sometimes be difficult to enter data with proper formatting. Many mobile devices offer optimized keyboards for special data types, e.g. a numeric keypad. Some browsers offer data entry templates like date pickers, and even provide syntax validation.

The Text Field widget can request that the user’s web browser provides additional assistance when entering certain types of input. Your mobile users will be grateful for this help.

Note: Although we can request this assistance from the browser, we cannot guarantee that the browser properly supports all input types. As an example, the full syntax for an e-mail address is very complicated and you can expect most web browsers to reject unusual but formally correct e-mail addresses such as john.smith(comment)@example.com or john.smith@[IPv6:2001:db8::1] while cheerfully approving obviously incorrect e-mail addresses such as john.smith.@example.com.

When users have correct input data flagged as incorrect by poorly tested web browsers, they complain – so use the advanced input types with caution.

  • Number – a numeric keypad may be provided by the browser, and non-numeric content in the field may be flagged.
  • Telephone number – a special telephone keyboard may be provided by the browser, and the field contents may be validated.
  • E-mail address – “.com” and other top level domains may be added to the keyboard by the browser, and the e-mail address may be validated for proper syntax.
  • Date – a date picker may be provided by the browser in the default language and regional format set for device.
  • Time – a time picker may be provided by the browser in the regional format set for device.
  • Month – a date picker for year and month may be provided by the browser in the default language and regional format set for device.
  • Week – a date picker for year and week may be provided by the browser in the regional format set for device.

Check box

Use check boxes only for statements that must be either true or false, there is no room for doubt, like “British citizen”. You insert a Check box widget by clicking the Check box widget in the widgets tab in the SpreadsheetConverter settings panel. A Check box will provide a true/false value that you can test for in other places in the form, or when the form is submitted for processing.

Touch checkbox

toggleon

  • A Touch Checkbox looks like the check mark in the widget’s icon, with a label to the right.
  • The Label for a Touch Checkbox contains a descriptive text, like “British citizen”, so people know when to check the box or not. Clicking on the label will also check/uncheck the check box, providing a larger touch surface on touch screens.
  • After you’ve converted the spreadsheet to a web page, the label appears to the right of the check-box. Unfortunately, the label you set here cannot be shown in Excel.
  • When you add a Touch Checkbox to a spreadsheet, it is initially set to FALSE. When you convert the spreadsheet to a web page, a Touch Checkbox widget will therefore initially be unchecked. If you change the default value by typing TRUE into the widget’s spreadsheet cell before conversion, the Touch Checkbox will be checked when the page is opened in a web browser.

Toggle Switch checkbox

toggleyes

  • With a Toggle Switch check-box, the Label will appear above a small graphic that resembles an electric switch. Users can drag the handle or tap one side of the switch to toggle the check-box.
  • When the you flip the switch to the right, it returns a TRUE value. Flip it to the left and it sets a FALSE value for the cell.
  • A Toggle Switch has three labels: one that shows what the switch does and one for each state. You can use up to four characters for the On Label and Off Label, like On/Off or Yes/No. The On Label is visible in the switch when the value of the cell is TRUE and the switch is flipped to the right.
  • Only the selected state is visible in the widget, e.g. Show. Your users will assume that flipping the switch will set the opposite state, e.g. Hide.
  • When you add a Toggle Switch check-box to a spreadsheet, it is initially set to FALSE. When you convert the spreadsheet to a web page, a toggle switch will therefore initially be in its “off” position, flipped to the left. If you change the default value by typing TRUE into the widget’s spreadsheet cell before conversion, the check-box will be flipped to the right and showing the “on” label when the page is opened in a web browser.

Common settings

  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form (see below). For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.
  • The default value of a check box is FALSE (unchecked). To change the default, type TRUE into the cell.
  • You can set the value of a checkbox widget from the link. Use the format /form.htm?example=TRUE. The autosave process will normally save the latest value for all input fields. If you want the value in the link to override the autosaved value, you have to disable Browser Storage on the Workbook tab.

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Dropdown list

Drop-down lists are used to select between a limited number of choices. The menu opens when you click on it. When you have made your choice, only the selected choice is visible. You insert a Dropdown list widget by clicking the Dropdown List widget in the widgets tab in the SpreadsheetConverter settings panel. List the labels in each line in the empty space. You can then set different properties for the Dropdown List:

  • Required field requires input from the user. This option is mainly used for electronic forms, where a form must contain a minimum of information to be meaningful. For Drop-down lists, the user must move the menu away from the option that is selected by default. If the default option is left selected, it will not be possible to submit the form.
  • Show default text instructs the widget to add a dummy choice at the top of the list that implies that no “real” option has been selected yet – typically it’s is also used as a prompt, as in
    “Rate the course, 4 is the best”.
  • List labels are the possible choices in the menu.
  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form (see below). For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.
  • The default value of a drop-down list is the first choice in the list. To provide a different default value, move one of the other choices to the top of the list.
  • You can select an option in the dropdown widget from the link. Use the format /form.htm?example=Banana. The autosave process will normally save the latest value for all input fields. If you want the value in the link to override the autosaved value, you have to disable Browser Storage on the Workbook tab.
  • The basic Dropdown widget can only have one static list of choices. If you need a multi-level menu structure, e.g. select country then city, or want to prepare the list of choices with formulas in the spreadsheet, use the Dynamic Dropdown widget instead.

    dropdownlistproperty

Hyperlink and Button

Any cell in your worksheet can contain a web address in the form of a Universal Resource Locator or URL:

An Excel spreadsheet with a URL in that is not converted to a link

Notice that Excel considers this to be just plain text. Nothing will happen if you click on this cell. If you convert this spreadsheet to a web page, the URL is generated as plain text there too, and clicking on it will have no effect.

To turn a URL into a working link, you have to insert a hyperlink into the cell. You can let Excel create a hyperlink automatically every time you enter a URL into a cell, or you can use the Insert Hyperlink command:

Inserting a hyperlink in Excel

Notice that the Text to display in the link, often referred to as the link’s anchor text, can be different from the link’s Address. You can usually see that a cell contains a hyperlink anyway, because of its classic formatting in blue with an underline:

A cell in Excel that contains a hyperlink

By default, SpreadsheetConverter preserves hyperlinks on the converted web page. The anchor text will be displayed and linked to the requested URL.

A link in Excel can also be calculated with the
=HYPERLINK(Address, Text to display)

function. In this case the Address portion of the link is assembled dynamically according to the formula you have specified. The URL may be determined conditionally using the IF function or the address assembled from other cells. The Address to use in a given situation can even be selected with the VLOOKUP function from a list of links. The Text to display operand of the Hyperlink function allows you to define the anchor text for the link.

The Hyperlink widget in SpreadsheetConverter provides a few additional useful features:

  • A Style setting that allow you to present the link also as a button, either in the cell or in the SpreadsheetConverter toolbar. The link’s anchor text will be used on the button. The design of the button can be modified by a theme.
  • A Placement setting where you currently only can specify that you want the link or button to be placed in the currently selected cell.
  • An Open In setting that lets you specify how you want the linked page to open: in the same browser tab, in a new browser tab, in the same frame of the web page or in the parent frameset. In the generated HTML, this selection is reflected in the HTML target parameter for the link, which will be omitted, set to _blank, set to _self or set to _parent, respectively.
  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form (see the Text field widget above). For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.

    

Radio buttons

Radio buttons simulate the behavior of old car radios. When one of the buttons is pressed, the corresponding radio station (option) is selected. Simultaneously, all the other buttons pop out, leaving only the selected button  in the pushed-in position.

Radio buttons are used to select between a limited number of choices. The good thing about radio buttons is that you see all the available choices. The bad thing is that this may consume a lot of screen space. You insert a Radio buttons widget by clicking the Radio Button widget in the widgets tab in the SpreadsheetConverter settings panel. You can then set different properties for the Radio button widget:

  • Required field requires input from the user. This option is mainly used for electronic forms, where a form must contain a minimum of information to be meaningful. For Radio buttons, one of the buttons must be “pressed”. If no button is selected, it will not be possible to submit the form.
  • Button labels are the names for each button. You get one button for each label you enter.
  • In a Vertical Layout, the buttons are aligned in a column.
  • In a Horizontal Layout, the buttons are aligned in a row.
  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form (see below). For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.
  • The default value of a radio button is the first choice in the list. To provide a different default value, move one of the other choices to the top of the list.
  • You can select an option in the radio button from the link. Use the format /form.htm?example=Banana. The autosave process will normally save the latest value for all input fields. If you want the value in the link to override the autosaved value, you have to disable Browser Storage on the Workbook tab.

    

Slider

A Slider allows the user to select a value by moving a handle to a particular position on the widget. Sliders are real-time and cause the entire spreadsheet to be continuously recalculated with each new value of the slider as you move it.

You insert a Slider widget by clicking the Slider widget (value increases from left to right) in the widgets tab in the SpreadsheetConverter settings panel.

  • The Minimum value is the value the widget contains at the slider’s left- or uppermost position, depending on its orientation.
  • The Maximum value is the value that the cell contains when the slider is in its lower- or rightmost position, depending on its orientation.
  • Use the Tick Interval if you want tick marks along the slider.
  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form (see below). For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.
  • The default value of a slider is the minimum value you specify.
  • You can assign a value to a slider widget from the link. Use the format /form.htm?example=42. The autosave process will normally save the latest value for all input fields. If you want the value in the link to override the autosaved value, you have to disable Browser Storage on the Workbook tab.

    

Email button

An E-mail Button converts to a mailto (“send an e-mail to this e-mail address”) hyperlink. When the button is pressed, the default e-mail client normally opens a new, empty e-mail with the provided e-mail address as the e-mail recipient. The user enters the Subject and Text for the e-mail, then clicks Send to send the e-mail.

Note that none of this functionality is provided by SpreadsheetConverter. It is up to the user’s web browser to handle mailto links. If the user’s web browser is not properly configured to handle mailto links, the results are unpredictable.

The contents of your web form or calculator will not be involved in the processing started by the E-mail Button widget. If you wish to submit the full contents of a form or calculator, configure the web form’s submit options.

  • Enter the recipient’s e-mail address in the Mail To field. The From field of the new e-mail will normally be set automatically by the e-mail client. All other fields of the new e-mail will be empty.

Call Button

Call Button converts to a tel (“initiate a telephone call to this number”) hyperlink. When the button is pressed, the device will initiate its normal behavior for tel hyperlinks, which usually is to make a telephone call to the number you have specified.

Note that none of this functionality is provided by SpreadsheetConverter. It is up to the user’s web browser to handle tel links. If the user’s web browser is not properly configured to handle tel links, the results are unpredictable.

The contents of your web form or calculator do not participate in the processing started by the Call Button widget, and nothing is sent to the designated telephone number.

  • Enter the number you want the device to call in the Tel No field. The telephony infrastructure may require that you provide the phone number in a specific format. We recommend that you provide both country and area codes to ensure that the telephone number always works, regardless of the user’s location. The telephony infrastructure will usually also provide a Caller ID, i.e. the telephone number that the call originates from.

Action Buttons

sidemenu

The Submit, Update and Reset buttons are the standard action buttons in your iPhone/Android calculator. That’s why we put them on the most accessible place – at the top of the Side Menu. Touch the “hamburger” in the upper left-hand corner and you see them.

However, sometimes you may want to place an action button elsewhere, perhaps to simplify the user interface. Using widgets, action buttons can be inserted in any cell in the calculator. The text of all buttons can also be changed.

Submit Action button

The Submit button send the form to a web server for processing. Insert a Submit button at the end of your long form to save your users from having to scroll back to the top to reach the Submit button in the Side Menu.

Update Action button

For smaller calculators, SpreadsheetConverter automatically updates all cells in a spreadsheet if one of the values is changed, just like Excel does. For a very complex web calculator, you have the option of switching to manual updating of the calculator in the Advanced Settings in the Options menu. In that case, an Update button is needed to manually initiate the updating of the spreadsheet.

You can now place also the Update button in any cell, perhaps right after your most popular input fields.

Reset Action button

The Reset button clears all input fields in a form. It is rarely used, except in situations where a large number of fields contain values that never will be re-used. You can now make the Reset button available where-ever users need it.

Calculated Cells

The Calculated cell widget can be used to assign a name to a calculated cell, or to make it invisible. You insert a Calculated cell widget by clicking the Calculated Cell widget in the widgets tab in the SpreadsheetConverter settings panel. Calculated cells in a form or calculator are locked for user input in order to preserve the formula.

  • Name your widgets in electronic forms since it becomes much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.
  • Make hidden field is used when you want a cell to be visible in the spreadsheet, but not in the converted web page. This also allows you to provide information to a form processing script without showing it in the form. As an example, if you use a cell to keep track of how long it took a user to fill in a form, you may want to hide this calculation. Even though the field is hidden, it is forwarded with the form when the form is submitted for processing.
  • Calculated cells get their default values from the formulas in the cell.

    

 

Date picker

The Date Picker widget makes it much easier for the user to pick the right date. The widgets ensure that any date set in the widget is valid, and formats it correctly for the recipient of the electronic web form using the regional settings.

date[1]

The default value of a date picker widget is the current date. The Date will be formatted according to your computer’s regional settings.

  • Name your widgets if you want to pass data into them from the link to the form. As an example, if the link to the form contains an Excel serial day number (/form.htm?date=20376), it will be preserved by the form if your spreadsheet has a cell named date, and it will be forwarded with the form when the form is submitted for processing. The autosave process will normally save the latest value for all input fields. If you want the value in the link to override the autosaved value, you have to disable Browser Storage on the Workbook tab. For electronic forms it is also much easier to process the form if all input fields have names. You can name your fields in the widgets or give them cell names in Excel. Widget names can start with numbers or an underscore, which is required when integrating with products like Salesforce.

    

File Attachments widget

If your users want to include files with their form submissions, e.g. a CV with a job application or an image with an error report, add a File Attachments widget to your form.

Hide Rows/Sheets widget

You can hide certain rows in your spreadsheet, and even entire worksheets, depending on the contents of a controlling cell. Learn more about the Hide Rows/Sheets widget. 

Google Map widget

The Google Map widget allows you to use interactive maps in the converted web page. Learn more about the Google Map widget. 

Dynamic Dropdown widget

If you want the options in a dropdown menu taken from cells in the spreadsheet, learn more about the Dynamic Dropdown widget.

Link Image widget

Save all relevant image links in your spreadsheet or create formulas that can build the right image link dynamically from user input. Use the Link Image widget to select the image that is shown.